Every year, sixteen days are dedicated to Activism Against Gender Violence, starting on the 25th November and concluding on the 10th December.
All around the world, events are taking place to provide support to victims of violence and aim to put an end to humans attacking humans. The date of the 25th marks the brutal assassination of three Mirabal sisters, political activists who gave their life to the cause in 1960, and starts proceedings with the International Day To Eliminate Violence Against Women.
In the news recently there have been a string of stories which relate directly to this, clearly demonstrating that women are still subjected to violent crimes and harassment on too regular a basis. A positive female role model, Malala Yousafzai this year became the youngest person to collect the Nobel Peace Prize, for her work promoting education for women in her native Pakistan, where the local Taliban had placed a ban on girls attending school. She was shot in the head for her efforts, and became international news. Less dramatic, and yet just as poignant, the petition which has taken place recently to remove Dapper Laughs from ITV, successfully seeing his second sexist series axed. Yes, he’s not been accused of actual violence against women, but harassment is no better.
And there’s the repeated discussion of the treatment of women in specific cultures. It has been reported that “3 million African girls per year are at risk… Almost 70 million girls worldwide have been married before they turned 18.” The same article which states these figures points out that awareness of these cases is not enough. They are, of course, correct; awareness is never enough. Action has to happen.
But without awareness, nobody will step up to action.
Violence and harassment towards women is an everyday occurrence across the world. These events spanning just over a fortnight, aim to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence, primarily against women and girls but also at a more widespread level.
The Warren, a focal point of Hull’s community, is hosting its very own event, starting at 10am on Tuesday and concluding late into the night. With guest speakers and discussion groups, young people can discuss all aspects of the cause; supporting those who are victims of violence and those who are keen to help in any way that they can. An open mic will be available for music, poetry and stories, allowing the community to share their experiences and continue to educate people about the situation both at home and worldwide.
As if opening its doors late wasn’t enough, the Warren is also holding a Gig To End Violence Against Women at the Adelphi from 8pm. The stunning sounds of Tom Skelly & The Salty Beards, Yssabelle Wombwell, who also supported the Female Takeover last month, Cherry Red and other artists (tbc) will be performing for free as they champion this cause.
With statistics as harrowing as 70% of women worldwide, you can see why this cause is so necessary. I don’t know how comfortable I feel with the idea of ‘eliminating’ violence – it’s a fantastic dream, but perhaps that is the only way it can be described. But that figure cannot stay at such a frightful high. In our city alone, it is estimated that over 24’000 women and 18’000 children experience domestic violence each year. Without events such as this, we run the risk of continuing to live in a secretive society where violence is something which continues in blissful ignorance behind closed doors. It is so easy to ignore, and this would mean no change. No alteration to the life of fear at the hands of fathers, brothers, boyfriends, husbands and even sons. No freedom for victims to come forward and be given the opportunity to escape violence.
A development of my preview written for Browse Magazine Hull.