SNP’s Mhairi Black reveals details of online insults she faces daily

Mhairi Black. Picture: Jane Barlow
Mhairi Black. Picture: Jane Barlow

The SNP’s Mhairi Black has revealed the scale of misogynistic abuse she faces online, repeating in Parliament insults aimed at her, which include the C-word.

The Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP said she felt uncomfortable reading them out, but warned some people felt “comfortable flinging these words around every day”.

She added when such language was left unchallenged and was normalised it “creates an environment that allows women to be abused”.

Ms Black’s speech came during a Westminster Hall debate in which calls were raised for misogyny to be treated as a hate crime.

Labour’s Mel Onn urged the Government to formally extend the five strands of centrally monitored hate crime to include misogyny and provide for appropriate reflective sentencing.

Speaking during the debate, Ms Black explained how she is regularly called a “wee boy” and told she wears her dad’s suits - adding her and her pals “have a laugh” about this level of insults.

But she said: “I struggle to see any joke in being systematically called a dyke, a rug muncher ... I’ve been told you can’t put lipstick on a pig, let the dirty b**h each s**t and die.

“I could soften some of this by talking about the C-word, but the reality is there is no softening when you’re targeted with these words and you’re left reading them on my screen every day, day in, day out ... there is no softening just how sexualised and misogynistic the abuse is.”

Ms Black added: “I’ve been assured multiple times that I don’t have to worry because I am so ugly that no-one would want to rape me. All of these insults have been tailored to me because I am a woman.”

The MP also referred to US President Donald Trump after noting how she regularly sees men on Facebook talking about “getting p**sy”, adding: “Should we really actually be expecting any better, given the man sitting in the Oval Office thinks it’s OK to grab a woman by the p**sy and face no consequences?”

She added there needed to be reflection on what happens in Parliament, with the “full extent of abuse and danger” women face on a daily basis only beginning to be realised.

Ms Black said: “Only a few weeks ago I was physically pressed up against a Member (of Parliament) in the voting lobby who is accused of sexual misconduct because there’s so little room.

“Now, I don’t think that’s normal and I think it’s fair to say that’s something maybe that we should be looking at - something we should be talking about - because I’m blessed in that I have the same right and influence as any other elected man in this place, but what about all the female staff in here who don’t?”

Ms Black later noted she has been “very unwell” recently and unable to travel to vote, saying she had received abuse after Scottish Labour MPs Ian Murray (Edinburgh South) and Paul Sweeney (Glasgow North East) suggested she should turn up for work more often.

She accused the pair of continuing to “knowingly misrepresent and cause abuse”, adding: “Judging by the House of Commons code of conduct, it qualifies as bullying - as it would in any other workplace.”

Opening the debate, Ms Onn said the topic had provoked a backlash of “vile fury” that she was a man hater, had no sense of humour and should learn to take a compliment.

She said: “Today’s society is awash with misogynistic acts such as groping, sexual comments, upskirting, revenge porn, sexual remarks, leering, stalking and as the nature of harassment changes so must the laws which govern it because there are currently too many incidents not meeting the criteria for assault, discrimination or public order offences.”

Tory Philip Davies (Shipley) asked if misandry should also be a hate crime in exactly the same way, adding: “If she doesn’t could she explain why she thinks there should be one rule for one and one rule for the other?”

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