Inspiring women

Smiling lady and child c. UNHCR A.Branthwaite
Celebrate Women

How to sum up our blog series on 16 Days of Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women? Inspiring and encouraging are two good words.

The statistics themselves are sobering and stark. Cathy Zimmerman, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Gender Violence and Health Centre, said: ‘When compared to non-migrant or local women - migrant women appear to be more than twice as likely to experience various forms of violence, such as domestic violence, rape, child sexual abuse and exploitation.’

And many or our contributors point out that violence does not end once women reach the UK.

Challenge the culture of violence

That violence against women should end is a no brainer – but it is inspiring that so many people, both men and women, are so knowledgeable about the issues affecting women, and are fighting hard to bring about justice and safety.

And the blogs have inspired people around the world. One comment was from a woman in South Africa.

Some quotes which stand out on reading through all the blogs:

 ‘We believe there are no hard to reach groups, only hard to reach services.’ Ellie Hutchinson, Scottish Women's Aid

‘Women’s rights are human rights, and action to help women helps everyone in society.’ Christina McKelvie MSP (SNP, Central Region)

‘A good man is not just one who does not rape, but one who challenges the culture of violence against women in all its guises, not matter how subtle or how deeply ingrained.’  Jamie Spurway, Scottish Refugee Council

Where there is life

I find women’s capacity to cope with pain and violence deeply inspiring and life affirming. I spent some time in Mumbai, India, interviewing and spending time with women and girls who had been trafficked into prostitution.

These women had experienced violence and abuse beyond comprehension, but I was at a party with these women and their laughter was almost like a victory yell – true survivors.

Take action

We hope that this blog series has stirred you to action. Here are some of the things that you can do:

Help end child trafficking

Sign the Women’s Aid declaration to end domestic abuse

Remind your MP or MSP that:

  • asylum support policies should be amended to ensure that women whose claims have been refused are not left destitute and vulnerable to exploitation; 
  • decision-makers should take account of the particular needs of women and ensure that they do not apply their own ‘western-centric’ views when considering the situation and life chances of women in their countries of origin; and  
  • the government should implement and sustain policies that address women issues through a fair and just asylum process, a health service that does not exclude asylum seekers, support system that prevents destitution and support projects providing on-going specialist support to women victim of the sexual violence.

Share your thoughts, spread the word

And we still want to hear from you. Please leave comments on the blogs as you read them. And please circulate them to your friends and colleagues.

The 16 Days of Action campaign may have ended, but there’s still a lot to be done. Together, we all have an ongoing responsibility to end violence against women.

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(1) Comments

  • Anonymous commenter
    13 December 2010, 11:05

    Have read through this series of blogs I just wanted to say that they have been extremelely enlightening, inspiring and deeply sobering. As all of the contributors rightly point out violence against women is unacceptable in all its forms including how women who have fled violence in their own countries and sought sanctuary are treated in the UK.

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