Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fawcett March and some radio clips

Yesterday the Fawcett Society organised a rally to protest the disproportionate way in which women are being affected by the cuts. I was asked to speak afterwards at the rally about the threat to reproductive and abortion rights. I am mentioned in the Morning Star newspaper.

I was also on BBC radio 5 Live Weekend Breakfast show yesterday talking about internet abuse. You can "listen again" here starting at 2h43m in to the show. Since then I've been discussing it a bit on Twitter with Dr Evan Harris and others. The question of what can be done about it is a tricky one. Certainly I get quite a lot of messages that are definitely the wrong side of the law - especially if they contain specific threats. But I don't really have time to launch a police case every time this happens. When I have contacted the police - they've been rubbish and done nothing. And for the general hate messages there is the issue that people are entitled to free speech but it also seems unfair that I, and hundreds and thousands of other women with an online presence (plus, I must add ethnic minority, gay, trans, etc bloggers who I'm sure get plenty of crap too) have to wade through this stuff in our inboxes every morning. We know young people have been driven to suicide by Internet bullying. My solution as ever is to tackle the hate culture, not the expression of it. But seems like not much progress is being made on that front either!

And this morning - yes that was me on BBC Radio Ulster debating whether single women should be allowed IVF on the NHS. Can't believe we're still having this debate really. Why would a health service offer "moral" or relationship advice. Loads of single women are great mothers and if they're coming for IVF it's not like they haven't given the matter serious consideration... And who wants to turn down the recently widowed, or a woman who's just escaped domestic violence? We have to trust women to decide what's best for them.

Anyway the most fun bit was that right towards the end the woman I was debating with opined that single women shouldn't be allowed to have IVF kids because it was against the bible's model of a family. Well it was left to me to point out that not everyone in the UK shares her religious perspective and blah blah blah. Anyway just as the interview was ending I casually mentioned that there is no God. Good morning Northern Ireland and you're welcome!! Sorry it's not available on iPlayer.

Footnote: thanks Paul - I stand corrected (and pleased) - you can listen to the Radio Ulster debate show here. My bit starts from 34m in and skip forward to 44m is you just want to hear my big finish!


PaulJ said...

I think this might be your Radio Ulster programme:

Martin UK said...

Hi Kate, I have to say it is near impossible to keep your personal details address and such off the web, I have had a few friends who I lost touch with in different parts of the country as I travelled working, it was really easy when I think about it to find them using their name and region. So it doesn't surprise me that you get a few cranks and weirdos being clever with yours. I am upset that it gets that bad that you feel you need to leave town now and then because of these oddballs and that people seem to get some thrill from being abusive toward public figures like yourself. You need to be a bit more choosy and ban the buggers...

Cruella said...

Thanks for your comment Martin. i feel maybe I'm not so clear here. Firstly I've only ever left the area when I've specifically had a threat that someone who is quoting my address is coming round to attack/rape/kill me. It's not about fear - it's just a practical consideration. It's not really that I feel I need to leave town, it's that it would be stupid to say in my opinion. And as for banning people again these comments and threats are nearly always anonymous. People can just move to another computer. Also in general they're often on video websites that I don't moderate (such as ebaumsworld, which has been a particular source of a lot of nastiness lately). They don't even have a "report to moderator" button. And I can block people who send me abuse on Facebook, sure, but for instance on my blog I moderate it so I don't publish the abuse but since it's predominantly anonymous I still have to read it to decide whether or not to publish it.