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#WomenOnlyCarriages

26/08/2015
Dear Mr Corbyn,

If there are two things guaranteed to piss me off it is sexism and public transport. I don't think I've ever managed to board a train without some sort of tantrum - just ask National Rails customer service, I'm quite the regular complainant. Likewise, if I am witness to even a smidge of sexism, my inner gobshite will be released and the perpetrator will get an earful. I can't help myself, I'm an easily irritated woman. Plus, everyone knows sexism is for the neglected and I'm just a natural born nurturer. It's tough love, guys.

So Mr Corbyn, with your frankly stupid segregated train idea, you've managed to quite royally piss me off. Which is a shame because I liked you. You were a ranting, idealist student's dream. I thought you understood, I thought you were COOL! I'd even argued for your campaign. Now I look silly (which, incidently is number three on the list of things that piss me off).

Now I'd like to think this ridiculous idea was just a slip of the tongue. A political science student debate over a venti soya cappacunio. A drunken dispute over British politics spewed out with ill-thought and promptly forgotten in the morning. But it's all over the news, so it must be a thing. Women's only trains are genuinely up for debate. Wow.

You see, I hadn't realised I was too precious and fragile to share a carriage with men. For my twenty years on earth I thought that was the done thing, mixing with the opposite sex. I've travelled buses, trains and tubes numerous times and I'd never even considered the occasional sexual harassment I received was due to me being in a mixed train!!! I'd just assumed the men were sleazy knobheads. Now I know better, I'll be sure to stay away from all men entirely. (Hey, Corbyn, while we're at it, do you think you could work on a women's only Tesco? Last time I bent down for potatoes an old man grazed my arse. I think I'd be much safer if we had segregated aisles from now on).

Sexual assault is a huge problem and needs to be dealt with, but segregation isn't the answer. A women's only carriage indicates women are responsible for avoiding sexual assault rather than placing blame with the assaulter. It merely serves to add a new "reason" to blame the victim. If she chose to sit in a mixed carriage, what did she expect? Again, it becomes up to the woman to protect herself and it ignores the root of the problem. It's the age-old teaching of 'don't get raped' over 'don't rape' and it's a huge backtrack for British women. It just serves to normalise unacceptable and sexist attitutdes.

Segregated carriages only serve to perpetuate the idea that women are vulnerable. To me it suggests women aren't safe to travel without guardianship, instead they must be hidden from sight. For "protection". It sounds like something straight out of a Victorian novel and well as patriarchal bullshit. Everyone knows sexual harassment and assault isn't about sex; it's about power. So surely by portraying women as in 'need' of this 'safe' space, you are only encouraging the notion that sexual perpetrators thrive on.

So Mr Corbyn, please consider this one of your consultations. It's just a stupid, stupid idea amongst many other wonderful ones. Women shouldn't have to segregate themselves to avoid sexual assaults - men should be taught to value women as more than sexual objects. We need a society-wide strategy to tackle violence on women, not a convenient gender segregation. We need, men and women, to tackle the problem at it's source.

Anyway, do you know how hard it is to find a seat on the train these days? I'll be screwed if I only have access to one carriage. I might stand up for women's rights, but I won't be standing up on the train.

1 comment

  1. This was not Jeremy Corbyn's idea, please, please look up the quote before you change your ideas about him!
    He has had women tell him they feel unsafe and THEY have suggested the idea of segregated carriages to him, he has stated he will discuss this idea with other groups of women to get their ideas and opinions and once he has done this, then he will decide whether this seemed like a good idea.
    To me this actually seems pretty bloody different to plenty of other male politicians who feel they have a right to make decisions about women's bodies without even considering consulting women on what we want/think/need.
    To me he is basically saying 'as your leader, I would listen to your ideas and concerns and discuss them properly with the correct people before making snap decisions without your input', which sounds practically revolutionary compared with the current politicians in power!
    The media (especially the ever sliding towards politically centre-ground journalism newspaper Guardian, who have a new editor and suddenly are unable to report news correctly i.e using actual quotes, instead of click-bait articles) have jumped on this and completely twisted everything he said to suit their centre/right wing leaning agenda.
    Below is the actual Corbyn quote:
    "Some women have raised with me that a solution to the rise in assault and harassment on public transport could be to introduce women-only carriages.
    My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop, on the mode of transport itself.
    However, I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome – and also if piloting this at times and on modes of transport where harassment is reported most frequently would be of interest.
    The excellent work of individuals, campaigns, and groups like Everyday Sexism and Stop Street Harassment has highlighted just how prevalent street harassment is in our country today; and the extent to which many women feel uncomfortable, anxious, and unsafe just going about their daily routines.
    It is simply unacceptable that many women and girls adapt their daily lives in order to avoid being harassed on the street, public transport and in other public places from the park to the supermarket. This could include taking longer routes to work, having self-imposed curfews, or avoiding certain means of transport."
    I really hope this makes a difference to your ideas towards Corbyn...which is mad because I'm a Green supporter really! :)
    I just think Corbyn really is a refreshingly different and much more human-like candidate who because of this seems to be getting a hefty bashing in the media, just like most true left-wing ideas/people these days. :(

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