2007 - 2021

Jingo Belle

Here we stand, approaching the end of 2016 and looking at a whole new year ahead. With Trump being inaugurated in January unless a Christmas miracle stops a racist Pussy Grabber from sitting in the Oval Office, 2017 looms with a dark shadow already. Worryingly too, a peek preview of Le Pen sharpening her focus on the role of French President isn’t exactly filling hearts with love and hope either. Yet, amidst all that darkness, there’s a little light, too. And it’s coming from Scotland.

An amazing thing’s happening because of voices in the independence movement; Scotland’s padding out a Yes campaign claim about a desire for national progressiveness with evidence in women’s voices affecting real change:


Because the content of these voices is so authentic and compelling, the world’s ear’s turning to listen. After listening, readers are validating and amplifying what they hear by sharing links to our new media, clearing a space for voices from Scotland in far reaching conversations about change.

Scandinavia’s often lead the conversation on education, childcare and healthy lifestyles. Increasingly, since the independence referendum, I catch myself smiling and wondering if Scotland’s gains in challenging societal biases for elitism and patriarchy could develop to become an international reference point as well as an internal meeting place for like-minded folks spearheaded by the likes of the brilliant Women for Independence. Thanks to increased awareness about how life chances, power and land ownership are so clearly dominated by who your Dad’s Dad was rather than who we each are there’s a buzz that just wasn’t there before. We’re waking up – and it’s a metamorphosing, beautiful thing.

Ignoring the credibility that feminist voices from Scotland bring to our country and the independence movement is like saying we’ve found ten new oil fields but fuck it, we’ll focus on trying to flog sunny golf holidays and shortbread instead. Perhaps it’s time people who feel this dynamic somehow emasculates them or our nation put their egos on the parcel shelf and, for a week or two, gave the other side the benefit of the suspended doubt and spent time listening to the feminists in their lives.

Rape Crisis Scotland’s statistics tell us one in ten women in Scotland have experienced rape and one in five have ‘had someone try to make them have sex against their will’. Those numbers mean none of our families are unaffected by rape culture. Women may not have told all their stories publicly but these stories, secret and disclosed, are in the fabric of all our identities. At 51% of the Scottish population, we ignore and sideline women’s issues at the peril of all causes worth fighting for.

When one country moves forward, the pressure on all countries to own and discuss backward cultural convention is heightened. If we want to be taken seriously as a nation with the guts to claim caps of progressiveness lying untouched by detractors and peers along the way, Scotland must keep a tight grasp on wrestling the nettle of issues at the leading edges of human rights. The dots are joining up to make a picture – no progress for improving women’s safety and impact? So what if that means no progress at all?

Like a paperweight on documents detailing plans that’ll mostly never see the light of day, at present in the UK one person’s luck holds thousands of other people’s talent down. Patriarchy hurts and limits us all by enforcing a societal script for too many young men being indoctrinated into mostly inescapable cultures of crime and violence. In parallel, too many young women are dually conditioned that reacting to life by protecting themselves and others must always be prioritised over self-actualisation.

All nations with a history of being under a cosh must take difficult steps in untangling servility from complicity. Right now, we’re in a cycle of behaviour that means we often do the work of those who oppress us by continuing to oppress each other, like involuntary muscle memory. Don’t believe me? Ask any woman writer working within the independence movement how much of the persistent channel of hate-mail she receives comes from Yessers taking issues with her appearance, sexuality or just her right as a woman to talk at all.

The election of Trump’s already proving to be a trigger for emboldening racists, just as Brexit’s doing too, but these same factors may also be straws lain on the camel’s back in Scotland which up the nerve of those of us unwilling to wait another generation (or four) for a post-feminist result signalling we do live in a progressive place and not just one that kids on about wanting it for dissolvable headlines.

We have a light but we also have darkness and it’s time to decide which to stoke. Reality’s shaping up to a choice between a Scotland foregrounding a cacophony of fighting men’s voices or independence via the road of true progressiveness with clear evidence of positive cultural change. The chances of having both are, I believe, about as naively optimistic as trying to wipe out a summer midgie population with a citronella tealight. It’s time to get real about where our strengths lie and maximising all of them. Now’s the time to fully aid and abet women in using their voices because with help from allies, we have an exponentially positive and magnetic trick up our sleeves for a Scotland daring to lead.

Comments (15)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. MLL says:

    Thank you for this.
    Time is of the essence and is not on our side.
    Marshall your strengths and data claim what is already yours: the right of self determination.
    The ducks are never in a row until they start moving.
    I have been following your fight for indepedence from France since before indyref. I went to Glasgow for the referendum because I wanted to be there when Scotland became a truly sovereign nation and showed the way to a woorking democracy. I was so sure it was at hand. I was giddy with wonder and enthusiasm milling about with you in George square.
    And I was with you the day after listening to your disappointment and watching the women’s tears. I read the grief messages written in blue chalk ‘Glasgow said Yes’, ‘What kind of people are we?’ and more. But these two stuck in my mind.
    Yes as Voltaire wrote we look to Scotland for enlightenment still.
    There were banners around Georges square that rightly claimed that people made Glasgow. You have so much to give and teach.
    Scotland is yours. Imagine how you would feel if the next Windsor monarch is crowned in Balmoral to make a point, in the style of the Kayser at Versailles.
    What better legacy can you give your children than dominion over the land that is theirs?
    I will return to Scotland to watch you dance to your freedom but as I said time is of the essence. England will not give you permission to leave the dysfunctional UK. You will have to wrestle free. It will get harder after Brexit I’m afraid.

