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Women and austerity – scrap the ‘rape clause’

The austerity measures implemented since 2010 have disproportionately affected women.
Specialist services for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence have been decimated, cutting off lifelines for many. Now, as a supposed protection against their vicious benefit cuts, the Tories have implemented a ‘rape clause’.
This is an exception allowing benefits to be claimed for more than two children if the third is a product of rape – but only if the woman can ‘prove’ this is the case. This policy amplifies a culture which places blame and suspicion onto victims.
Tackling violence against women must include fully funding services that both support victims and survivors and work on preventative educational measures. It should mean a mass programme to build affordable social housing, decent wages and a universal benefit system so that those experiencing violence can be economically independent and more able to leave violent relationships.
In Yorkshire, Socialist Party members have been organising with others under the banner of ‘Women’s Lives Matter’. More than 50 activists have been involved during the election campaign, particularly focussing on the Tory rape clause.
Corbyn has said a government under his leadership would repeal the rape clause. We have asked all Corbyn-supporting MPs to make statements and to attend our demonstration on 2 June. Get involved – #scrapthetoryrapeclause
Amy Cousens