Semina Halliwell, a rape victim, who at the tender age of just 12, took her own life. A young girl with autism; whose condition was both a blessing and curse, for to feel everything so very deeply, may have led Semina to end her life directly after yet another police interview failed to take forward her complaint and act. You could say, he raped her once, society raped her many times…
This is not an easy story to tell but tell it I must, and whilst writing this piece, my heart broke a little more each day. Semina, a year 7 pupil at Stanley High School in Southport and following a severe episode of self-harm, broke down and confessed to her mother that she had been groomed on Snapchat by an older boy at her school and that this boy had then raped her.
As the sun was getting ready to rise over the London skyline, I was over two hundred miles north trudging through the dark bleak rainy early morning of Yorkshire. A very typical day in the metropolis was dawning, but slowly, and surely, many angry women, and some male allies were making their way to the city. My journey was long, but the warm flask of tea and plenty of Tunnock’s Tea cakes made my squashed position next to the coach toilet more bearable.
My arrival in London was delayed due to road closures, but my enthusiasm for the protest spurred me on. As I approached Petty France the usual sights and sounds of the city were subdued and paled into significance by the thronging, banner waving and chanting of over one hundred and sixty beautiful women’s voices. We had converged together, with passion and conviction, to protest the MOJ’s decision to allow men to self ID into women’s prison. It is time for the MOJ and politicians to listen. It is time for the government to act. It is time to effect change.
Drink spiking is nothing new, it’s been around for some time. Even when I was a teenager, many years ago, there was an attempt to spike me twice. We are talking 1980s here. The first time, I was seventeen. My best friend (I’ll call her Kim) and I left a bar, (in those days no one ever questioned your age) and an open-top sports car pulled along-side us. Two guys shouted “hello” and asked us to jump in. I replied, with a short “no”. However, Kim reassured me, that she knew them, and all was well. We hopped in and sped off, arriving at a seafront luxury apartment just a few minutes later. Once inside, I was immediately drawn to the floor to ceiling, sliding glass doors that opened to a huge balcony. I could hear the sound of drinks being poured behind me, but I was busy gazing out across the sea, watching the flickering lights dance upon the water, completely in awe of the stunning view. “How could such young men afford such an expensive penthouse apartment, I wondered?”
Surrogate motherhood arrangements have increased in recent years and yet for many, the practice remains deeply controversial. The idea of being carried in another women’s womb is for many children, more disruptive than the idea of not being genetically related.
While there are, as I believe the majority of people would agree, very evident psychological issues which desperately need to be addressed in relation to surrogacy, research is scant and extremely limited. Much of the “evidence” is anecdotal and based on small samples sizes. Indeed, it was difficult to find much actually written on the subject, certainly with any sort of focus on the impact of the child.
It is shocking to think that the best interests of the child have been so under researched and neglected in debates surrounding the ethics of surrogacy. After all, the primary concern in all adoption and custody decisions is always the welfare of the child, so then, why not in the cases of surrogacy? The crux of the matter is that surrogacy undermines individual flourishing and may, it seems, even perpetrate needless emotional suffering.
On Saturday 3rd July 2021, The Northern Radfem Network allied with the Manchester Feminist Network, Make More Noise and Yes Matters UK, to march in demonstration against male violence in all its forms.
At least 74 women in the UK, have been killed by men, so far in 2021, including Sarah Everard who was murdered on 3rd March 2021.