News roundup for October 2002

Tougher kerb-crawling laws harming only the prostitutes

Guardian article

The most uncared for, most mistreated, most despised group of women in society today: prostitutes. In the past decade, at least 60 prostitutes have been murdered in the UK; countless more are missing. The violence they experience is rarely reported thanks to the attitudes of police officers such as the one reported by the Sunday Times as saying “They are shite, killed by shite; who gives a shite?”. Now new laws against kerb-crawling are making their job more dangerous still.

Rape and child-abuse accused set to be given anonymity in court

Observer Report

Those accused of sexual offences should be granted anonymity until they are proven guilty, according to a new report by the Home Affairs Select Committee. This would prevent the naming of the accused by the press and mean men like Quinten Hann, the snooker player acquitted of rape earlier this year, would not have their reputations damaged. The recommendation is likely to be hotly contested by members of the committee.

Ms Dynamite wins the Mercury Music Prize


Surprising everyone – including herself – Ms Dynamite won the respected Mercury Music Prize, beating the hotly tipped Doves and The Streets to become the second female winner in as many years.

Marriage isn’t outdated – look at Bridget Jones, claim Tories

BBC Report

The Conservatives say that left-wing commentators are wrong to write off marriage – people are just taking longer to find the right person. According to Shadow Work and Pensions secretary David Willetts, many people have “higher hopes of marriage than ever before” and are on a Bridget Jones style quest to find the right person.

Bridget Jones not a Tory, says Helen Fielding

BBC Report

“Bloody cheek”, said the author of Bridget Jones’ Diary. Hitting back at the Conservative’s analogy, she pointed out that one of the things preventing her character from settling down with her boyfriend was the fact that he voted Tory. Far from being desperate to settle down, she claimed Bridget was “struggling to balance her post independence and economic power with the human, not just female, need to love and be loved.”

Tipping the Velvet promises to be the most sexually explicit period drama ever shown on British TV

Guardian Report

But is it porn? Screen writer Andrew Davies claims that the BBC2 drama, about a love-affair between two Victorian music hall male impersonators, is definitely drama and not pornography. He promised it would be tastefully done, but also that it would be “absolutely filthy” and that “men are going to love it.”

Action urged over painful births

BBC Report

It’s *that* story again: women should not be lying down on their backs in labour. The National Childbirth Trust said 40% of women are not being encouraged to move around during labour, even though it would make giving birth easier and less painful.

Clinic reports STIs rife among under-age girls

Guardian Report

Girls under 16 are three times more likely to contract an STI than older women in deprived parts of London, according to a recent study. Two-thirds of girls visiting Kings College London had an STI and teenage pregnancy was also rife – one girl had been pregnant 10 times, resulting in two babies, three abortions and five miscarriages. This was partly due to poor contraceptive advice, said Dr Sarah Creighton, who led the research: “They knew about contraception and condoms but felt unable to ask their partners to use them.”

Why the rising popularity of marriage?

Guardian Report

Far from being a declining institution, marriage is becoming increasingly popular. But why are more people getting hitched, despite the 40% divorce rate? What does a state-endorsed contract give them that they would otherwise lack?

More news this month in brief…