Originally posted on Karen Ingala Smith:
Yesterday I went to a meeting about men’s violence against women and girls in London. Access to the meeting room was initially difficult because when I entered the building and told the person on reception that I was here for the ‘Violence Against Women and Girls Meeting’ in Room X, she told me that the room was booked for something else. Eventually she told me that the room was booked for the ‘fourth meeting’. Could someone have asked to book a room for a ‘vawg meeting’ and been misheard, I suggested. Yes, of course they could, it transpired. I hate how vawg has become a word and this was an unwelcome reminder. At the start of the meeting, I started doing a tally about how many times the word ‘vawg’ was used. I almost immediately forgot because the actual subject matter demanded full attention and constructive engagement.
I hate how vawg has become a word because it allows users to disconnect from VIOLENCE against WOMEN and GIRLS. It hides the violence. If we who are engaged in raising awareness about men’s violence against women and girls as a step towards ending men’s violence against women and girls, want to raise awareness, how are we doing this if we allow the very words to be erased? Never more so when even ‘vawg’ is misheard and becomes ‘fourth’.
I hate how vawg has become a word though I celebrate that as a concept it has entered the mainstream because it connects the different forms of men’s violence against women and girls under patriarchy: rape, sexual violence, domestic violence, femicide, FGM, prostitution, pornography and other harmful practices.