Ten Cases That Prove Being A Woman In 2020 Is Still A F***ing Slog
International Women's Day is upon us, and to mark it, people around the world are taking the time to celebrate women's achievements, increase their visibility and call out the inequality that still exists within today's society.
It goes without saying that since IWD first begun in the early 1900s, the world's attitude to women has monumentally changed. For one, the last century has seen us gain voting rights, granted the right to report marital rape, obtain contraception and *finally* be listened to with regards to sexual abuse, thanks to the #MeToo movement.
There have been big steps forward in the last year, too. The government has pledged free period products in schools, Ireland repealed the eighth amendment, upskirting has been made illegal and women are leading uprisings against the patriarchal establishments in Sudan, Lebanon and Iraq.
But few can argue that despite all this, there's still a lot of work that needs be done before we achieve equality, on International Women's Day 2020 and beyond.
A cursory look at the papers proves that women are still being vilified for their sexual preferences and even their outfit choices on the regular, it's expected to take another century to close the gender pay gap, and just this week new UN research from 75 countries has found that almost 90 per cent of people are still biased against women in relation to politics, economics, education, violence or reproductive rights.
So, that's great.
From the sickening victim blaming of the Ayia Napa gang rape victim to the increase in women killed as a result of domestic violence, here are ten cases that prove being a woman in 2020 is still as f*cking exhausting... to say the least.
1. The Ayia Napa Gang Rape Trial
Few will be able to forget the recent case of one 19 year old girl (unnamed for legal reasons) who alleged that she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the party resort of Ayia Napa on 17 July 2019, only to be reprimanded for "causing public mischief".
Shortly after she made the claims, she revoked her complaint in a written statement, which she now says she was coerced into signing by Cyprus police officers after 10 hours without legal representation.
While she eventually walked free after being handed a four-month suspended sentence, her alleged attackers were released without charge, and she has since been diagnosed with PTSD.
This is hardly the first time that a woman has been so brazenly victim blamed on the stand. And it sadly demonstrates why, in 2020, some men still feel comfortable committing such heinous crimes, and women feel too scared to report them.
2. The Rise Of Vulva Care Kits
You would think that by now men still wouldn't be policing female beauty standards to the point where we're buying vulva care kits to spruce up our nether-regions.
And yet, here we are being told that a revolutionary new product is going to "tighten" "firm" and "plump" our vulvas to within an inch of their lives. Grim.
Yep, 'Two L(i)ps,' came on the scene, offering everything from a charcoal vulva mask to a 'blemish cream' to a hydrolonic acid hydrating serum designed especially for your lady parts.
And we just have one word.... why?
Of course, expecting female body to live up to an unrealistic ideal is nothing new. The demand for vaginal bleaching and labiaplasty has been slowly rising for years - with obstetricians in the US blaming our "exposure to idealized images of genital anatomy". (In other words: porn).
It's clear there's still a lot of work to do in our journey to accepting our bodies, but until brands stop praying on these insecurities a better future looks like it will unfortunately remain firmly out of reach.
3. Grace Millane's Killer Uses 'Rough Sex' Defence
The trial that followed Grace Millane's heartbreaking murder made one thing abundantly clear. Society is still intent on using women's sexual preferences against them.
The 22-year-old from Wickford, Essex, was on a round-the-world trip when she died from strangulation in Auckland, New Zealand, last December, at the hands of a man who she had met for a Tinder date.
During the trial, the man denied murdering her, instead maintaining Grace passed away during consensual rough sex.
The court then proceeded to flaunt intimate details of her sexual preferences (such as the fact she had been on fetish websites and had previously had rough sex with partners) as if that in any way justified that he had strangled her for ten whole minutes.
While the Auckland man was ruled guilty of Grace Millaine's murder, it doesn't change the fact that her parents had to sit there and listen to her sexual history being reeled out in front of them, and the whole world was now privy to the same deeply personal information.
Since 2010, use of the defence has rocketed a shocking 90 per cent, and there have been 28 cases of men claiming that a woman died as a result of a "sex game gone wrong". Grace Millane's harrowing trial is the latest painful example of just how little society has done to shake these misogynistic values.
4. Sally Challen Highlights The Issue Of Coercive Control
As she was released from prison last year after nine years behind bars, Sally Challen made a powerful point about just how many women in the judicable system today are victims of coercive control.
The 65-year-old mum-of-two from Surrey was handed a life sentence after she bludgeoned her husband Richard Challen, 61, to death with a hammer in August 2010 following decades of being controlled and humiliated by him.
But, in a first for the courts, she later walked free, following a high-profile appeal, in which she cited Richard's "coercive control" as a defence.
As she stepped out of prison, Sally poignantly pled: "I met many women in prison who shouldn't be there. Getting an appeal is very difficult. I was turned down on the first attempt. The justice system needs to listen.
"A lot of the problem is that women don't know they're in a relationship of coercive control. It's family, friends and relatives who do see it. Somehow they have to speak to that person and convince them to leave. They don't seem to be able to break that tie. It's a very strong tie and the women are very vulnerable."
While Sally's landmark case was in many ways a victory, and did much to bring coercive control into public consciousness, it also emphasised just how many women are still paying the price for the mental anguish caused by such an ugly form of domestic abuse.
