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Harassment of women now a "hate crime"

July 13, 2016, 04:18:22 PM by kat
Nottinghamshire Police are the first municipal Police Force in the UK to specifically recognise the harassment of women as a hate crime.
Nottinghamshire Police has been working hard to understand exactly what hate crime means to the people of Nottinghamshire and has a clear definition in place. A hate crime is simply any incident, which may or may not be deemed as a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hatred.

Misogyny hate crime, in addition to the general hate crime definition, may be understood as incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman, and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman.

Examples of this may include unwanted or uninvited sexual advances; physical or verbal assault; unwanted or uninvited physical or verbal contact or engagement; use of mobile devices to send unwanted or uninvited messages or take photographs without consent or permission.[emphasis added]

Based on the language used it's not clear if policy implementation is limited to the Real World (TM) or not, it's sufficiently vague and subjectively interpretive enough to imply a response is obliged from the Authorities if the recipient is upset over others conduct regardless, online or offline; the defining characteristic being the offence being perceived by the victim as prejudiced or hatred.

What's particularly perplexing however is the sentiment behind the move, it implies that Criminal Harassment (cf. footnote [6]) is not already a thing[3], which leads groups like the Nottinghamshire Women's Centre, the organisation behind the policy, to perpetuate the myth that broader society doesn't take the abuse of women seriously;

Melanie Jeffs, Centre Manager at Nottingham Women’s Centre said: "We’re pleased to see Nottinghamshire Police recognise the breadth of violence and intimidation that women experience on a daily basis in our communities. Understanding this as a hate crime will help people to see the seriousness of these incidents and hopefully encourage more women to come forward and report offences."

The UK does in fact take abuse and discrimination very seriously[1], explicitly including behaviours deemed "hateful" and "harassing" (cf. footnote [6], Criminal Harassment). The implied lack of reports mentioned in the quote above is not/should not be taken as evidence or indicative of this - there are many reasons why victims of abuse do not file reports, the police not taking them seriously is actually low on the list[2]. For example the UK already has a number of effective laws on the books covering conduct deemed prejudicial or hate, which include forms of criminal harassment;

- Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (specific protections against harassment)
- Defamation Act 2013 (reputation)
- Public Order Act 1986 (racial/religious harassment)
- Equal Pay Act 1970 (employment/pay/work)
- Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (& 1986) (sex/gender/marital/parental status)
- Employment Act 1989 (equal opportunities in the workplace)
- Race Relations Act 1976 (racial hatred)
- Equality Act 2010 (poverty/disability).

And additionally for online conduct;

- Data Protection Act 1998 (abuses of information).
- Computer Misuse Act 1990 (electronic access abuses).
- Guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media[4].

Why Nottinghamshire Police would, in conjunction with the Nottingham Women's Centre, deem it necessary to say they are going to police the above 'offences' when they should already be doing that as part of their Duties as defined by current law is anyones guess, but failures to act by Police, and failures to report by individuals, are issues requiring different solutions and remedies that have little to do with defining the crime or offence itselt.

What's interesting about this appearing now is that it goes against increasing amounts of data that suggest women are equally as abuse to others as men are said to be. This isn't cutting edge information only available to those in the know. Its easily accessible and available to the public such that one might be forgiven for thinking it odd that two organisations at the forefront of defending and protecting women appear ignorant of it, or that no-one within their respective ranks or advocacy circles had raised the issue or discussed these latest findings and what they might mean for their activism and advocacy, and the problems they present to such heavily gynocentic and gendered policies. Is such misandry simply the unintentional consequence of focusing on one gender at the expense of others given the plethora of information and resources available.

In other words, just what are Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham Women's Centre going to do about female abuse directed at other females, female abuse directed at males[5], or female abuse directed at other non-binary genders, except to perhaps ignore it, or count it as misogyny anyway thereby perpetuating a misrepresentation of the problem based on what would then be artificially inflated statistics and data relative to actual crime occurrence.

Additional Resources
- Victims' Information Service (UK Gov service).
- Report domestic abuse (Gov.uk).
- Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary).
- Taking action about harassment (Citizens Advice).
- Reporting to Law Enforcement (US).

Further Reading
The below topics cover different aspects of the core issue presented by the above, how to deal with harassment and abuse. The fact of the matter is UK law makes a distinction between "unwanted" or "nuisance" behaviours, and criminal conduct where the individuals person is being threatened with harm. What the above does is blur the line in such a way that both can be captured under the remit of the policy, the lesser being treated as equal to the greater in much the same way as the argument conflating online violence with physical violence - activists and advocates want both seen as 'violence' regardless.

