Bidisha’s Thought For The Day: Men Are Rapists

Posted: April 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

Here is Bidisha’s latest thought for the day: it is very similar to all her other thoughts. I am reposting the article in full as it is mercifully short:

‘Have you ever wondered what happens inside Birmingham magistrates court? Well, speculate no more. This week, West Midlands police took to Twitter like … well, like underemployed pen-pushers who could be working on increasing the rape conviction, but are Tweeting instead.

I’d imagined that the combination of local court plus Twitter would be a marriage of inanity. I was wrong. It turned out that the 24-hour “tweet-a-thon” was both funny and sad. The life it showed is not a rich tapestry, but the repetitive bottom two inches of a threadbare rug: the thieves, the liars, the chancers, the sad, the desperate. There’s the woman who stole cucumbers and flour from a shop (cucumber fritters?), the guy who stole electric fans, and the woman who stole mascara and hid it in her bra.

The West Midlands “tweet-a-thon” is a creative reaction to the decline in newspaper reporting of court proceedings, but I don’t think it should be a police priority. There are surely other areas they should be focusing on. My last two encounters with the police went like this: a knock at the door late in the evening. A nice officer: “Hello, nothing to worry about. We’ve had a call from a woman in distress from around this area and all we know is that it’s a dark-coloured front door.” Another knock months later. A brusque officer to my mother: “We’ve had a call from a woman in distress with an Asian name. Who else lives here? Do you have a daughter? Does she know how to speak English?”

Guess what, I do! And whoever this woman in distress is, cops, you’d better get the hell off Twitter and find her’


Her first question struck me most: have you ever wondered what happens inside Birmingham magistrates court? Because my answer is no. But then I don’t need to because I have spent two days there, which rate amongst some of the most unpleasant days of my life.

I was at magistrates court in Birmingham a long time ago now, standing as a witness in a case of a contravention of the ‘harassment’ laws of 1997, whereby my ex boyfriend had broken an ‘injunction’ prohibiting him from coming near me or my house. This injunction had been implemented after he had been stalking me, and also had broken into my house and assaulted me (for which he had been convicted in crown court and fined).

Bidisha does not acknowledge here that magistrates courts try different kinds of offences from crown court, and that ‘rapists’ would not be at a magistrates court, and neither would the officers who were working on rape cases. That’s why, the list of crimes she cites, read like

‘the repetitive bottom two inches of a threadbare rug: the thieves, the liars, the chancers, the sad, the desperate.’

This is one of the most condescending, middle class, ivory tower insulting sentences I have seen in the Guardian for a long time! How awful it must be to be amongst the ‘bottom two inches’ of society. As people who end up in the magistrates court are. As I was myself. For two horrible days. Facing my attacker in the witness box, at the coffee machine, in the waiting room.

Bidisha is making out that police officers are hanging around the magistrates court, instead of being out there, ‘fighting crime’, catching the ‘baddies’, like they would in the cartoon world Bidisha seems to inhabit. When in fact, police have to attend court and give statements and look after witnesses, and do paperwork, because the people who pass through the doors of the magistrates court, matter, just as the exciting, nasty, cartoon baddies matter, the important ones that get done for ‘proper’ ‘criminal’ crimes like rape. So they may aswell make the effort to document some of the experiences of those people. To show a world they exist, a world that actually probably never ‘wonders’ what goes on inside Birmingham magistrates court.

Bidisha also makes reference to police officers coming to her door, after women have called them ‘in distress’. Now I don’t know for sure, but it is most likely those women were involved in domestic violence/domestic disputes. They probably were not in the midst of being raped, as mostly, it would be hard to make a call whilst being raped I should think.

And, as feminists often present it, so Bidisha does too, it sometimes seems as if ‘domestic violence’ is the boring, poor relation to ‘rape’ with its exciting one-syllable name, and all the connotations of sex and serial killers that go with it. The police get called out to domestic violence cases all the time. When I was in Birmingham magistrates court, my attacker’s lawyer asked me over and over why I called the police so many times on one particular evening? He made out I was a fantasist, an attention-seeker, wasting police time. I remember the police in the magistrates court when I was there. They were in some ways, a comforting presence,  in comparison to the wigged-up lawyers and suited and booted solicitors. That sounds strange now, that I am back in the ‘real world’ where I don’t have to deal with the legal system. But at the time, compared to the man who had assaulted me, and the judicial system that judged him, and me, the police were my link to the everyday, to normality.

