THE BLOG

The Istanbul Convention: An Open Letter To My MP

14/12/2016 16:00
IakovKalinin via Getty Images

Dear Steve Brine MP,

I am writing to you today to implore you to vote for Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP's Private Member's Bill (PMB) on Friday 16 December, looking to oblige the UK government to make the Istanbul Convention law.

Growing up in your constituency with my parents, sister and two cats I can sincerely say that life right now is pretty great. I love travelling, listening to music and spending time with my friends.

However, as a woman, I also have a one in four chance of suffering from domestic abuse sometime in my life, a 1 in 5 chance of suffering from sexual abuse in my life, I could even be one of the approximately 85,000 women who are raped each year, this year, next year, or the next...

It's scary, and I try not to think about it that much. But if it were to happen, would I be one of the 15% of women who come forward to report my rape? If yes, would I be lucky enough for mine to be one of the 5.7% of reported rape cases to end in conviction for the perpetrator. 5.7% isn't that high, the odds aren't exactly in my favour. But I try not to think about it too much.

If I go on to have a daughter in the future, would she be at risk too? Would she grow up to be one of the 31% of women to report having experienced sexual abuse as a child? This thought is scarier. But, you know, I try not to think about it too much.

Violence against girls and women sadly is a very real issue, and so one that cannot stay in the back of your mind all too long. That is why I, and all your other female constituents, need the Istanbul Convention to be ratified into UK law. Once ratified it will create a strong, viable basis to prevent violence against girls and women as well as to protect us from violence and ensure perpetrators are prosecuted. Your male constituents need it to be ratified too. They need to know that the law and state is on their wife's, girlfriend's, mother's, daughter's, sister's and friends' sides. As do you.

Though the UK signed the Convention in 2012 this is not enough; it still holds no legal standing here. We need it to be enshrined into UK law, and you have the power to do so!

It is now 2016; 2012 was a few years ago. Since 2012, it can be calculated that approximately 340,000 women have been raped, 2 million adults, a great proportion of them likely women, have been sexually assaulted, and there have been in the region of 90,000 sexual offences against under 18s reported to police, some four out of five of these victims being girls.

However, there is a chance for positive change. If 100 MPs turn up and vote this Friday then Dr Whiteford MP's PMB will pass onto the next stage, hopefully leading to the Istanbul Convention's assimilation into UK law.

You are likely to be back in Winchester then though, as MPs usually spend Friday mornings in their constituencies, in your office, in fact a mere 30 or so meters round the corner from my house.

So Friday morning, instead of heading into your office, continue down past Pi Pizza, follow the Stockbridge round and go to the station.

Vote for this potentially life changing bill.

Thank you,
Isabel Bull

http://rapecrisis.org.uk/statistics.php
http://icchange.co.uk/pmb/

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