On Friday last, Al Garthwaite, Labour’s candidate in Headingley, was filming on Woodhouse Moor with Yvette Cooper.
The film is destined for the Reclaim the Internet Website – as part of the Reclaim the Internet campaign which Yvette will be launching on May 26th.
The name is based on the famous Reclaim the Night campaign – and that’s one reason why Yvette wanted to talk to Al Garthwaite – and on Woodhouse Moor.
The Moor was the site of the start of the first Reclaim the Night march, and Al was a co-founder of that RTN campaign nationally in 1977.
She also organised that first Leeds march – and has spoken at, and marched on, many of them since, most recently last November.
Al is a strong supporter of this new move to tackle misogyny and violence against women in its digital form.
As she put it
“Lots of women are subject to threats of sexual violence online if they say the slightest Feminist thing – for example about putting women on banknotes.
Reclaim the Internet is necessary because of the extreme woman-hating comments made against women who say or propose anything remotely Feminist.
Young women are especially affected – and there is a real danger that their voices will be silenced in important online debate.
The internet is now our streets or like our streets. We should be safe there.
I support the campaign for the same reasons that I have always supported all action to end violence against women.
If elected in May I have pledged to work with groups and organisations in Headingley, the police and with feminist campaigns and organisations, to combat street harassment, especially of young women, and all forms of violence against women.”
Yvette launched her own report on women and Internet trolling on 17 December last year.
Its aims and analysis are enshrined in the new campaign.
“The internet is a powerful way to invigorate public life and must always be a forum for free speech and honest debate.
Just as we do in our homes, on the streets, in the pub or at work, we all want to be free to express our anger, disagreement, contempt or strong views in an argument.
But also, just as we do in our homes, on the streets, in the pub or at work, we should challenge intimidation, misogyny, racism or threats, and we should challenge a culture which says persistent aggressive sexist abuse is OK.
The Reclaim the Internet campaign is calling for women and men to stand together against violent threats online, against misogyny and sexist abuse.”
You can get more information about the Reclaim the Internet campaign here – and you can sign up for updates.
And if you live in Headingley, you can vote for Al Garthwaite for Leeds City Council on May 5.
She has years of form that say she can be trusted to put her pledge into action.