How hostility to men could become a hate crime

Scourge: There were 80,393 hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales in 2016-17.

Is this a good idea? The government is considering expanding the definition of a hate crime to include prejudice against men — as well as women and the elderly. The move is highly divisive.

“Hate crime goes directly against the long-standing British values of unity, tolerance and mutual respect,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid recently declared. “I am committed to stamping this sickening behaviour out.”

Soon, part of this effort could involve expanding the definition what a hate crime fundamentally is.

It is currently defined as an act of violence or hostility motivated by prejudice based on one of five things: disability, race, religion, transgender identity and sexual orientation.

However, a review by the Law Commission is considering whether more categories should be added, including misogyny, ageism, and most controversially, hatred of men (otherwise known as misandry).

Some women’s rights campaigners have long argued for defining misogyny as a hate crime. While such a change to the law is being considered, the government’s decision to consider hatred of men too surprised many.

“When we talk about misogyny, we are talking about the global societal issue of the life-threatening prejudice […] and harassment of women and girls purely based on their gender,” writes The Guardian’s Jessica Eaton. “Misandry, on the other hand, seems to be anything a woman says or does that any man doesn’t like.”

Should hostility to men be a hate crime?

Hu-Man rights

Absolutely not, some argue. It is women who systematically earn less than men, and it is women who often cannot walk down the street without fear of harassment. If the definition of a hate crime is expanded, it must focus on misogyny.

Hold on, others respond. There is a question of fairness here. If it is possible to discriminate against women on the basis of gender, the same holds for men. Incidents like this may be less frequent, but the law should be able to punish these offences when they occur.

You Decide

  1. Should hostility to men be a hate crime?

Activities

  1. On your own, quietly consider the ways that prejudice impacts your own life. If you like, share your thoughts with the class. Do you think that society is getting more, or less, prejudiced?

Some People Say...

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

Margaret Atwood

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
There were 80,393 hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales in 2016-17, an increase of almost a third on the previous year.
What do we not know?
The review is still ongoing, and we do not know what the Law Commission will say. It could recommend the government make no changes to current hate crime laws, or adopt some of the proposed measures.

Word Watch

Home Secretary
One of the Great Offices of State within the British government. The Home Secretary is responsible for the internal affairs of England and Wales.
Review
The outcome of the review has not been announced and the law has not changed.
Categories
Crimes which target alternative cultures could also be included, such as goths or punks.
Misogyny
Hatred and contempt for, or prejudice against, women and girls.

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