The more progressive we purport to become, the more regressive we’ve become as far as women’s rights are concerned, says Darren Grimes

We in this country like to present ourselves as a better way of life, we’re tolerant, progressive and liberal-minded

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We in this country like to present ourselves as a better way of life, we’re tolerant, progressive and liberal-minded, unlike some states around the world, we treat women in the same way we treat men. Actually no, we like to think we prioritise the protection of women in a way in which we don’t prioritise men.

We see campaigns warning men not to stare, we hear about the threat of mansplaining and the #MeToo campaign highlighted a predacious abuse of power. The world’s good and great made their voices known online and on our steets that this cannot continue, that no girls and women should ever face such things ever again.

But I put it to you that in many respects, the more progressive, liberal and tolerant we purport to become, the more regressive we’ve become as far as women’s rights are concerned. You see, if you’re not the right sort of woman, then to hell with your protections.

Women who argue that biological men, who simply self-ID as a woman, shouldn’t be allowed into sex-segregated spaces like changing rooms and women’s refuges. Some of them domestic abuse survivors themselves. Fair enough you might think. Not so. These women can lose their jobs, and incomes and even face death threats. You see, we like women, but only if they know their place in the 2022 identity pecking order.

Being the ‘wrong kind of woman’ is perhaps exemplified in a report out this week. The Telford inquiry revealed case after case of rapes and abuse of over one thousand, I repeat, over one thousand, of young women over decades. It sounds like it should be part of a disturbing Netflix drama, not day-to-day life in liberal Brtiain. How could it happen here? We place the protection of women and girls above all else, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.

When primarily working-class girls asked for help, a brave act in and of itself, the authorities, social workers, schools, councils and even police officers turned the other cheek. One of the survivors said they were dismissed as “child prostitutes.

Whilst Westminster and others tweeted #MeToo to show us just how virtuous they are, officials ignored the destruction of the lives of women without platforms in parliament or polite society. Again, these women ought to have known their place in the identity pecking order, both trans and ethnic minorities are above women in our new intolerance.

A girl of 12 was repeated raped, only hours after police had ignored her begging for help in what has been described by Maggie Oliver, a former detective constable with Greater Manchester Police, as a case that is ‘not unique’. I tell you honestly and with all sincerity, it turns my stomach and breaks my heart.

So these girls won’t see protests on the streets for them, it would be too politically insensitive to do so, they might be accused of racism. These girls won’t see social media hashtags for them, it may stir up racial tensions. These girls won’t hear of how this will never happen again, because heaven forfend somebody not invite me back to their candlelit supper or unfollow me on Twitter or Instagram.

And this my friends is the consequence of political correctness in Britain, it stifles speech and debate and leads to the creation of authorities that feel too afraid to do their damn jobs and protect society's most vulnerable groups.

I’m sorry, but the fact that in this country we had councils and police forces that turned a blind eye to the sexual exploitation of vulnerable white girls, for fear of the accusation of ‘racism’, should be viewed as a national scandal. Heads should be rolling. Instead? Silence.

On Thursday calls for a public inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Oldham were defeated, even now, given all that we eventually found out, it’s still considered too uncomfortable a conversation to have.

In any genuinely liberal and tolerant society, there wouldn’t be fear of being accused of transphobia or racism when it comes to seeking conversations and concerns about the protection of women and girls.

We need to push back against this culture of political correctness and fear of saying the wrong thing, it means nothing is said, or heard at all. And as we hear arguments during the Tory leadership campaign about maternity legislation stripped of the words ‘mother’ and ‘woman’, perhaps misogyny is the one acceptable form of intolerance remaining, I’d like to see a pushback before we usher in an age in which certain groups matter more than others.