- 50% of women are misogynists.
- The dark side of diversity: "positive discrimination" (reverse discrimination).
- Illegal Hate Speech, the EU and Tech.
- "Freedom of speech ends where threats abound".
- Violence against males in games doesn't count... another study that 'proves' it.
- Online  Harassment: The  Australian Woman’s Experience.
- Consultation on Interim Revised CPS Guidelines on Prosecuting Social Media Cases.
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms or Discrimination against Women.
- Free Speech & Expectations of Privacy on Social Media.
- Draft Investigatory  Powers Bill.
- Privacy in the aftermath of Paris (2015).
- Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls - A World-Wide Wake-Up Call.

[1] Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse: "HMIC found that staff answering 999 calls usually understand the definition of domestic abuse and mark cases accordingly on their information systems. They make sure that in the vast majority of cases an officer responds either immediately or within the hour. [...] If forces are unable to identify repeat victims, and convey the history of the abuse they have suffered to the responding officer, then valuable opportunities to identify and safeguard the victim on arrival are likely to be missed.". [pp. 10 & 11]

[2] Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse: "We conducted an on-line survey of over 500 victims of domestic abuse. Seventy-nine percent of the victims who had reported the incident to the police were satisfied with the initial police response, which is positive. When asked the main reasons for their satisfaction, one of the most common reasons was the speed of the policing response (14 percent). Another common reason (14 percent) said it was because officers were helpful. Although a high number of victims felt satisfied, a third felt no safer or less safe after the initial response."

[3] Association of Chief Police Officers - Bullying and Harassment: "Harassment is any unwelcome comments (written or spoken) or conduct which:

- violates an individual's dignity; and/or
- creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Harassment can take many forms including violence, threats, abuse, and damage to property. It can involve verbal abuse and name calling, offensive graffiti or post and can be received via text message, emails or social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace. It may cause physical injury, mental stress, anxiety, or insecurity. It can also occur for a variety of reasons, including race, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

[4] Crown Prosecution Services Guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media ... "set out four categories of criminal offence:

- Credible threats (to a person’s life or safety or property)
- Communications targeting specific individuals (including persistent harassment and ongoing abuse)
- Breach of court orders (for example identifying people protected by law)
- Communications which are grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false

The guidance makes the distinction between the first three categories, which will be robustly prosecuted, and the last category to which a high threshold for prosecution applies. Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC explains: “These are cases that can give rise to complex issues, but to avoid the potential chilling effect that might arise from high numbers of prosecutions in cases in which a communication might be considered grossly offensive, we must recognise the fundamental right to freedom of expression and only proceed with prosecution when a communication is more than offensive, shocking or disturbing, even if distasteful or painful to those subjected to it.” In all cases, prosecutors will consider the full context of the communication and the public interest test

[5] Male Victims of Domestic Abuse: "For the 12-month period preceding the survey, and excluding stalking, 5.7% of women and 4.0% of men reported having suffered non-sexual partner abuse (any abuse, threat or force from a partner or ex-partner), a proportion of male victims of about 41%.  Of these, 3.0% of women and 1.8% of men reported suffering actual force, a proportion of male victims of 37.5%, which was designated as ‘severe’ in the case of 1.8% of women and 1.3% of men, a proportion of male victims of about 42%. This male proportion was slightly lower than the 2004/05 figure of 47%. "

- REFERENCES EXAMINING ASSAULTS BY WOMEN ON THEIR SPOUSES OR MALE PARTNERS: "This bibliography examines 286 scholarly investigations: 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.  The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 371,600."

- Thirty Years of Denying the Evidence on Gender Symmetry in Partner Violence: Implications for Prevention and Treatment: "The controversy over gender symmetry in PV was fueled by the 1975 National Family Violence Survey, which found a perpetration rate of assault by men partners of 12% and by women partners 11.6% (Gelles & Straus, 1988; Straus & Gelles, 1986; Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz, 2006). The rate of severe assaults such as kicking, punching, choking, and attacks with objects was also about the same for men and women (3.8% by men and 4.6% by women). Neither of these gender differences was statistically significant."
[minor edits for clarity]


July 04, 2016, 11:32:52 AM by kat
Re: #Brexit. In the past Britain has chastised third-world Leaders, Governments and Establishment Elites for ignoring the results of democratic majority votes[1], particularly when the margins are slim. Beyond issuing strong letters of dissatisfaction to the appropriate territorial consulate representative, the Country occasionally resorts to blockades and sanctions as means to coerce errant Leaders into recognising and acting upon the will of the people.

When such 'soft politics' fail, direct and indirect action is taken through financial and military 'aid', typically given to opposition parties and organisations to support their efforts in toppling 'oppressive regimes' in favour of (more) democratic representation, even when it's known doing so will tear a Nation asunder through civil war, genocide and other atrocities, actions often rationalised by the prevailing Establishment Elites and (typically State favorable) media as necessary to stop various racists, xenophobes, non-secular intolerances, and/or anti-government/establishment actors and groups.

