Linda Bellos: Self-Defence is No Offence

 

We are outraged that Linda Bellos is facing a private legal action in relation to comments made at a political meeting in York in November last year, organised by We Need to Talk. Following the attack on Maria MacLachlan in September 2017, for which trans activist Tara Wood has been convicted of assault by beating, Linda Bellos signed a letter asserting that “Politically motivated violence aimed at silencing women and shutting us out of political discussion will not succeed.” 

It is in this context of physical intimidation and attack on women’s freedom of association that Bellos’ comment at the meeting in York should be understood. Following a complaint, Bellos was interviewed by the police who decided there was no case to answer.

Self-defence is no offence and hypothesising about self-defence even less so.

We are proud to have platformed Linda Bellos at the first Woman’s Place UK meeting, in Cambridge, in November last year after she was disinvited by a College student society As with all such meetings, the location information had to be withheld to the last moment to avoid intimidation of the venue.

The legal action against Linda Bellos, and meeting organiser Venice Allan, are part of a relentless campaign against women speaking up about reform to the Gender Recognition Act. It follows the intimidation of venues; aggressive picketing of meetings; the assault on Maria MacLachlan; forcing a woman from the picket line of her own union; a bomb threat; and, most recently, vandalism of a Grade I listed building. 

It is interference with the democratic process.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) can take over private prosecutions in order to stop them where they are against the public interest, and we feel the DPP should use her powers in this case.

We are heartened by the increasing number of voices speaking up and the refusal of women to bow to intimidation.