Awturi condemns in the strongest terms a statement by political party PD characterising MP Julia Farrugia Portelli as a “village escort”. Whilst the statement was quickly taken down, the damage has already been done.
This statement falls within a tradition of denigrating women who express political views and/or participate in the public space in any capacity. As commentators have often noted, women who express political views are often attacked publicly in a manner in which men do not generally suffer.
We recall the characterisation of the women of Occupy Justice as “whores” by a former leader of the General Workers’ Union. We recall the misogynistic attacks against a civil society activist by a high ranking official in Valletta 2018, and members of the general public. We look on the smear campaign conducted by the Labour Party against Daphne Caruana Galizia – a woman who exposed many powerful men in her lifetime – in life and after her murder, one which continues to dehumanise the journalist to this very day.
We will always stand with women and men, whatever political views they may hold or express, who are attacked not on the facts or on their values, but on who they are as human beings. Let’s move towards a debate based on facts, values and genuine argument, and away from a culture of incessant insults.
There is and can be no place for this in Maltese society.