International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25th November) is led by the United Nations Women and is a day to stand against gender-based violence. The day marks the launch of 16 days of activism that concludes on International Human Rights Day (10th December). In the United Kingdom this day is often known as White Ribbon Day.
Women are more likely than men to experience violence within the home or sexual violence in the community. Across the world, 1 in 3 women will experience either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime (UN Women). In the United Kingdom, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse and 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime. (Home Office:2019).
In rural areas like Shropshire abuse lasts on average 25% longer. Traditional, communities in which men hold rural positions of power can make women more vulnerable to coercion and control, which prevents them from speaking out and accessing support. There is evidence that this is slowly changing, but more work is needed. To learn more about the National Rural Crime Network’s Captive and Control report, please visit: https://www.ruralabuse.co.uk/
Harmful gender norms, shame or honour, and stereotypes of masculinity and sexuality can act as barriers for men to feel able to change or challenge abuse or violent behaviour or seek support themselves if they are victims of sexual or domestic violence. It can also cause other groups to be ‘hidden’, facing additional barriers to accessing support.
It is up to all of us to Stand Up for the Equal rights of girls and women in our homes and communities so that everyone can live without violence or the fear of it. #GenerationEquality.
You can do this by making the White Ribbon promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women. #WhiteRibbonDay #MakeThePromise #NoExcuseForAbuse. Please visit https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/ for more information.
There are a number of places that you can go to get further support if you are experience domestic or sexual violence.
- Women’s Aid have a free 24 hour helpline (0800 783 1359) and online LiveChat service if you are not able to talk on the phone. For more information visit: http://www.westmerciawomensaid.org/services/helpline. The Shropshire Safeguarding Community Partnership have produced a poster with a list of contacts and links for people experiencing or worried about someone who might be experiencing domestic violence and abuse.
- The Glade have a free 24 hour helpline (0800 970 0377) if you, a friend or family member have been a victim of rape or sexual assault and would like advice or to self-refer. For more information on all sexual abuse services available for Shropshire Residents please visit: https://www.theglade.org.uk/useful-links/
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