‘Address violence against women’

WE are at the start of the UN ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Against Women & Girls’ – an international, civil society-led campaign that takes place each year to highlight the violence 51% of the world’s population experiences simply because of their gender.
I work for a charity myself that has joined the call to “UniTE to End Violence against Women & Girls!”
It is 2022 and yet we live in a country where a woman is killed by her male partner or former partner every four days. Femicide Census is a website dedicated to recording and cataloging every woman who is killed – 85 this year so far.

The abuse women face, be it physical, emotional, economical, or psychological, is endemic within our society and one of the most pressing issues our Government ought to be tackling.
As the cost of living crisis worsens, history indicates that incidences of abuse will increase. According to the End Violence Against Women coalition, many women face the unthinkable choice of ‘staying in an abusive situation or experiencing financial hardship or destitution’.

Our latest Conservative Prime Minister wants to tackle the violence women face because he has a wife and two daughters and “that brings it home”. Forgive me for thinking that you shouldn’t have to invoke female relatives in order to justify efforts to tackle this tragedy. The fact 144 women in the UK were killed by men last year alone ought to be enough to ‘bring it home’.

The Domestic Abuse Act was a step forward, but sustainable funding is still not accessible for many services supporting women. It is no coincidence that rape prosecutions continue to decline.
To make further progress, profound, systemic change is needed starting with the education of children into healthy and unhealthy relationships.
We need a generational shift in understanding of what a respectful relationship ought to look like. This must be underpinned by secure, long term funding for services needs to be the norm.
Currently, charities compete constantly for short-term funding pots that value innovation over the ‘business as usual’ of keeping women and girls safe.
Finally, too many women are falling through the bureaucratic cracks, and a joined up response from all our public services is vital.
Violence Against Women and Girls does not have to be normal, we can change societal attitudes and create a world where fewer women are scared walking home.

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