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Preventing Violence Against Women

The national programme action agenda for violence against women has three themes:

  • Domestic violence
  • Anti-trafficking
  • Women’s prison reform

Locally, there are several elements to our work in this area:

Winchester Domestic Violence Forum (DVF)

Two members represent the club on the DVF, an independent multi-agency forum working to co-ordinate and improve support services for those affected by domestic violence and raise awareness of their needs. On White Ribbon Day many club members support the DVF’s display stand in the city centre, handing out information and persuading local shop assistants to wear the ribbons to raise awareness.

We are working with Dame Vera Baird, the Victims Commissioner, who is also a Soroptimist. She and her club in Newcastle on Tyne pioneered a project looking at Domestic Violence courts to assess the process and understand whether it was working. They found several reasons why trials were not processed successfully and why victims did not get support to give a defence against their abusers. We hope we can work on this locally and welcome any help in this respect.

Winchester Women’s Refuge

Our work involves the collection, storing and distribution of items of use to the women in the refuges such as emergency packs of toiletries, long-life food and other household and childcare items. We also provide start-up kits to help women set up home on leaving the refuges.

I got flowers today:

I got flowers today.
It wasn’t my birthday
or any special day.
We had our first argument last night,
and he said a lot of cruel things
that really hurt me.
I know he is sorry
and didn’t mean the things he said
because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
It wasn’t our anniversary
or any other special day.
Last night, he threw me into a wall
and started to choke me.
It seemed like a nightmare.
I couldn’t believe it was real.
I know he must be sorry
because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today,
and it wasn’t Mother’s Day
or any other special day.
Last night, he beat me up again.
If I leave him, what will I do?
How will I take care of my kids?
What about money?
I’m afraid of him and scared to leave.
But I know he must be sorry
because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
Today was a very special day.
It was the day of my funeral.
Last night, he finally killed me.
If only I had gathered enough courage
and strength to leave him,
I would not have got flowers today.

© 1992 by Paulette Kelly