Bristol Women’s Commission responds to Bristol City Council Licensing Committee decision on Sexual Entertainment Venues

We are extremely disappointed and frustrated that Bristol City Council’s Licensing Committee has not taken this chance to take clear action to tackle the sexist culture that underpins male violence.

Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEVs) promote and profit from the sexist culture that underpins male violence. We cannot tackle male violence without addressing this culture. 

Today’s decision gives Bristol’s two strip clubs the green light to exploit the cost of living crisis and recruit more young women into the sex industry, and to open the door to sex buying to future generations of young men. To drive up demand and help fuel a global industry that causes untold harm to women and girls – directly and indirectly.

It ignores the evidence and expert testimony from women’s organisations, the Police Crime Commissioner, educational institutions and gender violence experts, along with the voices of women and girls in Bristol who want to live their lives free from sexual objectification.

The decision is inconsistent with the Council’s wider aims to create a fair and equal city and is in direct conflict with investment into educating young men and boys about healthy relationships with women and girls. It reinforces a dangerous, sexist message to all women and girls that their value lies in their bodies and how they perform for men. 

We know that some people will be celebrating this as a win – including the club owners and some of the women who currently pay to work there – but the real winners here are men who want unhindered access women’s bodies.

Read our statement to Bristol City Council’s Licensing Committee here.

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