Esther McVie and the Rape Clause: Adding Lies and Insults to Traumatic Assault

I really can’t let this go without comment. In one of the history books I’ve got here at home, there’s an observation that you can tell how civilised a culture is by how high the status of women is. I think it’s in part of the book discussing the ancient Egyptians, where the status of women was very high for the ancient world. If that’s the case, then Esther McVile and the Tories are dragging us back into real barbarism.

McVile was before the Scots parliament this week to give her testimony regarding child benefit, and the infamous ‘rape clause’. You can only receive child benefit for two children, but it is available for rape victims, provided they can show that their third child was conceived through rape. This in itself is immensely controversial, and Ruth Davidson, the head of the Tories in Scotland, briefly earned herself the soubriquet ‘Rape Clause Ruth’ after she got up on her hind legs to justify the rape clause. That was repulsive enough. Now the Tories have gone even lower and got Esther McVie to try to defend the indefensible.

And what did the Wicked Witch of the Wirral say? That the rape clause offered victims the chance to talk about their assault, and offered them ‘double support’.

It does no such thing. Everything about the modern Job Centre interview is design to humiliate, bully and degrade the prospective claimant. It’s all part of Thatcher’s sacred Victorian values. She followed the ‘less eligibility’ ideology of the workhouse, in which claiming benefits was to be made so harsh and degrading that only the very desperate would willingly go on them.

As for the psychological harm rape does, I know very little about it. But I do know that it leaves victims traumatised and mentally scarred. They may irrationally blame themselves, and definitely do not want to relive the experience over and over again. I can remember watching a documentary on Channel 4 about new advances in neuroscience and mental health, which included a piece about doctors in Canada, who were treating a French Canadian lady. This poor woman was still massively depressed and anxious a year or more after her assault. And it goes without saying that there are any number of rape victims like her. They don’t like talking about their experience, and they feel so deeply ashamed that in general they really don’t want other people knowing about it.

And the DWP is not known for its sensitivity. Like when its wretched servants ask depressives why they haven’t committed suicide yet. No depressed person should be asked this question. And no rape victim should be required to describe the event for an unsympathetic bureaucrat, whose only concern is to find some excuse to sanction their benefits.

One of the many great commenters on Mike’s blog, Aunty1960, posted this about their experience of the way the DWP handles rape claims.

I have witness statements on my After Atos feedback survey from rape and child sex survivors who say they have to recount their ordeal up to ten times every time they are called for an assessment as they have to again go through it with GP social worker, psychiartrist, DWP physiotherapist counsellor etc etc in order to get each bit of paper and supportive documentary evidence.

The assessors are not understanding or supportive and can ask really inappropriate and insensitive questions.

One witness statement says that all the work that has been done over the years has been totally undone because of having to go through the assessments and retell it and relive it everytime. No closure and respect for PTSD triggers, just keep opening the wound over and over again.

Some very inappropriate comments by assessor on women and their sexuality and sexual experiences. Even outright disapproval of a woman being a lesbian and inappropriate comments.

A lot of work undone and lost. and that includes physical ailments where interventions have been completely undone and undermined.

I cannot stand most people most of the time and professionals about sexual abuse and social discrimination and prejudice, Same ideas still there. This just reinforce and compounds it 100 times more.

But McVile’s statement is designed to play to that part of the Tory-voting public, who are fortunate never to have stepped into a jobcentre, at least, not recently. The people, who are prepared to take the Tories comments about their welfare reforms at face value, and swallow all the lies about how they’re not cutting benefits, their simply refocusing them to help people better. The lies that workfare isn’t about giving cheap, subsidised forced labour to big business, including the supermarkets, but about helping people into work by giving them new skills and other such specious rubbish. Quite apart from the morons that believes the lies put out by the Scum, the Heil and the Depress that all benefit claimants are really scroungers, no matter how severe their disability. ‘Cause these papers says so, and they saw that character in a wheelchair running about in Little Britain. Oh yes, and single mothers only have babies to claim the child and other benefits.You can read off the standard Tory attitudes of the people, who will believes McVile’s monstrous, platitudinous lies, almost like ticking boxes in a list.

