Violence against women bill dedicated to rape victim

Image source, Sarah Scott
Image caption,
Sarah Scott was raped by Adrian Ruddock in 2011

An MP has dedicated her attempts to tackle violence against women to a constituent who waived her right to anonymity after she was brutally raped.

Sarah Scott was a teenager when she was attacked by Adrian Ruddock in Aberdeen.

SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford's bill, which aims to ratify the Istanbul Convention on violence against women, is backed by the UK government.

She says the measure is for Ms Scott and every person who knows the "life-shattering reality of sexual violence".

The Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill cleared the Commons on Friday and will now undergo further scrutiny in the Lords.

Courageous fight

The government has faced criticism for signing the convention but failing to ratify it, despite the fact it was adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011.

Ms Whiteford claimed the proposals were the "beginning of substantive change" for victims of violence and applauded the efforts of campaigners, adding: "Sisters have had to do it for themselves".

In dedicating the bill to Ms Scott, she said: "So Sarah, this bill is for you and for every person who knows at first hand the brutal, life-shattering reality of sexual violence and has had the courage to claim courage and fight for it.

"Thank you for helping us all be a bit braver and a bit stronger in the fight for equality and human rights - and more determined than ever to end this abuse once and for all."

Earlier the Banff and Buchan MP accused Conservative Philip Davies of playing the role of "pantomime villain" by attempting to "filibuster" - or delay - the proposals because he disapproved of them.

Beaten and raped

"To see this legislation filibustered is soul-destroying for those who really need the protection of such a bill," she said.

But Mr Davies said the proposals would not make "a blind bit of difference" as figures from Sweden showed no change in levels of violence after it ratified the Istanbul Convention.

"In fact, all that's happened is it's continued to increase," he said. "So all of those people claiming this is essential to reduce violence against women, what do they say now? Absolutely nothing."

Sarah Scott was raped after a girls' night out by an acquaintance who persuaded her to go to his flat by saying her friends were already there.

Ruddock threatened to kill her and she was beaten and raped.

In May 2011 he was convicted at the High Court in Aberdeen and sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

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