Thursday, 29 November 2018

Who Will Stand Against The Violence?

Sunday, November 25 saw the commencement of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. Running from the UN International Day of Elimination of Violence against women to Human Rights Day (December 10), this is the world's longest-running campaign for women's rights. 
In a recent article in Christian Today, Andrew Caplen, [former President of the Law Society, husband of Baptist Minister Lindsay, and all round brilliant guy] wrote this...
Violence against women is a worldwide pandemic. It covers sexual assault, rape in the context of war, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and domestic violence. The statistics are staggering. For example, in the UK alone it is estimated that one in four women undergo some form of domestic abuse/violence during the course of their lifetime. Further, that nearly half a million adults are sexually assaulted in the UK each year – government statistics indicate that one in five women aged 16-59 have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.
One of the major aims of the 16 days is to raise awareness of the massive, global scale and wide-ranging effects of violence against women. It emphasises that violence against women should never be categorised as being just a 'women's issue' – rather, it is a human rights issue, a justice issue and surely one that should concern us all.

When my girls were teenagers - a couple of decades ago, I had a purple and black pin on my jacket which said "One in Five" - a reminder that 1 in 5 British women suffered domestic abuse/violence. It is really sad to read that the statistic in the UK is now one in four. 
A number of my friends are involved in the Thursdays in Black campaign - which is organised by the World Council of Churches- wear black on Thursday [every Thursday, not just this week] to show solidarity with those who suffer and to raise awareness of the systems which promote such violence. I confess that I myself have problems with this particular WCC campaign. I sometimes wear black clothes on other days of the week, how do I make sure that people know this is a 'special' day for my wardrobe? And many of my friends do not get to choose what they wear to work so they are excluded from taking part.  And black is a go-to colour for many men's work attire 5 days a week. But I understand and agree with the principles behind the campaign, and hope it succeeds in its aims of raising awareness.
I was very pleased to hear about Restored - This is an international Christian based alliance working to transform relationships and end violence against women.
Andrew Caplen is a co-director of this group. He is eager to point out that this is not just a "women's issue" but one that concerns us all, whatever gender. Restored says...

  •  We campaign to raise awareness amongst Christians of the issue of violence against women and we advocate for change
  • We mobilise and equip churches, Christian organisations and individuals to act against violence against women
  • We develop new initiatives to meet specific needs that are not being met by other organisations

We must not ever assume this sort of thing happens to 'some other people I don't know' - the statistics make it plain that there will be people in your wider circle of friends who are being/have been abused. And they may even be in church with you next Sunday. We must all do what we can to stop this.  My heart aches for those who are suffering. 
And whilst I am having a rant, about violence against women, can I just complain about what happened in Parliament last Friday. Lord Berkeley’s private members’ bill would have seen a one-line amendment to the Children’s Act 1989, which would “considerably extend protection to young girls” at greatest risk of genital mutilation. The Labour peer said his bill had already been through “microscopic examination”. 
And guess what - the MP for my corner of Dorset, the misogynist Christopher Chope, shouted "Object!" and blocked it, saying there had not been proper debate. I am just wondering how we can manage to prevent CC from getting to the House on Friday 25th January, to object at the next reading of this bill. I say again - I did not vote for this odious man!!

And if you reading this, and you are one of those 1-in-4 abused women, please seek help.

1 comment:

  1. I was amused to see that when he blocked the up-skirting bill, House of Commons staff put up bunting made of women's underwear outside Chope's office entrance. I doubt if they often similar protests so their contempt for him was all the more noteworthy.


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