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Misogyny is hate, we must treat it as such

During an interview, Boris Johnson stated that he doesn’t believe misogyny should be classed as a hate crime. This is why he’s wrong, writes Tom Huggins-Teasdale

Sunday 12 December 2021 21:30 GMT
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People gather to pay their respects at a vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common, March 2021
People gather to pay their respects at a vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common, March 2021 (Getty)

This year’s Conservative Party conference has passed, but the events that took place across that weekend have the potential to affect us for years to come, none more so perhaps than the women of the UK.

While the headlines may focus on the populist keynote speech given by the prime minister to close the conference, there was a more disturbing thread running through it which, if pulled, threatens to unravel the already tenuous protections afforded to women in the UK. What that weekend showed us, if we care to look closely enough, is that the country’s issues with misogyny are displayed at the highest level of government.

During an interview with the BBC given over conference weekend, Boris Johnson stated that he doesn’t believe that misogyny should be classed as a hate crime enforceable by the police. The prime minister didn’t suggest that misogyny is not motivated by an internalised or societal hatred of women, instead his reasoning was that “widening the scope” of the force’s responsibilities to include enforcement of this law would stretch them beyond their capacity. This offers a mixed message. In one sense the prime minister shows that he both recognises the massive scale of the issue within his nation, but he also implies that it’s not worth the resources it would take to allow the police force to effectively tackle it.

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