In September 2016 we reported on how Labour’s Domestic violence spokesperson Sarah Champion MP had received a police caution as a result of her domestic violence against her husband. Astonishingly, Champion kept her job (she certainly has some hands-on experience in the field!) and was widely praised by her feminist colleagues for talking about her unprovoked attack on her husband, with the likes of famous misandrist Jess Phillips jumping in to support her almost instantly.
Today, we learn that Lib Dem MP Layla Moran also has hands-on experience when it comes to domestic violence. She’s issued a statement on Twitter admitting to assaulting her partner at a conference in Glasgow, noting that she was arrested by police and charged. While the charges were later dropped, she doesn’t deny the attack and only appears to have issued the statement owing the rumours surfacing recently.
The parallels between this latest Moran case and the Champion case are stark. As with Champion, Moran has no shortage of people coming out to support her and even praise her actions! Those praising her “courage” already include Baroness Meral Hussain-Ece, a fellow Lib Dem and someone who apparently has “zero tolerance of racism” yet plenty of tolerance of violence against men. Lib Dem Councillor Nick da Costa goes further still, suggesting Moran was not only “brave” but in fact an ”inspiration” for talking about her attack on her partner, with his comment receiving 18 “likes” so far from Lib Dems and feminists.
The parallels don’t end there. Both Champion and Moran blatantly victim blame for their unprovoked attacks on their partners, with Moran using the pathetic and nonsensical excuse that she had assaulted her partner because she “felt threatened”. If you genuinely feel threatened by someone you flee and or seek help, you don’t assault them.
As per the Champion case, Moran almost completely fails to accept responsibility for her actions or the seriousness of them, nor does she give any sort of apology let alone a reassurance it won’t happen again. To be fair, Moran hasn’t quite yet stooped as low as Champion who stated “I won’t be re-victimised” in the context of the case.
A final obvious parallel in the cases is that both perpetrators are of course committed feminists, both deeply concerned about “violence against women” whilst not caring in the slightest about the other 40% of victims of domestic violence (despite contributing to that statistic through their attacks).
In addition examining the content of Moran’s statement, it’s also worth considering what’s absent. What would a decent, genuine, apologetic and meaningful version look like or what would the statement look like with the genders reversed?
- The term “domestic violence” or “domestic abuse” would be used as a basic and fundamental acknowledgement of what Moran had done.
- There would be an apology for her actions and a promise that steps had been taken to stop it happening in future.
- The statement would use the term “domestic violence” and condemn domestic violence as a whole. In fact, seeing as feminists condemn “violence against women” the statement should therefore condemn “violence against men” on this occasion and acknowledge the millions of male victims. At the very least it could note how domestic violence is not a gender issue and can impact anyone.
- There would be a link or mention of support service for male victims, namely the brilliant ManKind Initiative, perhaps even a donation to them too (or at least a commitment to supporting their work).
At least some of points two to four above would almost certainly be seen in cases of prominent male admitting abuse of females, yet when the genders are reversed it’s as if they’re not even considered. In a previous HEqual article we compared the treatment of Champion with that of a male MP involved in domestic abuse, Conservative David Ruffley. Both Champion and Ruffley received domestic abuse related police cautions, with Champions being for a more serious offence. Despite this fact, it was Ruffley who was forced to stand down, not just from a police and crime related role, but as an MP too and he was widely condemned by feminist activists, 50,000 of whom signed a petition calling on him to stand down. Those same activists either silent or completely supportive when it came to Champion’s abuse.
The media coverage of the Ruffley and Champion cases contrasted in the extreme too, with the BBC writing numerous articles about the male MP’s case compared with just one single line on a local news ticker about Champion’s abuse!
It’s important to note that like Champion, Moran isn’t admitting to the assault in order to be open and honest, to come clean or help raise awareness. She notes herself that rumours of the assault are circulating online, and in the case of Champion she only gave her exclusive interview to the Daily Mirror because Daily Mail journalists had become aware of what she’d done and were about to run the story exposing her. It’s also rumoured that Moran has leadership ambitions, so it would appear that she’s looking to get this scandal out of the way before starting her campaign.
It’s also of note that Moran was heavily involved in the campaign against Toby Young when he was appointed to the Board to the Office of Students and ultimately forced to stand down. Moran signed an Early Day Motion citing his alleged failure to live up to Nolan’s Seven principles of public life. These principles are certainly a good set of values and so it would be most interesting to see how Moran’s conduct aligns with them:
Moran’s conduct certainly fails on points five, six and seven (with the later noting that officeholders should set an example!). While her pathetic confession today undoes some of the breach of point five, it cause other issues relating to integrity. Ultimately, if Young really needed to resign for sexist comments he’d made in the past, than Moran would certainly need to step down for her domestic violence.
There’s near endless talk to the need for Parliament to reflect and represent society, particularity from feminists, but it’s a real shame that this reflection now includes reflecting the doubles standards in domestic violence where male abusers have to stand down, whereas female perpetrators just get endless praise for their violence.
Moran herself stated in Parliament that:
“Violence against women is still ubiquitous. It still happens in our society and on our streets, and it should absolutely be called out.”
She made the above statement while facing a perpetrator of domestic violence in the mirror every morning and as far as we can tell she has never “called out” violence against men, let alone the scandal in the failure to provide services to male victim and the state sponsored and 100% illegal sex discrimination they face even when calling so-called helplines.
It’s really important to note the consequences of seeing female abusers in Parliament. Even after being exposed as an abuser, Champion continues to push for sexist domestic violence policies, the kind that would harm her victim. It’s therefore unsurprising that Moran has the very same mindset.
Ultimately, if the likes of Champion and Moran want to show genuine remorse for their actions, make amends, and be trusted by the electorate, then they need to seek to protect and support both male and female victims of domestic violence equally. Champion has clearly shown that she’s learned nothing from her police caution (other than she can get away with her abuse and remain as domestic violence spokesperson), and she’s now just as sexist as ever. It now remains to be seen whether Moran uses her experience as an abuser to endeavour to become a better person. Alternatively, she can take Champion’s path and harm men not just personally/physically but also in terms of policy and outlook. Based on her victim blaming non-apology not to mention performances like this on the BBC, we regretfully think it will be the later.
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