5. Abortion Law Clampdowns Across The US
In the last year, the anti-abortion movement in America has seen a huge surge in support.
The start of 2019 saw nearly 30 states introduce some form of an abortion ban into their legislature, while fifteen penned so-called "heartbeat bills", which sought to ban abortion after as early as six weeks of pregnancy.
In the harshest law yet, Alabama has now outright banned abortions altogether, while an Ohio bill in November ordered doctors to "re-implant ectopic pregnancies" rather than terminate them - despite the fact that doing so is medically impossible, and widely acknowledged to be dangerous. Right then.
(It will come as no surprise that literally everyone who signed the bill was male).
Honestly, the fact that anybody thinks they have the right to police what another woman does with her body will never cease to amaze us.
6. Tracy Brabin Branded A 'Slapper' For Off-Shoulder Dress
Guess what? It turns out still we're not past criticising women for their outfit choices.
Just last month, Labour MP Tracy Brabin was subject to a torrent of abuse after opting to wear a one-shoulder dress in the House of Commons.
The 58-year-old wore the black shoulder-baring ASOS dress to speak in parliament, but was branded a "slag" and a "tart" online for doing so.
One Twitter user asked: "Is this really appropriate attire for parliament?", while others spewed vitriol about the politician's dress choice.
Tracy responded by tweeting: "Sorry I don't have time to reply to all of you commenting on this but I can confirm I'm not....
"A slag, Hungover, A tart, About to breastfeed, A slapper, Drunk, Just been banged over a wheelie bin. Who knew people could get so emotional over a shoulder..."
7. Domestic Violence Killings Reach A Five-Year High
Given that historically three quarters of domestic violence victims have been found to be women, and suspects are predominantly male, the fact that last year killings were reported to have reached a five-year high is deeply harrowing.
According to statistics obtained from 43 police forces by the BBC, 32 more people had died as a result of domestic violence than a year earlier.
At the time, Sandra Horley, the chief executive of the Refuge charity, warned that the findings were "truly horrifying".
"Domestic violence is a national travesty and the biggest issue facing women and girls worldwide," she said. "Now more than ever, violence against women and girls must be taken seriously. But change will not happen without pressure, and we know that women and girls depend on us to keep pushing for action.
"To put it simply, without the necessary action to address violence against women and girls, these appalling statistics are unlikely to be reduced."
8. Women Are Woefully Underrepresented In Awards Season
Another year of award shows has come and gone, and yet again, the blatant lack of female talent being celebrated is hard to ignore.
At the BRITs this year, out of 25 possible nominations in mixed gender categories, only three women got a look in: Mabel, Normani and Miley Cyrus. That's a painful 12 per cent.
Meanwhile, women only got 30 per cent of non acting nominations at the Oscars; and (like every year for the last decade, minus 2018) there were no women put forward in the Best Director category.
The Golden Globes were an equally pitiful affair. Women didn't get any nominations at all for Best Director, Best Screenplay or Best Motion Picture, despite many ranking as popular among critics. Literally zilch.
But it's nothing new, really, considering a woeful four have been nominated in total for Best Director since 2000, in comparison to more than 100 men.
Of course, this short-falling points at a glaring need in both the music and movie industries to champion women at the start of their careers, and give them the break-throughs they deserve.
Currently, only 19 per cent of the artists signed to record labels in the UK are women, as are only 17 per cent of the members of the Directors Guild of America. If that's not a sign that something needs to change, we don't know what is.
9. Woman Prosecuted For Carrying Out FGM In Britain
In a deeply disturbing case that shocked the nation, a 37-year-old woman from Uganda was convicted of performing FGM on her three-year-old daughter in their north London home last year.
One of the biggest issues affecting women across the globe, it is estimated that 68 million women will have undergone or be at serious risk of FGM globally in the 15 years between 2015 and 2030.
FGM is hugely prevelant in Africa, Asia and Latin America - but this was the first conviction for in the United Kingdom. The conviction was described as a "watershed moment" in tackling the issue, but, sadly, it also highlighted all too powerfully how widespread the barbaric practice still is today.
"This is not just happening in the developing world," said Nahla Valji, senior gender adviser in the executive office of the U.N. Secretary-General at the time. "This is happening in the developed world also."
10. Harvey Weinstein Cleared Of Most Serious Rape Charges
While prolific sex offender Harvey Weinstein being charged with two counts of rape was naturally a huge cause for celebration, the result of his trial also left something of a bitter taste.
The disgraced movie mogul was convicted of rape in the third degree and a criminal sex act last month, but a jury chose to clear him of more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, and a case of rape in the first degree.
In total, over 80 women have accused Weinstein of some kind of sexual misconduct and the Miramax boss is said to have reached a $25m (£19.2m) settlement in civil cases with over 30 women out of court.
Taking to social media as Weinstein's verdict was revealed, one person echoed our thoughts as they wrote: "Why did it take 90+ sexual assault cases/accusations to get 2 guilty verdicts on Harvey Weinstein?????? We have not come far enough and we need to do better."
Featured Image Credit: PA/ ITV/ UK Parliament
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read