The fight for equality in Wales
I have been vocal at promoting equality, whether on behalf of WASPI women in Swansea, or constituents who have been victims of revenge porn, to women at work and in politics.
The equalisation of the pension age for this group of women is not fair. In the era in which they worked, many were responsible for the children and had to undermine their career; they had lower wages and did not make allowances for their pensions. Some have since suffered divorce or a break up, and many of those who come to me in Swansea are becoming impoverished because of this change. It is all very well imagining a future utopian world where there is equal opportunity that justifies an equal pension age, but that is not what has happened to these women. It is quite wrong to say that this issue is just about how they were told about the changes and I am in contact with WASPI women in Swansea and raising their cases.
Through a Private Member’s Bill I called for the government to put new laws in place to make the distribution of explicit images without consent a specific criminal offence. This was taken up by the government, but has since been left, so more work is still needed.
Conviction for harassment requires at least two offences, but most cases consist of a malicious boyfriend uploading one video [or photo] of a former girlfriend to inflict permanent and growing misery on her.
Existing laws mean at most a six-month sentence, which means three months in jail for what amounts to a vile case of sexual abuse. The government must act now to legislate to punish these sex offenders, deter others and stamp out this vile epidemic.”
A maximum 14-year sentence can be handed down if photos are uploaded in an attempt to force someone into sexual activity, but currently only 8 out of 43 forces in the UK collect data about revenge porn.
Of 149 victims of revenge porn to come forward in the last 18 months, only six charges were brought, which has lead to some campaigners arguing new laws are unnecessary. But, says Geraint, victims will feel more able to speak out if they know laws to protect them are in place – comparing their predicament to the low rape conviction rate in the UK.
I think governments should act now rather than waiting for another one to come in. Perpetrators should realise time is ticking – and they will be charged.
"It's all very well imagining this utopian world where everything is equal, but this is not the society these women have been brought up in" Geraint Davies