For our first column on Charity Today, we want to raise awareness of a worldwide epidemic; violence against women and girls. The Haven supports women and their children affected by domestic abuse and homelessness. Every month we take an average of 1,000 calls to our helpline from women at risk of violence, threats, and intimidation.
The 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence runs between 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day); it hopes to draw the world’s attention to the epidemic of violence against women and girls.
And it really is an epidemic. Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience either physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
On average in the UK, every year 104 women are killed by a current or former partner. Since New Year’s Day this year, 90 women have been killed by men according to Counting Dead Women. That doesn’t take into account the 3 women per week who take their own life to escape domestic abuse.
These were women were daughters, sisters, mothers. They had dreams and hopes. These were taken away by (generally) the man who professed to love them.
Any girl born today can expect to be a victim of violence at some point in her life. Across the world these girls will be affected by domestic abuse, rape, forced marriage, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, harassment… so many injustices happening in private as well as the public sphere. All of this, a new-born baby girl can expect… just because she was born female.
In Wolverhampton alone, (where The Haven has operated since 1973), 19.7% of the population will directly be affected by domestic abuse. In July this year, West Midlands Police received their highest rate of calls asking for help from an abuser.
Violence against women and girls is happening here in Wolverhampton and across the world in epidemic proportions. It’s opportunities like columns in Charity Today that means we can raise awareness and encourage others to take a stand.
Showing your support to women at risk of violence and abuse is so important. This can be through listening when a woman feels empowered to ask for help; letting people know that certain behaviours are unacceptable; or by starting discussions about issues like domestic abuse. The Haven this year is encouraging people to spot the signs of domestic abuse and how to support friends and family at a networking event we are hosting as part of this campaign. We are also encouraging people to rock a nail transfer on 1 of their 4 fingers to raise awareness of the fact that 1 in 4 women in the UK who will be directly affected by domestic abuse in their lifetime. By wearing the transfer, we are hoping to empower people to feel comfortable to talk about domestic abuse and the services like The Haven that can save lives.
Charities like The Haven are so important to ensure that we can make sure every woman is safe away from their abuser. By providing a free helpline, safe and specialist accommodation, as well as legal support; we are able to ensure that women and their children can feel empowered after the impact of gender-based violence and abuse. Domestic abuse and gender-based violence is something that affects people across society and in every community. Abuse doesn’t just harm the victim but the community that they live in. This 16 Days take a stand with the women and girls against gender-based violence and help us stop this epidemic.
If you would like to find out more about how The Haven supports women and children from domestic abuse and homelessness, then please check out our website on www.havenrefuge.org.uk.
You can also order a nail transfer to raise awareness of domestic abuse by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.