• ‘Gender equality’ plays a major part in developing and sustaining a rape culture in the Bay

    It was in 2011 that I first began to understand the true extent of the brutalising violence that women and girls suffer in the Bay. The (then) Government Office of the South West brought a sexual health and wellbeing roadshow to the Bay. During one session, a single statistic jumped out at me from a long list of bullet points: some 34% of young women and girls up to the age of 19 claimed to have suffered a sexual assault of some kind.

    The fact that the figure was just one in a long list surprised me. It should have been the headline figure and the one to be tackled unencumbered by the rest of the findings.

    This statistic, which I found so disturbing, reminded me of the shocking progression of statistics quoted in 2008 in Stieg Larson's Millennium Trilogy novels about the rape culture in Sweden:

    • 18% of the women in Sweden have at one time been threatened with violence

    • 46% of the women in Sweden have been subjected to violence by a man;

    • 13% of the women in Sweden have been subjected to aggravated sexual assault outside of a sexual relationship;

    • 92% of women in Sweden who have been subjected to sexual assault have not reported the most recent violent incident to the police.

    On the latter point, not reporting to the police and why that might be, consider the police's own crime figures in South Devon for last year (2015-16):

    • Rape - up 4.1% (202)

    • Other sexual offences - down 8.3% (353)

    • Violence with injury - up 4.9% (2289)

    • Violence without injury (fighting) - up 14.9%

    • Homicide - up 200% (6)

    • Possession of offensive weapons - up 35.3% (115)

    And these rises are stated against the background of up to 50% under-recording of crime by the police, including violent and sexual offences, and including rape. This under-recording is openly admitted by the police themselves. Make no mistake, the majority of the offences catalogued above, plus the unrecorded offences, are committed by men against women and girls.

    EVAW is a leading coalition of specialist women's support services, researchers, activists, survivors and NGOs working to end violence against women in all its forms. Established in 2005, EVAW campaigns for strategic approaches to ending violence against women and challenges the wider cultural attitudes that tolerate and condone violence against women. The EVAW Coalition is a company limited by guarantee (no.7317881) and a registered charity (no.1161132). www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk

    So comfortable have the police become with the idea that escalating levels of violence against women and girls is inevitable (this year's increases come on top of ongoing increases in previous years), that the Deputy Chief Constable for Devon and Cornwall, Bill Skelley announced the new statistics in the local paper by saying “These are figures that we are proud of...”

    It is now my contention, based on close-up observation and first-hand experience, that local authorities and their public sector partners are so totally obsessed with the doctrine of gender equality that they are blinded to the fact that they are at least sustaining but possibly even promoting a rape culture in the UK.

    The consequences of this all-pervasive dogma of gender equality does not need much elaboration here: it is the obvious consequence of the utter failure to see violence against women and girls as a gender specific issue, needing to be addressed as such, despite overwhelming evidence.

    Further, I would contend that the current use of domestic violence as just about the only lens through which public sector partners now view violence in our communities is working to ensure that policy will always fail. The police thereby have a focus that has somehow enabled them to say that they are overwhelmed. The ongoing increases in the crimes of rape, crimes of violence and crimes of sexual violence suggest that the police and criminal justice system have lost control. I believe that this is the case, but not necessarily because the police have become soft, but because the whole public sector has lost the plot.

    Whenever I stand up and speak about violence against women and girls, some other well-meaning worthy will say: “Let's not forget that men suffer domestic violence too.” The rules of civil debate mean that I explain patiently that I understand that men suffer too, but that the numbers show that the victims are overwhelmingly women and girls.

    Again, whenever I speak about organised child sexual exploitation, I am challenged that boys too suffer at the hands of perverts. Yes, I explain patiently, but the numbers show that the victims of organised child sexual exploitation are overwhelmingly young women and girls.