Not the Scots, however. The day after McVile uttered this bilge, they organised a demonstration against her. Bravo! and maximum respect! McVie is truly vile, along with the rest of the squad running the DWP – Damian Green and his predecessor, Ian Duncan Smith. All of them should be cleaned out and charged with crimes against humanity for their role in manipulating the benefits system to cause the victims of their sanctions to starve to death or commit suicide.

Unfortunately, they’re likely to be rewarded instead. Rape Clause Ruth was in today’s papers because Time magazine has named her one of the 20 most influential women, or at least, influential women in Scotland. Which is enough to have millions of Scots voting SNP because of Nicola Sturgeon. Although I’d rather see named as more influential than Davidson the actress, who played Mary Hen, Rab. C. Nesbit’s long-suffering wife.

Apart from being offensive in itself, McVile’s stupid comments are dangerous because they try to justify a system that is causing people harm. And her words themselves are likely to upset victims of sexual assault and their families. One of the things I’ve learned from being made redundant along with others is that it isn’t just an official action that hurts. It’s also the dull platitudes management offer to try and make it more palatable. I used to be a civil servant years ago, and one day a whole group of us were called in individually to be told we were going to be made redundant. One young lad left in tears. Talking to him afterwards, he told me that it wasn’t the redundancy itself, but the nonsense the manager came out with about the possibility of getting jobs elsewhere in offices in the area. The lad knew that there was no hope of that. The redundancy stung, and what made it all the worse was the smooth assurances made by someone from outside the office to make it all seem better. McVie’s comments are like that, but much worse because of the horrific nature of the crime to which these women have been subjected.

McVie deserves her nickname. She really is vile, and so are the rest of her corrupt and mendacious crew. Get them out, and Labour in!

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4 Responses to “Esther McVie and the Rape Clause: Adding Lies and Insults to Traumatic Assault”

  1. joanna Says:

    Hi Beast you are right victims don’t want to talk about what they have gone through, but I will.

    When I was 14 I was molested in care, when I complained I was summond to a meeting with my parents (who I had only known for 6 months) During that meeting I was threatened with being locked up in a secure unit, needless to say I dropped it.

    On Christmas day of the same year (1985, I was 14) I was sent to my parents for the day, I had no choice.
    At 9pm I started feeling tired and I foolishly went to lay down in the spare bedroom. one minute I wa dozing the next minutemy step father was on top of me. I held my breath trying to stay sill then suddenly my breath was lost as i felt the pain of him in me. in my mind the only thought was this is wrong, repeating over and over again Iwanted to die, even though I didn’t know what he was doing, I knew nothing about sex. ever since then I have though why didn’t I fight him why , why didn’t I??
    I feel like I iam partly responsible, did I send him signals if so how? Before then I knew nothing about sex and since then I feel dead inside, I just wish my body would follow!!!

    Afterwards I don’t even remember going home, or any of the following days, from then on I stopped washing or taking any care of myself, I wore baggy clothes the baggier the better, I am still like that dress wise I mean. ever since then there are certain femine products that I can’t use

    I few months later I tried to kill myself by taking a coctail of pills, when that didn’t work I sprayed body spray into my eyes and stuffed rubbish in my ears. I still regret that I was a Colossal failure Even now I want to die and I feel like that every single day!!!

    • beastrabban Says:

      I am so very, very sorry that this happened to you, Jo. And thank you for your courage in writing about this horrific experience. I am also extremely sorry that as a result of this and some of the other horrors you’ve mentioned going through, you have such low self-esteem and want to die. I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again now: you are a very worthwhile person, with lots going for you. As for giving out signals to your stepfather, I understand that most, if not all, rape victims think this way, even though they’ve done nothing of the kind. You are no exception. The fault was not yours. It was his.

      Like too many other rape victims, you’ve been denied justice, and been forced into terrible depression and self-harm. It’s disgusting what you went through, just as it is disgusting that Tweezer and her foul horde are forcing women like you to go through it again as part of the rape clause in child benefit.

      I despair. Get them out. Just-get them out. They’re too loathsome to continue in office.

      • joanna Says:

        Thank you for your kind words, I have just about calmed down, although this upset me a lot I hope it can in any way help someone. I hope all people who have suffered find some peace in their lives, They deserve it!!!

      • beastrabban Says:

        Great words, Jo! My very best wishes to you and to everyone, who has suffered like you. Love and respect, Beastie.

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