It’s been an important week. Back in 2012, the UK signed the Istanbul Convention, on preventing violence against women and girls, and tackling domestic violence. But we have never ratified it. On Thursday, a bill ratifying it received a second reading in the House of Commons and an almost unanimous vote (all bar two) passed it to the committee stage of legislation.
This ought to be a straightforward and uncontroversial piece of legislation; it really ought not to need explaining that violence against women and girls is peculiarly gendered, in a way that violence against men and boys tends not to be*. It ought not to. But this has been a strange, topsy turvy kind of year and many of the truths I should like to be held self evident suddenly seem to be questionable. So ratification is important and the bill making it through to committee stage is important.
This is an important issue for me. I mean, it’s an important issue for everyone. But it has a personal resonance for me. This isn’t the place to tell that story, but as a result of that, when I was offered the opportunity to run London Marathon for Dash – a charity which works creatively and tirelessly to end domestic abuse – I jumped at it.
So yes, you’ve guessed it. This is the big reveal of my sponsorship plea. In 9 days, I will turn 50. Those of you who know me will know that I’ve set myself a number of challenges for that anniversary. The London Marathon is the first, and most public of them. If you would like to send me good wishes for my birthday, please do it by clicking this link and sponsoring me. Dash can use your money far better than I can. I’m a very lucky woman with a very comfortable life, and somewhere back in my murky past, people like Dash were instrumental in making this happen. So for my anniversary year, please will you help me to help them to help others in that position? Thank you.
*and yes, of course I think it’s really important to end domestic abuse against men and boys, too. Of course I do. And that’s why I chose Dash – they work for all victims and survivors of domestic abuse; they really are a very progressive and egalitarian charity.