97%

Image by Julie Sanford

As a daughter and a mother to sons, this article is difficult to write. I do not wish to label all men as threats to women. However, it goes without saying that the freedom afforded to my sons is not extended to my daughters. At fourteen and sixteen, they have both already been exposed to inappropriate sexualised behaviour, as I had before them and my mother before me. Recent research suggests as many as 97% of women have experienced inappropriate sexual interaction. This can happen anytime anywhere. Pubs and clubs come with their pitfalls. As women, there is an unwritten code that if we feel a man is zoning in on a friend, we work together as a collective to keep that person out of their reach. Like a carefully orchestrated dance routine where the intended victim becomes encased inside our circle.  Unfortunately, this is not restricted to 18+ venues, the threat stretches far and wide. It can occur on buses, in parks, classrooms, and homes. This problem is not a problem for women but females, regardless of age. Often a younger girl is a more desired victim. Hence why I will not allow my daughters to walk home alone after dark. A school uniform is almost like a red flag to some men. I use the term men loosely. These are not men but sex pests and perverts disguised as men. People who feel that young girls are there to be intimidated for their pleasure. This is not a new problem, it is age-old and I do not know how to fix it. Perhaps talking about it is the answer. Making every son, father, nephew, or husband aware that their female relatives are intimidated and scared in certain situations, this is not a fear built on fairy tales but one brought on by experience. Their mother, sister, daughter, and wife have been exposed and subjected to disturbing behaviour. If these women are lucky it may have just been an inappropriate comment, the lesser of the potential evils. But others are not so lucky those such as Sarah Everard. A woman like many before her who took the journey home with fingers crossed hoping today was not the day. As females, we have a different set of rules which are dictated to us by the monsters and the perverts. Even the most headstrong and competent woman will feel fear when their personal space is intruded upon. This does not make her any less competent. It means that she has most likely learned from a previous experience. Women are not inherently afraid of men; it is a learned behaviour developed from exposure to abuse. As a society, it’s time to talk, to discuss the problem. Let the world know that we are survivors. Teach our children that the best way to stop a problem is to break the cycle. It’s not okay to intimidate anyone. It is not okay to touch anyone without their permission. It is not okay to hurt or harm anyone.  From the building sites to the classrooms, the wolf whistles to the revenge porn. The indecent exposer or groping, the rape and the murder. What if that was your daughter, mother or wife? The chances are it has been. 97% is a huge number, a true pandemic. The time for change is now.

By Julie Sanford

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

The Fight For Independent Media

Image by unsplash

Recently, an event occurred in Poland which saw the Polish government attempting to control the flow of independent media in the entire country. Due to the fact that this was a pivotal moment that was mostly ignored by international media even though it carries extremely heavy complications to the rights of Polish citizens, I decided to write this article as a way to summarise the situation and offer my own opinion on it. So without further ado, here’s my take. 

On Wednesday, 10th February, a nationwide protest occurred where almost every major independent media company operating in Poland ceased their operations for the whole day. Instead of news articles, reviews and gossip columns, black screens were displayed with the simple tagline: “Media Bez Wyboru” translated as “Media Without A Choice”. The same was found when turning on the television. TV shows, news broadcasts and other programmes were replaced with quotes such as “Here should have been your favourite programme”. With the use of such shocking and drastic imagery, many people simply wishing to read the morning online paper or to tune in to watch their favourite soap opera, begun to question the case of this strike that seemed to have taken over every channel. The only channels still working seamlessly and according to the normal schedule was the public-funded Polish BBC equivalent TVP and all of its sister channels. Similarly, the case was the same when surveying the social media and websites of other media companies that have become synonymous with being labelled the “state media”. So what really happened? And why is this whole situation so important that it warrants such a response?

A week before the strike took place, the governing Prime Minister announced that a new tax is being considered which would force independent media companies to pay a tax on their advertising revenues. The issuing of the tax was backed up by the claims that the money collected from the tax would be used to support the national health care system. While the tax is yet to be officially implemented, the majority of independent media outlets have already signed a petition to stop the change taking place arguing that the government is using the pandemic to justify the need for the tax. It can be argued that if the tax money would be going to a good cause in fighting Covid-19 which should be every country’s priority at the moment, nonetheless, it is imperative to also consider the fact that this may not be their main focus. In fact, implementing such a high tax on advertisements which are the sole source of income for independent media companies could over time lead to financial troubles potentially resulting in closures of many of these media sources. Although TVP (the state media company) would also have to pay the tax, due to the fact that it receives government funds, the company would consequently not suffer. 

