Protest organiser Ceris Aston: “we’re not giving up” in campaign against Tory rape clause
CAMPAIGNERS WILL RALLY in George Square this Thursday [April 13] from 6pm to condemn the Tory rape clause policy and cuts to tax credit support for families with more that two children.
Women’s and feminist organisations have been at the forefront of opposing the attacks on social security, warning that the new policies are inhumane and will force thousands more parents and children into poverty.
The rape clause, requiring those who had a child as a result of rape to apply through a bureaucratic exemption process, has caused particular outcry – and numerous support groups in Scotland and Wales have refused to comply with the new system as a result.
Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA), Engender and Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS) have said that the policy will result in women having to relive previous trauma or face being penalised financially. Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss has led parliamentary criticism of the plan at Westminster, however the Tory Government has so far refused to back down.
“Scotland’s response so far has been incredible, but we can’t stop now. Join us, raise your voice and let’s tell the UK Government we’re not giving up.” Ceris Aston
Ceris Aston, who is helping to organise the protest, told CommonSpace: “Last week the UK Government introduced a policy that will make women choose between poverty and disclosing – potentially for the first time ever – that they were raped. That’s no choice.
“We can’t let this shameful policy slip off the radar. Welfare is supposed to be a safety net that catches people when they fall, not a tool for punishment and for retraumatising women. Life is unpredictable; people die, people lose their jobs, people leave. Any benefits system that requires you to accurately predict the details of your finances for 18 or more years before you have a child is totally unworkable, and serves only to punish women and their children and push them into poverty.
“The rape clause is a callous addition to an already cruel policy. No woman should have to prove rape to be able to access financial support – it is outrageous and it’s telling that women’s organisations across Scotland are having nothing to do with it.
“Scotland’s response so far has been incredible, but we can’t stop now. Join us, raise your voice and let’s tell the UK Government we’re not giving up.”
— Brenna (@brennajessie_) April 9, 2017
Scotland’s minister for social security Jeane Freeman has described the policy changes as a “fundamental violation of human rights”. Meanwhile the Scottish Tories have come under pressure for defending the rape clause policy as “sensitive”.
The protest event has set up a Facebook event page to follow developments ahead of the rally. It has also been endorsed by Glasgow Women’s Aid and feminist campaign organisation Engender.
Picture courtesy of Alison Thewliss MP
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