Beyond the 16th Day. Moving Forward to End Violence Against Women and Girls

The conference was held on 25th November the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.

It was opened by Mothers’Union Chief Executive Bev. Jullien. Those attending were not just M.U. members but other organisations committed to the cause.

The day comprised 3 sessions with a Keynote speaker.

Session 1 Cyber stalking. This can lead to physical stalking and violence. There are GPS systems which can be fitted to victim’s cars without their knowledge. Practical procedures are in place with the police to protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. We then heard about Revenge Porn and how social media is used for maximum harm. There are unsavoury sites on the internet used for this purpose. Single male victims are also targeted as well as young people being groomed.

I found this session perhaps the most worrying as so many use the Internet and social media.

Session 2 Violence against Women and Girls in the U.K. This was led by the Chief Executive of Women’s Aid. We heard a presentation about relationships and attitudes including violence and control in young people’s relationships.

Personal, Social Health and Economic Education; a planned programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to manage their lives as part of the whole school curriculum.

The Domestic violence Intervention project deals with Domestic violence counselling not only for victims but also the perpetrators.

Session 3 Keynote speaker. MU working in S. Africa through children and women to reach men breaking down traditions and cultural barriers; fighting hidden abuse and HIV. The extent of Global violence is frightening.

Restored is an International Christian alliance working to transform relationships. Older Church traditions of interpreting scripture to justify the subjugation of women.

International Planned Parenthood Federation working in over 170 countries supported by an army of volunteers to provide services for the most vulnerable and campaigns globally for the basic human right to sexual and reproductive health.

Age international dedicated to violence against older women and men. In some cultures old woman means witch and can lead to greater forms of abuse and intimidation.

The day ended with a workshop sharing of ideas. It was obvious that all attending were committed to the campaign.

For me I was not aware that so many organisations were involved with Violence against Women and Girls, or the extent world wide. I was grateful to have had the opportunity to attend. This is not a campaign which will be easily won as the attitude towards women culturally is deep rooted and historical.

Hazel Goodman.

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