    1. MLL says:

      Excuse my typos please. The auto correct changes my words at times.

  2. Frank says:

    ‘Two in every eight women have been raped’.

    Is there a source for this claim?

    1. Heather Pearson says:

      Please see comment below.

  3. Fay Kennedy. says:

    Whatever the source there can be no denying that patriarchy has supported the most despicable of abuses against women, men and children. I am optimistic too that Scotland will achieve independence and to live with some pride in the future will be a beacon to many in the world.

    1. Frank says:

      No one is denying that abuses happen against women, men and children – but if Bella is going to start publishing articles which claim that ‘Two in every eight women have been raped’, then sources are important.

      1. Hazel says:

        Some numbers to crunch here http://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/help-information/facts/ does not make pleasant reading.

        1. Patrick says:

          Sometimes we have to turn the brain on when we read statistics, because
          In them can be masked and also discover realities other than those published in the
          Statistics. For example, if there are so many violations in a country x, and we contrast them with the index
          Birth rate, or with those published on population increase, we might infer that there are
          A serious problem of infertility, be it female or male.

          Do you agree? contrasts with such figures perhaps the British Health Care are not working well.

  4. Heather Pearson says:

    Frank, thanks for this comment & for reading. You’re absolutely right about a source being required. At the time of beginning writing this piece some weeks ago there were two sources for the stat given and now neither are available. I realise how frustrating this is for you & other readers and apologise sincerely – topics like this need total integrity. That being the case, the piece has been amended with current Scotland specific figures from Rape Crisis Scotland which shift from the difficult perspective of an often controversial, ever changing global view and tell us that currently 1 in 10 women in Scotland have experienced rape and 1 in 5 women in Scotland has had someone try to make her have sex against her will. How/if under reporting affects these figures would be an interesting thing to learn about too. Again, apologies & thanks for your comments.

    1. Patrick says:

      ” Figures Don’t Lie, But Liars Use Figures” Why?
      The survey was carried out in England, Scotland and Wales between 2010 and 2012
      One in ten women in Scotland has experienced rape & one in five women in Scotland has had someone try to make them have sex against their will. (Source: Natsal-3: key findings from Scotland). You have to compare this numbers with Canada, USA, Argentina,Cuba, Holland, and you will see that Scotland is not so bad taken on accound similarity on socio-politic status. However to say:” One in five women in Scotland has had someone try to make them have sex against their will.” Does not show any. Is the same as the recent PISA analysis on Scotland Education, you cannot tell me that
      Singapoor is the best in education and give this example to Scotland to follow; Singapoor is an Autoritarian Regimen, the government said this is
      the plan to follow and profesors, the father of pupils, member of board cannot complain because if so they are out of the system, on contrast in Scotland you need to find a balance between so many that thing is almost impossible to advance education.

      A suggestion to all women who have abusive partners, do what the Haitians do, to protect themselves, they look for a good amount of goose bumps, and they put it in the soup, this makes the soup have enough sex suppressing enzymes , And problem solved . In addition, all mothers can apply for the teaching of karate and judo to girls in schools

  5. This article has been updated with more authoritative figures. See update. Our apologies.

    1. Patrick says:

      Here an update how is the world in contrast to Scotland this girl chose an innovative way to combat machoism and verbal violence against women.


  6. Jackie says:

    Another inspirational piece from a writer who never fails to express my views and feelings. She always manages to make me think a bit more about what I already think. A real talent in writing and in my opinion an even greater talent being able to do that in short pieces. Heather, I eagerly await reading your next piece.

    1. Jackie says:

      I just accidentally put a dislike on this and can’t undo it!

  7. Patrick says:

    See this report: “Campaigners and politicians called for action to tackle child poverty following publication of the report, which also showed an increase in the problem in recent years. According to the 2016 Annual Report for the Child Poverty Strategy in Scotland, the number of children living in relative poverty had risen by 20,000 between 2014-15 and 2013-14. When the measure of relative poverty was applied, the number of children to fall in that category had gone up to 160,000 in 2014-15. The 2014-15 figure was the equivalent of 17 per cent of all children, an increase from 14 per cent recorded the year before. READ MORE: Leader comment: Creating opportunity is the way to tackle poverty Relative poverty is defined as the percentage of children living in households with net incomes of less than 60 per cent of the UK average household income ”
    Well every one was suprice by the Trump elected by american people, and know why ? If the upper report is alarming, in america you can multiply the number by 5. If doubts go the the census, and you will find why Trump was elected President.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.