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It is not feminism as we know or understand it. Yet it is obviously something, it exists.

During the Scottish Government Coronavirus press conference on Tuesday 31st March, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced an additional £1.5 million in funding to Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland to enable them to deal with the reported increase in domestic abuse and sexual violence that is an additional concern during the Covid 19 social distancing and isolation period. This announcement was welcomed by many, however the responses from the men who self-identify as “protectors of women and girls” were notable.

Stuart Campbell, blogger, wrote: “I see Rape Crisis Scotland have received their reward” (@RevStu), to which one man responded: “It’s so blatant, and, I suspect, intended to be. ‘Do what we tell you and you’ll get a payoff’”(@andrewgmorton)

Grouseblogger, blogger chimed in with: “Well done Rape Crisis Scotland (Your pal, SNP).’ (@Grouse_Beater). The responses to him included one from vengeance obsessed and pitchfork wielding youtuber Mark Hirst declaring Rape Crisis Scotland are “a sham and propaganda front for the FM and her close pals in the Labour party” (@Documark).

Notably, Mark Hirst recently posted a video on YouTube explaining to the women complainers in the Alex Salmond trial that their legally protected anonymity “will not be continued”. Following the culmination of this trial Rape Crisis Scotland did something that, according to this collective, they are not entitled to do, they gave voice to the women complainers’ response to the verdict. Craig Murray, a storyteller blogger, posted blogs and tweets casting aspersions on the funding of Rape Crisis Scotland, tweets that could be questioned under Contempt of Court in relation to the journalistic guidelines surrounding Jigsaw Identification. For this reason, I will not quote them in this piece.

Of course it is not surprising to read disparaging comments from men in relation to women and rape, and this is but a small selection of the comments I have seen, yet a number of these men do like to present themselves as “protectors of women and girls”. Apparently paternalism is the new feminism, and, as we have seen in the recent long years on Scottish Twitter, feminism is best defined by a clan of paternalistic macho men. These macho men would have us believe increased funding for Rape Crisis Scotland and Women’s Aid is a dirty money reward, and that the money goes into the pockets of individuals as some sort of bonus.

It is as if they are so utterly consumed by denial that Scottish men treat Scottish women in such horrendous and appalling ways that these services need to exist, that these men are driven to concoct a wild conspiracy about why the funding is being allocated. It couldn’t possibly be about the abusive and violent behaviour of men, because men are good, men are right, men are exonerated, men are entitled to respect. It is as if the very existence of these organisations frightens them, because their existence shows that men can also be violent and abusive, and these men want to carry on with their macho fantasy. No, it must be about corruption, collusion, conspiracy and personal reward. It must be about women’s age-old status as *checks notes* “liars”, “witches”, “bitches”, “sluts”, “whores”, and *checks notes again* “filth”.

The very idea that funding intended to provide support to victims of male violence at a time when women are at much greater risk than they were even two weeks ago, is a “reward” illustrates the depth of misogyny at play. The real reward to this society would be the eradication of the systemic misogyny that has been fully on display in Scotland in recent weeks, and the eradication of the misogyny that traumatises women every single day..

We are left to wonder why these men are opposed to funding services that support and protect women and girls, and it is fair to conclude that they prefer the comfort of that macho, paternalistic, system, and that is very telling.

By Suzanne Russell

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