People Are Donating To Women's Charities After An MP Tried To Block A Domestic Violence Bill

    During Friday's Commons debate on the Istanbul Convention, which seeks to tackle violence against women, Philip Davies claimed legislation discriminated against men.

    Philip Davies

    People are donating to charities that support victims of domestic violence and abuse in response to Tory MP Philip Davies' attempt to block a vote on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on Friday.

    The convention is a groundbreaking legal framework, recognised by the British government in 2012 but never fully brought into UK law, that seeks to tackle violence against women by protecting funds for support such as refuges and educating men and women on healthy relationships.

    Just given £50, enough for a woman to have a session of specialist counselling. P.D. is an ignorant piece

    In a 78-minute speech during a Commons debate on a SNP MP's proposed bill to ratify the convention, Davies said he could not support the law because he found it discriminatory against men, prompting outrage from many who noted that the overwhelming majority of victims of gender-motivated violence are women.

    The MP was accused of "filibustering" in order to block a vote on the bill, which the government ultimately backed after MPs supported it 135-2.

    In response, journalist Eva Wiseman suggested people donate to organisations supporting victims of violence, such as domestic violence charity Refuge or Nia, which provides services to end violence against women and children.

    Many women replied saying they had donated.

    Following Wiseman's tweet on Friday, a spokesperson for Nia tweeted that it had received a surge in donations.

    Nia CEO Karen Ingala Smith confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the charity saw an increase in donations following the debate.

    "We're very grateful for support from anyone at any time," she said. "It is getting harder and harder for charities supporting women and girls to keep going but we're needed and wanted as much as ever."

    Ingala Smith said Davies must be "badly informed, has poor comprehension abilities or is a disingenuous sexist misogynist, perhaps all three," to have presented the argument he did on Friday.

    "Anyone with an informed understanding of sexual and domestic violence knows that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators and women are disproportionately victimised," she added.

    Rosie Bayman was among those who donated to Refuge in response to Davies' speech.

    "I felt as though he was getting a kick out of winding up people who really care about this stuff, so I saw Eva Wiseman's tweet about donating and thought, Great, instead of getting wound up, I'll do that," Bayman told BuzzFeed News.

    "It was really wonderful to see others donating too, and the charity saying that they'd had a surge in donations.

    "I'm bedbound with ME/CFS so I can't always get involved with causes in the way that I'd like, but I do believe that you can make a difference from your bed."

    HUGE thank you everyone for the donations coming though this afternoon - which might just have something to do with…

    Bayman said it was "outrageous" that Davies attempted to block the bill when statistics show violence is primarily perpetrated by men against women. On average, two women in England and Wales are killed every week by a current or former male partner, according to Women’s Aid.

    "That's not to say that no harm is ever done to men in this way, but if he really believes in that particular issue, he should be constructive and start his own campaign or bill, not try to destroy this one," she said.

    Bayman also emailed Davies to tell him she had donated to Refuge on his behalf, but believed the response she had received did not address her concerns. "He asked me to tell him which parts of his speech I'd disagreed with, when in fact I hadn't told him I'd disagreed at all," she said.

    I have done it! Donated to Refuge & emailed Philip Davies (with pics) to thank him. If you do it too you'll feel wo…

    Emilia O'Carroll set up a regular donation to Refuge after feeling outraged by Davies' actions on Friday.

    "I was furious when I read about Philip Davies’ attempt to block the ratification of a law to end violence against women last week, even more so when I googled him and learnt about his disturbing anti-feminist history," O'Carroll said.

    "Suggestions from friends to email him resulted in nothing but patronising or passive-aggressive responses. Instead of wasting my time trying to engage him in conversation, I donated to Refuge and will be setting up a regular donation from now on."

    She added: "Whilst I sadly can’t do anything to prevent MPs like Davies from standing up in parliament to maliciously derail a debate with weak, false, or unsubstantiated arguments, I can provide direct support to the very services, and by extension victims, this government is failing to support."

    Following Donald Trump's US election win in November, singer Katy Perry donated $10,000 to women's reproductive health charity Planned Parenthood after the president-elect threatened to defund the charity.

    Many more followed suit, making the donations in the name of vice president-elect Mike Pence, who led the campaign's anti-abortion ticket. This meant Pence was inundated with certificates showing his support for Planned Parenthood.

    Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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