“She Was Just”: Refuge’s powerful campaign starring Olivia Coleman calls for misogyny to be made a hate crime
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“She Was Just”: Refuge’s powerful campaign starring Olivia Colman calls for misogyny to be made a hate crime

Domestic violence charity Refuge has released a campaign video starring Olivia Colman calling for misogyny to be made a hate crime.

Domestic abuse charity Refuge has released a powerful new campaign video starring Olivia Colman, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Bronagh Waugh to call on the government to add misogyny to existing hate crime laws.

The film, released today, highlights the way in which women are expected to change their behaviour and the everyday activities which women have to think about in a way that men don’t.

Highlighting the murder of Ashling Murphy, Colman tells the camera: “She was just going for a run.”

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Other figures, including Juno Dawson, Amanda Abbington, Em Clarkson, Ranvir Singh and Bronagh Waugh repeat the phrases: “She was just on the bus”, “She was just having a good time” as new stories of violence against women flash up on screen.

“It doesn’t matter what she was just doing,” the video concludes. “It does matter what we do next.”

“So much violence against women and girls, including domestic abuse, is ultimately driven by misogyny,” said Refuge CEO, Ruth Davison.

“This week we’ve seen some truly horrific examples of misogyny in the police, who are supposed to be there to protect women and girls. Acceptance of systemic misogyny is why ‘locker room banter’ that tries to make jokes about domestic abuse has been tolerated for years within the Met Police force and in society more generally. It is why crimes against women are not treated as the serious crimes that they are – as reflected in woefully low prosecution rates and weak sentencing. Is it any surprise trust in law enforcement is so low?”

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“If tougher measures are taken to stamp out misogyny, women and girls will feel more empowered to report crimes committed against them for simply being a woman. Recognising misogyny as a hate crime has the power to reshape women’s lives, and our society, for the better.

The Law Commission, an independent body which advises the government, previously rejected a proposal that would make misogyny a hate crime, calling it “ineffective at protecting women and girls and in some cases, counterproductive”.

The ‘Newlove Amendment,’ tabled by Conservative Peer Baroness Newlove. has the potential to transform how crimes against women and girls are dealt with. Having already had the support of the House of Lords, it will soon be debated and voted upon in the House of Commons. 

You can support Refuge’s campaign and contact your MP to urge them to support the amendment here.

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Images: Getty