THE BLOG

I Want To Be In Corbyn's Carriage

26/08/2015 23:00 BST | Updated 26/08/2016 10:59 BST

I'd like to preface this with a content warning for VAW.

Jeremy Corbyn has caused a furore by floating the idea that women might feel safer on public transport if they had their own carriages. As a woman who has been groped on public transport, as a woman who has been frightened on public transport, and as the friend of women who have been flashed on public transport, I will actively avoid the train at certain times of day and night. I am all for women-only train carriages. So gold star for Jeremy Corbyn, who seems to actually be thinking about ways we could make women feel safer.

I'm also completely baffled by everyone else in the leadership contest poo-pooing this idea. So you don't like Jeremy Corbyn. So WHAT. Are Cooper and Kendall the only women in this country who have never felt a hand creep onto their waist on the tube? Who've never had an erection launched into their lower back during rush hour? Who've never had a broom handle shoved up between their legs as they ascended the stairs at Tottenham Court Road? Cause that was a fun day for me, I'll tell you. So lucky old them. No mention, I see, of his call for a 24h helpline for women who have been harassed and assaulted in public. Because that can't be shat on from such a height, eh?

Don't even get me started on the Guardian running comment pieces with titles like "Ladies! You won't be leading the Labour party, so here's a women only train carriage". What, you think a woman getting elected Prime Minister is going to be one giant leap for womankind? Have you bumped your head? Have a look at what Thatcher did for us and then get back to me, Anne.

For me one of the worst bits of the outpouring was Andy Burnham turning around and saying that he has daughters, so, like, by default, he really cares about women. As Anne Thierault has already succinctly explained, your daughter, your mother, your sister, whatever - these women do not instantly mean that you care about women. Not that I'm comparing you to a man who fetishistically killed multiple women or anything, but Ted Bundy had a daughter, Andy. Fred West had four (and he and his wife killed two of them). Your daughters do not a feminist make.

Violence against women has for too long sat on the periphery of government concern, all the while blooming, a giant bruise on society. It's all very well to talk about how you want to see 'proper society-wide tackling of the issue of violence against women', but how the hell do you plan on doing that? At least Jeremy's got some ideas. It would be great, wouldn't it, if we all woke up tomorrow and no woman was ever attacked, assaulted or raped again. But seeing as 90% of British women have been street harassed by the age of 17, and 99% of rapists get away with it, I don't see that happening any time soon. So for now, if the best way to deal with street harassment and violence against women is to give them their own train carriage, I suggest you listen really carefully to what women have to say about their fears, as Corbyn plans to, and then do exactly what they tell you.