16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence 2019

As Soroptimists we believe that all women and girls have a right to a safe and healthy life and to be protected from physical and mental abuse of all kinds. We hope that as a Club we will raise awareness locally of the campaign against violence against women through our campaigning activities during the 16 days. This is the second year we have done a big awareness raising campaign, and this year we are working with our local women’s refuge and support services Cheshire Without Abuse. Cheshire Without Abuse (CWA) is a charity working in the Cheshire East area. It supports women, men and children whose lives have been affected by domestic abuse. This is part of a huge international campaign – #He4She – which is run annually from White ribbon Day November 25th and lasting 16 days to December 10th, which is Human Rights Day. It is also part of the United Nations campaign to eliminate violence against women – see info below.

We are asking local men who live in our community to act as allies and messengers to promote the #He4She campaign https://www.heforshe.org/en to create a gender equal world.

We believe that men are part of the solution to tackle gender-based violence, and having local men stand up to say NO gives a powerful message to everyone that men need to be involved. We have asked a range of diverse men to provide a photograph of themselves holding a poster saying “STOP violence against women and girls” Some of the men who have agreed to take part are influential figureheads such as the Chief Constable of Great Manchester Police who is a local resident, and the Mayor of Nantwich, whilst others are inspiring men in our local community such as a local coffeeshop owner, a dentist, a retired community nurse, even directors from CAT Radio. We are posting at least one photo a day throughout the campaign to build up a picture of support and encourage other men to say NO too.

UK Statistics about Domestic Abuse:

  • It is recognised that 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
  • In families where abuse occurs, more than 80% of children will be in the same or next room when it happens.
  • The impact of domestic abuse on adults and children is deep and long lasting. An estimated 70% of perpetrators and 75% of victims will have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse within their families during childhood.
  • Domestic Abuse can take many forms including physical violence, financial and economic abuse, psychological abuse reproductive and sexual abuse.
  • We define domestic abuse to mean family members linked to one another by blood, marriage or relationship. Abuse can be from a partner, ex-partner, sibling, parent or other relative.
  • Current legislation was due to be replaced by a single Domestic Abuse Bill by the last Parliament, but this fell due to the calling of the General Election. The main political parties say they are committed to tackling the issue, and our Soroptimists club will continue to lobby politicians to ensure that the opportunity to update legislation is not lost.

Background information to the UN Campaign:

Soroptimists in Nantwich and District are joining with members all over the world under the umbrella of UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign marking the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. In our 16 days of activism we are calling on people from all walks of life to learn more and take a stand against gender based violence. The campaign starts on 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends on 10th December, International Human Rights Day, marking the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Launched in 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign is a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world. UNiTE calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations such as Soroptimist International, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. The United Nation theme for this year is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” While the names, times and contexts may differ, women and girls universally experience rape, sexual violence, and abuse, in times of peace or war.

Rape is rooted in a complex set of patriarchal beliefs, power, and control that has created a social environment in which sexual violence is pervasive and normalized. Exact numbers of rape and sexual assaults have always been difficult to confirm due to frequent latitude and impunity for perpetrators, stigma towards survivors, and their subsequent silence. As Soroptimists, we stand up for them.

International Perspective in relation to campaigning against rape:

Soroptimists in Nantwich and District stand up in support of the victims of rape wherever they live in today’s world. We note in particular that the number of reported cases of rape in Nepal have quadrupled in the past decade. One survey in 2016 found that 23% of women had been subject to physical, emotional or sexual violence with 7% having experienced sexual violence. Over half of the victims were minors, one in five under the age of ten.

We will be supporting our new SIGBI project ‘Empowering Girls in Nepal’ with ChoraChori UK which will provide security, rehabilitation, education and training for vulnerable girls who are school drop-outs or who come from rural communities where sexual abuse is commonplace. The Founder of ChoraChori is visiting our club in January 2020 to explain more about the charity’s work and discuss how we can support this.