I feel divided about the news that Nottinghamshire, UK, police will start treating misogynist acts as hate crimes. I’ve noticed that glaring absence of the inclusion of misogyny in our current US hate crime legislation. I know the omission is deliberate, because misogyny is such a daily indulgence for men that they would never support classifying misogynistic acts as hate crimes.
BUT I also do not support any measure that extends the reach of the state into our personal lives, and that creates any new crimes. The effect is just that more people will end up in the prison-industrial complex, and I guarantee you, men will NOT learn how to treat women like humans in prison.
Also, who do you honestly think will suffer consequences under such a law? We all know it will be the poor, the mentally ill, and people of color who will be targeted.
We also know that in the US, unlike the UK, hate crimes laws go both ways. There have actually been Black people charged with hate crimes against whites, and queer people charged with hate crimes against straights. The law is used to protect the status quo, not disrupt it, and so all the groups who traditionally could count on the justice system to side with them will continue to experience that privilege. That would look like men accusing women of a gender-based hate crime if they speak the truth of their experiences under patriarchy.
So yeah, I wish misogyny, sexual harassment, and sexual assault were taken more seriously. But I don’t want or expect state violence to be the appropriate means to that end.