The Sun's campaign calling for more domestic violence shelters for women has drawn wide support - even from those who, it's fair to say, aren't fans of the newspaper.
Months after a furore when The Sun seemed to drop Page 3 and then resurrect it,to the dismay of campaigners, the paper has launched a petition that calls for action on what is a life-or-death issue for many women.
Deciding whether to support the worthy campaign - a partnership with domestic violence body Women's Aid - is proving a headache to some, and not least those who campaigned against Page 3's bare breasts.
In a blog for HuffPost UK, the group Everyday Victim Blaming writes that it is "conflicted" about 'Give Me Shelter':
"If The Sun is serious [about the campaign] there are further steps it needs to take to convince us it fully understand the links between media representations of women, racism, classism, male entitlement, male privilege and male violence. There is real conflict between The Sun running a campaign raising awareness of domestic violence and it running a story entitled "First pic of body in boot mum Claire O'Connor". Using terms like "body in boot" to refer to a woman murdered by her partner is dehumanising."
Here are 6 reasons why the internet is becoming deeply conflicted about the campaign:
1) The Sun supported the Tories
The Sun backed The Conservatives - the very party that organised the closure of refuges it is now calling to save - to win the General Election.
Interesting The Sun suddenly keen on womens' refuges. Didn't mention in election Tories it endorsed closed swathes of them #GiveMeShelter— Thetidos (@Thetidos) May 19, 2015
So, Sun calls for the Tories to be re-elected, then starts a #GiveMeShelter campaign over their closure of women's refuges? No. Just no.— Joanne K (@jokbristol) May 18, 2015
You know when The Sun's #givemeshelter campaign wd have helped? 2 weeks ago, b4 it told ppl to vote back in govt that shut shelters down.— Maria Farrell (@mariafarrell) May 18, 2015
2) The Sun's depictions of women
The newspaper is seen by some as sexist in its representations of women - who often appear wearing few clothes in the 'family' newspaper - as crime victims or as partners to male figures.
Glad to see The Sun supporting survivors of domestic abuse. How about applying this thinking to Page 3? https://t.co/MgD0uGIW0w— WENWales (@WENWales) May 19, 2015
3) THAT Katie Hopkins column
The Sun published a column by Katie Hopkins advocating using gunships to stop migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean. The people she referred to as "cockroaches" would likely have included women fleeing from domestic violence.
The Sun are promoting #GiveMeShelter,campaign to end domestic violence. Unless the woman is foreign obviously,then they want her to be shot— Lee Garrod (@cyanideandjd) May 19, 2015
#GiveMeShelter this is so hypocritical of the sun, they publish an article by Katie Hopkins that describes refugees as cockroaches bullshit— Colonel blimp (@Luvs2spooge) May 19, 2015
Can @StigAbell enlighten us all as to the Sun stance on domestic abuse refuges for women seeking asylum in the UK...fleeing domestic abuse?— Jack Monroe (@MsJackMonroe) May 18, 2015
4) Male domestic violence victims overlooked?
The refuges that The Sun is calling for mainly offer support women, so some on Twitter felt the campaign brushes aside the fact that men are also victims of domestic violence, yet receive less support and media attention.
I hope this #GiveMeShelter applies to male victims too. They need as much help as a female victim.— Wendy Mary (@WendyM53) May 19, 2015
Helping domestic abuse victims is very important, but what about men who are victims of DV? #GiveMeShelter— Luke Staddon (@Luke_Staddon) May 18, 2015
5) But this is obviously a worthwhile cause
Surely a call for a vital service to protect people from harm is more important whether you do or do not approve of a newspaper, some argue:
Criticism of The Sun is fine. But women are still experiencing domestic abuse.May 18, 2015
6) And The Sun could do amazing things for domestic violence
The sheer reach of The Sun - Britain's best-selling newspaper in print which has some two million readers - makes the partnership with Women's Aid one that could have enormous impact, far beyond what the group could do alone.
The Give Me Shelter campaign draws on shocking stats about the prevalence of domestic violence and the desperation of those who suffer it, including:
- Two women are killed by partners each week in England and Wales
- It is estimated more than a million women suffered domestic violence last year
- Since 2010, local council cost cutting and changes the housing benefit rules means around one in six of specialist domestic violence refuges have had to close
- On just one day last year, 112 women with 84 children were turned away from refuges that could not house them
- Although violent crime has fallen, rates of domestic violence have remained stable since 2009
Polly Neate, the chief executive of Women's Aid, said: “In most situations, a woman will be killed as she tries to leave an abusive partner, which is the reason many are scared to leave. This is why it is essential we have specialist services, so women have somewhere safe to go."
For help with domestic violence issues, contact the 24 hr National domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247