    The single reason that this is such an uphill struggle is because the doctrine of gender equality is now almost a religion in the public sector, blinding good and well-meaning people to the inescapable fact (if we pay attention to the evidence) that violence is gender specific. Put in its simplest terms, males can now feel free to rape, assault and generally brutalise women because men are occasionally victims too. W S DeKeseredy puts it like this in his book Violence Against Women – Myths, Facts, Controversies:

    ‘Growing numbers of conservative fathers’ rights groups, academics, politicians, and others challenge research showing high rates of male-to-female beatings, sexual assaults, and other highly injurious forms of male-to-female victimization that typically occur behind closed doors and in intimate relationships. One way they do this is by arguing that women are as violent as men. This claim is erroneous…It remains one of the greatest obstacles to improving women’s health and safety, regardless of how often it is refuted by research and statistics.’

    There has recently been a widespread call for the decriminalisation of prostitution. Here too, I detect the doctrine of gender equality at work. The arrival of organised prostitution here in the Bay has been repeatedly denied by public sector partners despite testimony to the contrary from first hand witnesses with nothing to gain by lying.

    Back in 2014, I raised a question in full Council about violence against women and was met with a prepared response parroting the gender equality doctrine. In response I took the opportunity to read out a couple of weeks’ worth of 'Around the Courts' records sections from the local paper: I read out the names, ages and convictions of men found guilty of violent crimes against women and girls. To my naive surprise, I was cut short and silenced by the woman chairman of the council. The sheer number of convictions over a mere two-week period was staggering. The crimes were mainly rapes, and assaults by beating. The male perpetrators' ages ranged from 20 to 80 and the locations covered all three towns.

    By that point, it had become clear to me that in the period from 2011 and the Government Office of the South West revelation, to the end of 2014, we had failed totally to tackle or even dent the rising tide of violence against women and girls in the Bay. And the reason for that failure had to be misguided policy, however well intentioned.

    I then began a campaign of letter writing to feminist academics to see if they would be willing to provide personal support and research to underpin a fundamental re-appraisal of policy to help reduce violence against women and girls. They were supportive, and Professor Marianne Hester from Bristol in particular offered to get involved. Professor Hester is the UK’s foremost academic expert on gender violence.

    However, it proved a hurdle too far to obtain even the most modest sum from Torbay Council public health commissioners in order to stage an event for partners and public alike to hear the views of experts on the subject and to tease out a new direction for public policy discussions. Even had I found the funding elsewhere, they would not have supported it, I strongly suspect, financially or otherwise. Any strategy that came out of such an event could have been a policy that varied, with clear researched academic support, from the same-old, same-old, gender inclusive failure. I believe the reason for this lack of support is that the work would have exposed the massive and systemic failure of our current public policy and that it is all based on a failure to recognise the need for gender specific action to deal with the problem of male violence.

    This was, in my view, a deliberately resisted opportunity to discuss the hard issues bubbling beneath the surface of such murky waters as the deeply institutionalised male domination of women, which is writ extra-large in the historic small town mentalities still prevalent in the Bay. This is explained clearly and succinctly by Professor Hester herself when she states: ‘…men and women experience male-female relations differently, but also generally as mediated via the dominant male view.’ In this context, it is less curious to me that the health commissioners that rejected my call for a debate were women.

    The sensitivities around immigrant cultures and Islam in particular have only served to put back the protection of women and girls from a national perspective. The same should hardly be the case here in the Bay. Here in the Bay we are confronting white male violence. There are very few religious and cultural issues here. I believe this is often used as an excuse for inaction but, in any case, we need to be helping these women, too. I would argue we are merely bathing in the backwash of a national and international neurosis and it is needlessly undermining the protection of women and girls in the Bay.

    Around the same time as I hit the funding buffers with the public health commissioners here at the Council - this despite my being the Executive Lead for Adults and Children - OFSTED was inspecting our Children's Services safeguarding service. The service was found inadequate, and rightly so.

    Among the OFSTED recommendations, however, one stood out as indicative of the muddle-headed gender equality approach at work across national policy. We were criticised for our lack of perpetrator support services.