The consequences of this, of the prevailing powers and establishment elites not recognising the legitimacy of a democratic majority vote, of their flat out ignoring the results, has resulted in the death and displacement of hundreds of millions of people in the last century alone (World Wars and/or conflicts of International significance excluded). Hundreds of Millions.

A bit hyperbolic perhaps, after-all Britain is a relatively wealthy Nation, not a 'third-world' despotic regime. Be that as it may, whilst the consequences may differ - it's highly unlikely Britain will suffer an all out Civil War requiring UN intervention - the fundamental democratic principles at play do not; the minority vociferously demonising, other-ising, name-calling, shaming and outright demanding direct action against the majority rarely, if ever, ends well for anyone, Governments and Establishment elites alike.

As an aside: Google search results (at time of writing);
#Remain = 599,000,000
#Brexit = 154,000,000

[1] unless a clear, objective case of voter fraud can be independently observed/shown, which would then legitimise calls for a recount (typical), or revoke (rare) - the importance of International and/or independent election/voting watchdogs able to monitor elections cannot be underestimated as they play a vital role in reporting results and acting as check-and-balance mechanism against the possibility of activities that may otherwise go under the radar.

Normalising/desensitising violence in games. An (initial) study

June 18, 2016, 08:49:08 AM by kat
The general idea press and media throw around without consequence is that whilst games might not necessarily, kinda, sorta, not-really-but-perhaps-they-do-if-only-we-can-just-fabricate-find-the-right-evidence, is that violent video games make people violent, else the violence is normalised, else the violence desensitises the individual. In other words, if this postulation were correct there would be a measurable difference between gamers exposed to violent imagery and those who are not.

A new study, "Excessive users of violent video games do not show emotional desensitization: an fMRI study" [snapshot], investigated this connection to see if it existed and to what extent that might be by scanning brain activity of the studies participants (scans record involuntary activity). Although a small sample size (c. 30 individuals), they discovered no discernible difference between the way the groups responded to violent images "using standardized emotional pictures of positive, negative and neutral valence". In other words, each participant is shown an image, perhaps a bunny, or broccoli, and the corresponding brain activity is recorded and cross-referenced with other individuals shown the same material. Deviance would indicate (without necessarily confirming) a potential correlation/causation link/association one way or the other.

It's important to point out here that although this debunks the myth (so to speak) media and activists flippantly thrown around, that violent video games normalise or desensitise individuals to real-world violence, it is not to say that violent media has no effect; on the contrary research indicates it does, although it's an entirely short-term and temporal modification, i.e. the state of mind players are in immediately after playing fades as they essentially come down from an emotional high and go back to their normal daily activities. Those that don't have underlying issues and predispositions not influenced by violent media.

Additional Reading
- Long-term Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior
- How social context influences violence-aggression relationship
- Violence against males in games doesn't count... another study that 'proves' it
- Sexist games=sexist gamers? A longitudinal study...
- Does media violence predict societal violence? (study)
- Aggression from video games 'linked to incompetence'
- The Benefits of Playing Video Games
- Guns, games and real world aggression & violence

BBC & "Finally some progress on diversity" at E3

June 17, 2016, 09:26:49 AM by kat
Dear BBC, please don't patronize good game or character design, made for contextual reasons, with the Corporations disingenuous, self-serving motivations to be at the forefront of the New Political Correct Movement simply because that's an expedient tool to obfuscate the Company's own long-standing failings[1]. The process of deciding 'why' a given character is designed a particular way often takes years of development, discussion and refinement, not something readily subject to superficial whims of fancy or three-day news-cycle jingoism.

The broader context of the above relates to this years E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), about which a number of self-proclaim 'progressive' news and media outlets vociferously expressed the opinion that many of the games on show lacked "diversity"[2], they (press/media) were tired seeing the same old "underwear as armor" character design[3], or were just too violent[4]. Games fulfilling the media led quotas were praised, others languish in the relative, irony-not-lost, safety of obscurity, or are heavily criticised and shamed as examples of exactly the kind of thing that justifies the rhetoric in the first place. Developers just can't win, the same statement can be perfectly sensible in one outlet, and completely monstrous in another depending, not on the speakers 'original truth', but the subsequent author proclivities.

"The only way to win the game is not to play".

Additional Reading
- The dark side of diversity: "positive discrimination" (reverse discrimination).
- Paris terrorists (may have) used PlayStation 4's.
- Charlie Hebdo, terrorism and freedom of speech.
- Does media violence predict societal violence? (study).
- Terrorism, web sites, games and privacy (anonymity).
- Aggression from video games 'linked to incompetence'.
- Long-term Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior.
- The Benefits of Playing Video Games.

