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'Wear a big coat' Charlie Stayt in women abuse probe 'what can a man say to women?'

Daily Express logo Daily Express 14/05/2022 Jamie Body

Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty were joined by English feminist writer, Laura Bates, on Saturday's BBC Breakfast. Laura discussed the hardships that women face and how sexual assault is still prevalent. The "system issue" is not just the odd "bad apples" the guest stated, and BBC presenter Charlie wanted to know what he, other men and parents can do to help with the issue.

Spokeswoman Laura appeared on BBC Breakfast to talk about the changes in society and the ongoing sexism concerns 10 years on from when she launched the Everyday Sexism Project.

Laura Bates BBC Breakfast © BBC Laura Bates BBC Breakfast What began as a website where people could share their experiences of sexism, ranging from street harassment to workplace discrimination to sexual assault and rape, has grown into a movement with Laura releasing her new book, Fix The System Not The Women.

Laura passionately spoke about how this behaviour is often normalised in society and how even people in power are misusing their position.

She said: "56 of our MPs are under investigation for sexual misconduct," she also highlighted: "We have an MP watching porn in Parliament.

BBC Breakfast Charlie and Laura © BBC BBC Breakfast Charlie and Laura

"We have got this system issue that is constantly being explained away to us as bad apples."

BBC Breakfast hosts © EXPRESS BBC Breakfast hosts Wanting to know how he can help, Charlie said: "Can I go back, Laura, to one of the things you are talking about.

"The idea of trying to get institutions to think differently is probably the hardest of all things because forever, people have tried to change for different reasons."

Noting that often people who care about their female friends, partners and members of their family may say a comment about wanting them to be safe, but it could actually be damaging.

Laura Bates BBC Breakfast © BBC Laura Bates BBC Breakfast

"You are saying about women being advised, possibly by people who love them and care for them," he added.

"They are going out, and they say 'Wear a big coat', 'Take something with you - an alarm', because they care."

Although referencing the relationship of a man talking to a woman, he did mention that it could be a parent, sibling or friend of any gender saying the same thing.

He asked: "To what extent are they contributing to the problem by doing something that is straightforward, wanting to know someone is safe? You often hear these conversations and think, it is not right that anyone should be required or feel the need to take all those precautions, but what do you say as a man?"

Empathising with the host and stating how this is a common response, Laura described: "I understand that it comes from a position of care, and I know it is well-meaning but actually if we really look at that, what that shows is that as a society we are willing to start from a point of accepting that women on the whole should be constraining their lives.

"Doing things differently as a response to a small number of men committing small acts of violence.

"But what we would never be prepared to accept is the idea that all men should be constrained in the same way."

Pointing out how the responsibility seems to fall on women to "walk in pairs" and to carry an "alarm", but the issue is actually more deep-rooted.

She concluded: "It's not on women to fix this, it is on the systems to tackle it."

Naga added that it is a "shame" that these conversations continue to happen, but people "must keep the conversation going."

BBC Breakfast continues on weekdays at 6amon BBC One.


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