I think Bidisha holds twitter in the same contempt she does ‘rapists’ and the ‘cops’ and the ‘bottom two inches’ of society, who find themselves in Birmingham magistrates court. Because she thinks they all represent the uncultured, dumbed-down, patriarchal world that she is somehow superior to, and separate from, but also oppressed by. She has a very limited presence on twitter, and does not follow anyone there. Maybe she has no friends?

And The Guardian pays Bidisha to write this shit. I don’t know why. Maybe it thinks she is a provocative, controversial figure. I think she is just a sour, embittered woman. Please RT.

  1. splinteredsunrise says:

    Even for the Graun and even for Bidisha… I mean, the level of condescension there is incredible. Magistrates’ courts tend to be full of people like you and me, but they may as well be space aliens as far as Bidisha is concerned.

    Oh yes, and a complete failure to grasp that the criminal justice system deals with all sorts of offences. Instead, we’ve got a deadbeat court bureaucracy that’s wasting its time dealing with speeding or shoplifting or burglary, and therefore *cough, mumble* zillions of rapists are roaming the streets unpunished!

    I would suggest Bidisha is in danger of becoming a parody, but she did that long ago.

  2. Rachael says:

    TBH, I wouldn’t say that I see much misandry coming through in her article, but what I do see is some rather middle class pomposity and the now tiresome opinion that because an organisation makes some use of social media that means they’re wasting their time online instead of doing their jobs.

    • HI Rachael I think you are right technically speaking.I just know that when she talks about ‘rape convictions’ and rapists and ‘women in distress’ it all feeds into her discourse of hating on men overall. But yes this article is more about the middle class contempt for people who end up in magistrate’s courts.

  3. I won’t even be subtle in my feelings about Bidisha – a completely shit person with a shit ideology. Basically, a younger Julie Bindel. The first column I ever saw from Bidisha was one in which she lionized the fact that the UK “extreme porn” law might actually put artists in jail for making the wrong kinds of images. It really confirmed to me just how much the Guardian puts its reputation behind a deeply fascist strain of feminism.

  4. MichaelWStory says:

    Bidisha is just the G’s equivalent of Littlejohn, overblowing some trivial irritation into another tired, lazy rant. They do go in for a lot of that sort of thing over there, viz. an article describing the Tate Modern’s public disabled access ramp refurbishment which required wheelchair users to enter via a side door. The title? “END THIS ARTS APARTHEID”


  5. Sarah AB says:

    I don’t understand her problem with her recent encounters with the police. In the first case, they must immediately have realized this wasn’t the address they wanted and have been anxious to reassure her that nothing had, for example, happened to a relative. In the second case, the more challenging approach seems ok, given that her mother *might* have had something to do with the case they were investigating.

    • I think she is suggesting the police are a) incompetent and b) racist/sexist

      She is making out the police are not tackling ‘rape’ crime adequately because they don’t care about women. But like I said, they were probably investigating dv cases anyway, not rape. So she is presenting a rather skewed picture

      • MichaelWStory says:

        One of the ways to beat the Daily Mail trolls when they do this kind of thing is to critique them on their own terms. eg If someone writes that a Islington council have banned Christmas again, you respond by saying that you’re sick of people running this great country down and that by complaining all the time they are being unpatriotic. It’s like giving a bad scifi robot a logical paradox!

        What are the Bidisha cheat codes?

  6. Todd says:

    “And The Guardian pays Bidisha to write this shit. I don’t know why. Maybe it thinks she is a provocative, controversial figure. I think she is just a sour, embittered woman.”

    Quite possibly but this does rather come across as jealousy. You do, after all, seem like someone who would very much like to be seen as a “provocative, controversial figure” herself. I wish you the best of luck in your crusade but please at least be honest.

  7. kardhore says:

    This new feminism is just old fashioned middle class snobbery,for instance it finds lap dancing offensive – working class (mostly) women dancing for a male audience,but not ‘Burlesque’ – middle class women dancing for a ‘discerning’ middle class male/female audience. It also turns its nose up at such trivial matters as ‘vajazzling’ – again working class women. What it dislikes is percieved vulgarity,and alot of its concerns are petty. Bidisha is like some precious hyper sensitive sixth former begging you make some ever so slightly offensive remark so she can unleash her ‘theories’ on you. And as for her disregard for those ‘bottom layers’,that probably comes naturally to her,with her private education,God I hate seeing her smirking face in the Guardian every saturday,no actually I enjoy it because her articles are so hysterical! Todays however proved more so than most,it was about how she overheard some guys in a lift comment on how the automated female voice that announced floors sounded ‘matronly’. This perfectly naive comment was to Bidisha another example of ‘casual misogyny’! Why she is given so much exposure is baffling,but like michael said above like a feminist Richard Littlejohn.

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