Michael Fabricant is just another violent man who knows perfectly well that threatening a woman with physical violence won’t result in any punishment to him since violence against women is “just a joke”. And, we won’t hold him accountable for such an abusive statement because, hey, he “apologised”.
Let’s be very clear here: Fabricant didn’t just say something silly or ‘off the cuff’. He made a very clear threat which doesn’t need to be followed with actual physical violence. Fabricant knows perfectly well that he doesn’t need to actually intend to carry through the threat; he knows that he can count on several millennia of male violence against women that has silenced women for the threat to be real. This way Fabricant can ‘pretend’ it’s a joke and not something he’d actually do.
It’s just bullshit though. Men say this shit because they actually believe that violence against women isn’t a real crime. As with the “die in a fire” meme, the speaker doesn’t actually have to be planning on setting the specific target on fire for the threat to be real. These aren’t statements are real threats because women are punched in the throat every single day. Women are set on fire, or have their bodies set on fire, every single day. We don’t know if we will be the woman that experiences the violence on this particular day or if we will experience it another day. We just know that male violence against women and girls is endemic and most men don’t give a shit about it. The men who support his apology can pretend that they to won’t ever commit violence against women, even though most of them will be perpetrators. Those who choose to be bystanders and ignore the problem are just as culpable as those who perpetrate it.
Men who did give a shit would be calling out Fabricant right now. They wouldn’t just be asking for an apology. They would be demanding he be suspended from his party pending a formal review and Fabricant undertaking mandatory training on violence against women via either a national or local specialist service such as Women’s Aid or Ending Victimisation and Abuse. They would be calling for all politicians to undergo specialist training before being allowed to vote on services on violence against women and girls. They wouldn’t be labelling Fabricant’s threat a ‘joke’ or ignoring.
Men who actually give a shit about violence against women and girls should be spending tonight writing letters to Fabricant, his party and his constituents office making their anger clear. They would be writing letters to editors or publishing articles on why this is a real threat of violence against women.
They wouldn’t be minimising Fabricant’s threat.