[1] "BBC accused of ‘racism’ for turning away white applicants from BAME diversity scheme", "BBC promises to hire more women and ethnic minorities", "Top of the Pops: How BBC show was a breeding ground for sexual abusers including Jimmy Savile", "All Saints claim BBC told them to strip topless during Top of the Pops performance", "ITV investigation: Politician Sir Clement Freud accused of child sexual abuse" etc.

[2] "diversity" as understood by an ideologically motivated 'progressive' mindset typically of a (pseudo)intellectual elite(ist), i.e. "E3 diversity report - so was it a white guy-fest again? | Technology ...", "Guardian: 'E3 diversity report - so was it a white guy-fest again ...", "E3 2015: Diversity the big winner at E3 | Develop", "Gender and Diversity at E3 and so on...", "Black video game heroes and failed Bechdel tests – the E3 diversity report", and about 600,000 other returns (a good percentage of which appear to be unrelated junk it should be noted, as is common with most search online).

[3] Absent context, which is often conveniently omitted from discussion on the subject, anything can be argued as inappropriate. In other words "Underwear of Power", "Chainmail Bikini", "Bulletproof Vest", "Lingerie as Armor" all being expressions of the same basic idea or 'trope', that of whether skimpy clothing is adequate battle garb deconstructed as reinforcing negative stereotypes rather than a positive expression of what makes us human, our bipedal upright physicality.

[4] this issue of game related violence took centre-stage in this years media due to a number of significant and tragic shootings this year, Orlando being the most egregious at time of writing. Press and media used the event to push an anti-gun, "games-cause-violence" narrative through ostensibly click-bait headlines - "How do you sell violent games after a tragedy? Pretend like it didn't happen", "Video Game Trade Show Kicks Off Under Cloud Of Real-Life Violence" et al - which are in stark contrast to the numbers; about 15% of games at this years (2016) E3 were FPS that included the use of guns, c. 20% were non-FPS but still used guns, and 65% of games shown had no guns at all (source unconfirmed/unverified).

UK Government pushed to consider "sexism" rating for games

June 11, 2016, 06:14:12 PM by kat
In comments expressed during an interview with NewsWeek, a Labour Party MP, Chi Onwurah, called on the UK Government to look into adopting Frances new initiative, that of adding a "Sexism" rating to games and other media, whilst conflating the demand with other "women in games" issues, as seems to be fashionable these days. It should be known that ratings in games and the way sex, the sexes, and sexuality, are represented in media are very different issues, requiring very different solutions, than employment and workplace gender-based discrimination, which the UK has half-a-dozen laws on the books to prosecute, something an MP pushing an anti-discrimination (pro-diversity/equality etc.) agenda should know, at least were they truly concerned about the subject and not just pandering for votes. But then this is just too much of a hot-button, emotionally driven led issue for opportunists to avoid getting their sticky mitts on.

Member of Parliament: "Sexualised females in games is bad".
Gamers & Industry: "But extreme violence against males is... okay? Meh, who cares, right?"[1].
MP: "Oh but that's different because... [same tired old talking points]".
G & I: sigh */g goes back to gaming

What truly keeps women and girls out of the game industry?. The constant industry fear-mongering and sensationalised headline. When asked, women and girls typically report their negative impressions of the industry being formed largely through negative press and media coverage, not from direct experience. So the myth of a hostile work environments inside the games industry persists as a harmful self-fulfilling prophecy (as press and media see it).

Looking at this from the outside (sort of) it's amazing to realise just how similar this brouhaha is to what Mary Whitehouse was advocating some 40 odd years ago. She pushed hard for, and got to a limited degree, the same kind of legal, policy and Governmental control over freedom of expression as current-day advocates are doing, and from a similarly gynocentric, although secularly informed, non-science[2] perspective. The only difference between then and now is this; had she had the foresight to call and make extensive use of the "F" word (8 letters across, starts with "f", ends with "m"), and accuse her detractors of demeaning, harassing and abusing her (regardless of their gender) she, and the advocacy group she headed, would have even more successful than they had.


[1] Advocacy groups argue female game characters should not be subject to violence or sexism, whilst tacitly approving said-same against males. As direct consequence of Advocacy groups not caring about male violence they become a 'safe' medium of expression for game developers; more games are made with male protagonists committing violence against male victims, which the same Advocacy groups then argue is exclusionary to females, demanding better representation without explicitly acknowledging the context into which such female characters would be placed. Thus an infinite logic loop is created destroying the World.

[2] Although Mary Whiteshouse used different approaches and rationals to the same problems, much of her "sex-negative" ideas were informed by her faith and belief (Christian), both of which were easy jumping-off points for what would be considered vicious attacks by today's 'snowflake' standards, by press and media whom would often lambasted her as being "sex obsessed", obsessed with the representation of sex and morally questionable ideas on television and in cinema. Were she alive today this might not be the case (as keen observers might remark, being female is no guaranty of acceptance from any of the advocacy groups in question).
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