    Wrong! Children are being abused and neglected, their mothers are being beaten and raped, and we are supposed to spend our limited time and even more limited funding propping up the perpetrators? Whatever happened to the view, prevalent when I was growing up, that a man who hit a woman is the lowest form of life? Or, once a wife beater, always a wife beater. And, how does this apparent concern for child abusers fit with the rightful criminalisation of corporal punishment in schools?

    I fear that we have totally lost our way in our responses to male violence toward women and girls. The only way back is to accept that we were wrong, that we have spent billions of pounds in public money - wasted year upon year - and we have been wilfully blind toward gender specific violence, we have ignored the evidence of our own eyes that our communities have been traumatised by the injustice that we have enabled, and that we are cruelly and deliberately letting down well over half the population. If the Torbay Health and Wellbeing Board publicly accepted these things, and promised to change its ways through a properly thought out set of policies that faced up to the realities that women and girls face every day, I believe we in the Bay would have done something of real and lasting worth.

    What might I include as features of such a set of policies? Well, how about a suite of actions involving the following:

    • Drug and alcohol abuse being viewed by local public sector partners as aggravating factors in cases of male violence against women and girls, not mitigation;

    • Campaigns targeting trolls who bully women and girls over the internet including direct lobbying of social media providers;

    • Turn upside down the non-judgemental gender equality framework whereby ‘all can be forgiven’, which has had such a catastrophic effect on women and girls, and instead mount advertising campaigns aimed at undermining the self-esteem of male bullies and cowards who think it is okay to assault women and girls;

    • Local Authority social work and health teams work with the police to target known wife/partner beaters through direct intervention - a 'we are watching you' policy that is actually carried out and not just threatened;

    • An education programme aimed at winning the support of the wider public making the case in terms of cost in their taxes of the consequences of male violence towards women and girls.

    I firmly believe that all of these could have a significant impact in improving the lives of women and girls in the Bay. In fact, it is only the obsession with gender neutrality that is preventing such action. Once we accept the overwhelming evidence that such neutrality is the root cause of all the misery, gender specific policies would necessarily follow.

    I will not give up calling for these changes and the public debate that needs to precede them.

    Julien Parrott

    Councillor for Ellacombe Ward

    Executive Lead for Adults and Children, Torbay Coucnil, 2015 to date

    August 2016


    Government Office of the South West (2011)

    Herald Express (2014 and 2016)

    Stieg Larson, The Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: MacLehose Press 2008 (English translation)

    Walter S. DeKeseredy, Violence Against Women - Myths, Facts, Controversies: University of Toronto Press 2011

    Marianne Hester, Lewd Women & Wicked Witches: Routledge 1992



Julien Parrott, UKIP

Councillor for Ellacombe Ward, 2007 to date
Executive Lead for Adults and Children
Torbay Borough Council Unitary Authority

julien campaign

11 November 2017

A brief update ...

I realise that I keep apologising for not maintaining this website! I really hope that I will be able to do something with it in the near future, but I know that my fellow Ellacombe residents understand that my priority is with my ward work and with my work for children and adults across the Bay as Executive Lead councillor.

In the meantime, an update for my fellow Ellacombe residents: please note that my contact details have changed. If you want to discuss a local issue with me, please see below for my new contact arrangements.

Email me:

Write to me:
Cllr Julien Parrott, Torbay Council, Town Hall, Torquay TQ1 3DR

Telephone me:
01803 389624 (Mon-Fri, daytime)

Come and see me:
I am also generally available each Monday between 12 noon and 1pm at the Office of William Dartmouth MEP, at 49 Market Street, Torquay TQ1 3AW

Julien in Regalia

During the Civic Year

2013-2014, I had the honour of being elected Chairman of Torbay Council.

Click on the logo to go to the UKIP.org website

Passport crop

Where I have used photos not taken by me or given to me to use for my material, I have credited both the source of the picture and the photographer, where I can. If a photo is yours, and you would like a credit or would prefer me to remove it, then please let me know via the ‘Contact me' page on this site and I will do that.

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