International day for the elimination of violence against women

25th November 2008

25th November was the International Day for the elimination of violence against women.

Why focus on eliminating violence against women?

Because violence is an everyday reality for so many women across the globe.

Women and girls, no matter what background and region of the world they are from, are today suffering horrendous violence, abuse, torture and suffering sometimes under the guise of ‘cultural practices’. Countless atrocities are practiced today in the name of culture or tradition! Countless atrocities are practised by the ‘haves’ on ‘have-nots’.

According to Amnesty International, at least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime; more than 60 million women are "missing" from the world today as a result of sex-selective abortions and female infanticide and 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners according to the World Health Organisation. There are countless other statistics that could be added to this list – death from hunger and starvation (even discounting the worldwide famines, in this year of 2008 even now in many communities girls are not fed on par with boys and women generally are the last to eat in the family which may mean nothing left!); torture and terror.

In the UK, 167 women are raped everyday in the UK; one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime; and on average, two women per week are killed by a male partner or former partner. Nearly half of all female murder victims are killed by a partner or ex-partner.

It was Shireen’s funeral in Southall on Friday 21st November. Shireen had been killed in her own home, in her own bed. Shireen’s death sent shock waves amongst the women in Southall. Yet another death! Many women in the DAAP Women’s Support Group knew Shireen. The same question is on everyone’s mind - who will be next?

Looking around the masjid room made me realise how many lives Shireen had touched. Women from all religious backgrounds sat quietly, trying very hard to contain their emotions. Some prayed whilst others sat staring into the blank space ahead… perhaps they were asking the same question that was churning in my head. How could this happen?

A short life snatched away so quickly,… so brutally. Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Christian friends could not contain themselves as they saw the body which had once being Shireen. All wept, some inconsolably... We were here to say goodbye. Yet the memories and emotions we brought will go back with us. When will this violence end?

Harbhajan, DAAP worker

There is a famous saying, which says that...

for evil to progress, all that is required is for the good to do nothing

The challenge for all the good out there is this - What are you doing to stop this violence against women? No matter where we are or what we are doing, we all have the capacity to act in some way to make a difference.

Consider if you are making a difference???

Are you a mother who has told her daughter who is being abused or beaten by her husband and worse still the in-laws are encouraging or supporting this to stay put as this is her lot?

Mata, you are not making a difference!

Are you a neighbour who has been told by her husband not to get involved with next door even though you have heard her scream?

Parosi, you are not making a difference!

Are you the refuge worker who could not even smile let alone show empathy and compassion to a woman who literally just got away with her life and was begging for a hug?

Professional, you are not making a difference!

Are you the woman who wielded the knife even though the little girl was too scared to scream while she was held down and mutilated between her legs?

Dhi, you are not making a difference!

Are you the friend that listens and offers no solutions even though she will be forced to marry?

Dost, you are not making a difference!

Difference is when you are Decisive In Finding Formulas that Encourage and Remove Emotional Nooses Created to

You can decide and you can make the difference!

Perminder Dhillon

Mata, Parosi, professional, Dhi and Dost are all situations presented to DAAP.

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