So now that I have presented the logistics of this new tax, what are the actual long term consequences? Why would it matter if a few companies shut down due to the inability to pay? Though the introduction of the tax was made to look harmless and to serve as a simple tool to benefit the country in this testing time when big media corporations are still earning generous paychecks, we can’t only analyse it from this angle. The weakening of independent media companies through the use of the tax opens up dangerous possibilities of less free media outlets that are not controlled by the government, making it easier for state-run organisations to have a larger outreach to the public. Through the use of government-funded media, the citizens of Poland will and already have been fed indoctrinated information. Government-run organisations are already known to spread exaggerated or even manipulated information to show the current ruling party in a better light while diminishing its competition. While this is not technically illegal, getting rid of competing media that may offer a different perspective or call out the inaccuracies would mean that it would be much more difficult for individuals to know the truth or simply find the alternative way of thinking. Essentially, the introduction of the tax is a ploy to gain more control over what is said and thought by the citizens of Poland in a way to sway them in one direction that is more favourable to the current government. Ultimately, independent media have taken it upon themselves to act quickly in order to prevent the tax from occurring. 

The ability to easily seek out different opinions on a certain argument is something that can often be taken for granted. It is not something that we think of as we absentmindedly change the TV channels from BBC to ITV in the press of a button. However, what would you think if that option was taken from us? What if we were given one channel, one newspaper and one radio station to spoon-feed us the information that one individual has decided upon? Every citizen around the world should have the ability of free speech so long as we use it wisely and do not cause anyone harm resulting from it. So why should it be any different in Poland? For now, it may seem that only small steps are being taken and if the tax is yet to be implemented we should not treat it seriously, however, if we ignore the little things, it will be much more difficult to control the situation once it escalates.

By Bogna Bućko

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

Why Americans are Impeaching Now

Image by unsplash

On January 7th, the four hour insurrection at the United States Capitol dominated the news internationally, with governments, celebrities, and brands across the world publicly condemning the violence, white supremacy, and attempted overthrow of democracy. In the days following, there have been a number of responses to how the American government should handle the president inciting a coup in the waning days of his presidency, but the general consensus among Democrats, as well as a surprising amount of formerly supportive Republicans, believe that he should be removed from office. 

Some think that the current backlash against Trump from all sides is too little too late, especially regarding removal from platforms like Twitter and backlash from sitting Republican politicians. Apart from the past four years of horrifying news, taking these actions earlier on would have almost certainly prevented the Capitol siege. With less than ten days before a new administration comes into power, what is the point of removing Trump from office? Can he really do so much damage in under a fortnight?

Part of the thought process here is setting a precedent: No public official should be inciting an overthrow of democratic systems and it needs to be made clear that this cannot be tolerated in the future. There are two different options for removing Trump from office: Vice President Mike Pence could invoke the 25th Amendment or the House of Representatives can move to impeach Trump (again). If Pence invokes the 25th Amendment, it will also need to be confirmed by a majority of the Cabinet or a Congressional review. The 25th Amendment has been discussed in the past in moments when Trump has seemed unstable, but it is more of a serious consideration now that the president and his followers have turned on the vice president. However, with this option, Trump will also be given opportunity to argue that he is fit for office and there is also some debate as to whether this is the kind of situation that the 25th Amendment was meant for, as it is specifically meant to be used when a president is deemed unfit for office (for example, many times that recent presidents have undergone surgery requiring anaesthesia, their vice president has technically been president for a few hours.)

The 25th Amendment would be the quickest way to handle the current situation and Pence would become the president for the few days remaining before the inauguration and, in theory, be able to quell future planned uprisings (the FBI has recently confirmed that there are armed protests planned for all 50 states and the Capitol in the lead-up to election day). The 25th Amendment would also leave Trump with less time to try and pardon himself. If he cannot pardon himself, it would be possible to prosecute him for a whole host of crimes once he leaves office. However, as time progresses, it seems unlikely that Pence will choose this route and as things settle down a bit, he has said that he will not.

As of January 11th, Democrats in the House of Representatives have introduced articles of impeachment. After the House votes to impeach, which they almost certainly will, the process moves to the Senate where there is a trial, and then ⅔ of the senators must vote to remove him from office. This means that about 17 Republican senators would have to agree to this, which is a difficult accomplishment. At this point, it will be all but impossible to remove Trump from office via impeachment before Joe Biden takes office, so what is the point?

While he would not be removed from office, it is still possible to continue impeachment proceedings against an official who is no longer in office. If impeached, most importantly, the Senate can vote that Trump will no longer be able to hold office if a majority of senators agree. He will also lose his pension of $200k a year, a yearly $1,000,000 travel stipend, and his life-long secret service detail which would otherwise be paid for at the taxpayer’s expense. It is this that makes it so crucial for Democrats to impeach, as Trump still has a large group of base of Republicans and could, in theory, run for office in 2024 with great support. After witnessing the January 6th coup, an election like that could very much change the face of American democracy. In the coming days we are likely to see the beginnings of an impeachment process, but also hopefully a response that actively stems the ever-rising tide of white supremacist terrorism in the United States.

