Women and men are speaking out about abuse – is this the end of the patriarchy?

Photograph: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Pragna Patel speaking in the Guardian today looking at In the wake of the Weinstein allegations, claims of sexual abuse and harassment have spread to the theatre, the BBC, parliament and beyond. But does this remarkable show of solidarity and strength really mark a turning point?

Pragna Patel, director of Southall Black Sisters, says this moment is certainly important. “The problem is not women coming forward but how institutions respond to that and we still have a long way to go in terms of ensuring there are the resources, including women’s organisations that can effectively support women through quite traumatic experiences. Many women’s organisations are closing or facing closure due to cutbacks. I’m particularly concerned about black and minority women who live in some of the most marginalised, hard-to-reach communities, where sexual harassment and sexual violence is still very much taboo. They particularly need to come forward, but the specialist organisations for BAME women are closing at an alarming rate due to lack of funds. So it’s a really contradictory situation in which we find ourselves – a blow for patriarchy but it’s not going to be the nail in the coffin until the state also gives commitment to providing the resources needed to ensure that when women come forward they are supported. Sadly, the culture of disbelief prevails in institutions, sexual violence and abuse is still trivialised and so we still have a long way to go.”

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