By Madeleine Richardson Graham

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

“That’s what you lowkey want”

Picture by Feminism Society

Most of you who are on Instagram have probably noticed something going on around a certain post. Now, we as the student website were debating if we want to discuss it on here and if so, how to best approach it. We decided that it would be good to do multiple articles. We are a news outlet for the University and therefore want to stay informative to a certain extent, however, as we are student run and our goal is to give students a voice, we will also have some opinion pieces published in the near future regarding this situation.

I want to point out that everything said in this article (apart from quotes) are my views and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Crow’s Nest as a society, the GSU or the University of Greenwich.

The post in question was uploaded (and has since been deleted) to an Instagram account where students can send in confessions which will be posted anonymously. This one read: “And if I had a penny for every time a girl dresses half naked just to get attention from the lads, I’d be a fucking millionaire. So stop complaining about being hit on because we all know that’s what you lowkey want.” Comments under the post were mixed with some people agreeing to the point made and others pointing out that the account actively promoted rape culture by posting something like this.

Actively speaking out against it first was the Feminism Society. They posted on their story and on their account saying: “This behaviour is disgusting, repulsive, and does not belong on our campuses. Rape culture is a societal problem that promotes sexual assault, sexual violence, and rape. We are saddened to know that Greenwich students actively state and support ideas like this, and we will not let this continue anymore.” People reposted the story and showed their solidarity and support in the comment section of the FemSoc Instagram. Shortly after, the FemSoc posted another controversial post (“I have a thing for petite Asian birds, help me find one? They’re quite a rare species.”) uploaded to the Instagram page in question and pointed out that the page was “continuously supporting sexism, rape culture, as well as racism.” One student commented saying that “women are not pokemon.”

Since the backlash, the two original posts have been deleted and the Instagram page has posted an apology on their story saying that it was not their intention to hurt anyone.

By Anne Blombach

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

‘Scary and confusing’ – an EU student’s feelings on Brexit

Photograph by Anne Blombach

With Brexit Day, and therefore the day the UK is leaving the EU for good, approaching rather quickly, I wondered how young people, whose future depended on being allowed to live in the UK without restrictions, felt about the situation. I decided to sit down with Jenny Bremerich, 22, who was born and raised in Germany but has been living in the UK for 2 ½ years. The first two years, she spent working as an AuPair after which she decided to stay in London and go to university. She is currently a student of Media and Communications at the University of Greenwich.

When the referendum happened in 2016, Jenny was not allowed to vote because she had only been in the UK for a couple of months by then. However, there have been voices in the community and amongst politicians that there should be a second referendum. Jenny thinks this would be a good idea:

“I think it’s ridiculously stupid to leave the EU […] because we’re going to lose a lot of perks. I don’t think there is any good that could come from leaving the EU. Yes, I think there should be a second referendum just because I have read this study once. Everyone who turned 18 since the first referendum happened, if all of them now would vote to Remain, the majority would be to Remain and that says a lot.”

Fact is, the first referendum was not legally binding and therefore, parliament was not obliged to act on it. However, they decided to do so and have since been faced with some backlash on how they are handling the situation.

“A lot of things most of the times really just confuse me. Certainly, I don’t think they are handling it well because all they are thinking about is themselves, they are not really thinking about the public and all the people living here who would be affected by Brexit. I don’t really like that.”

Although the news that are being shared and everything that is happening in the Parliament is rather confusing, institutions such as universities are trying their best to inform and reassure, telling from Jenny’s experiences specifically.

“I just remember when the Brexit vote happened, I got an email from my AuPair agency explaining what will happen and that we shouldn’t worry at least not now, not yet. They [the university] do a lot because I see all the emails they send out all the time. If I have any questions, if I am concerned about what will happen, I would probably drop them an email and get a response, but I haven’t done that.”

So, what does it mean personally? Brexit is all over the media and comes up in almost every conversation. Does it affect people already, even without anything signed yet?

“Yeah, in one regard because my mum is planning to visit in April and multiple people have told her not to go because […] you don’t know what is going to happen at the airport and she is not booking any flights because she doesn’t know if she can actually come to visit me and that is a bit scary to think about because, I don’t know, it’s a lot.”

Nobody really knows what will happen yet. It will possibly have an impact on travel and, although highly unlikely, it might come down to EU citizens being sent back to their home country. As a student, this is particularly challenging.

“I think my biggest fear is that we will not be able to travel back and forth as often as we would like, to see our family and friends. I think that is one of my biggest fears but then also that deported thing because I go to uni here, why would I want to leave?”

Research shows that Jenny is not alone with her opinion. According to The Guardian almost a million young people are calling for a vote on the final Brexit deal. And although Brexit Day is just around the corner, nobody really knows what is going to happen and it causes especially students to worry about their future.

By Anne Blombach

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.