’16 Days of Action’ to combat violence against women

By Carolina Morais

A campaign is being launched today by a Scottish organisation to mark the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Between the 25th November and the 10th December, the ’16 Days of Action 2014′ campaign will be promoting a series of events throughout Scotland to raise awareness of violence against women.

The theme for this years’ initiative is ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women’.

A spokesperson for the campaign said: “Our organisation has been recognised by the United Nations since 1995. This is a global campaign that aims to prevent and eliminate of all forms of violence towards women.

“That includes such things as sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse, cultural practices such as genital mutilation, forced marriage, exploitation, prostitution, lap and pole dancing and traffic of women for sexual purposes.”

The event will commence today in Glasgow but will engage different cities in Scotland, including Edinburgh.

“We are going to held a conference at Edinburgh University on the 8th December, but our main events will happen in Glasgow”, the spokesperson said.

“Among other things, we are launching an online survey to see if people are more informed about the issue and to really take it forward. We also have a march happening on the 27th of November and we will have activities for men who want to be involved.”

The CEO of the national organisation White Ribbon, Chris Green, recognizes that “men are the real problem” and that it is urgent to “turn the numbers around”.

“We are working more and more with men and we just have to keep on doing that.

“Right now, we have around 200 events happening around the United Kingdom to raise awareness to this cause, but the numbers are still alarming.”

Mr. Green also said: “What we need to do urgently is change the attitudes of men towards women in general, to prevent emotional and physical abuse. We need more women reporting these crimes, more politicians to take notice of the problem and more funding to be able to prevent it.”

The ’16 Days’ campaign is being funded by the Glasgow City Council Integrated Grant Fund. In partnership with White Ribbon Scotland, this initiative is hoping to achieve white ribbon status for the City of Glasgow this year.

According to the United Nations, one in four women in Scotland experience domestic violence in their lifetime, with an incident being recorded every ten minutes.

Allie Hutchinson, from Scottish Women’s Aid, says the problem is not contained to Scotland.

“The numbers are alarming everywhere. We have been around since 1976 and that is why we continue to be so committed to end violence, to work with women who have been victims of domestic violence and to look at how we can prevent this.

“At the moment, the main problem is that women are not equal to men just yet. It is up to us to fight for equality first, to challenge the myths of society, to write to MPs and MSPs to promote a society where women are equally valued.

“In the near future, we will launch a survey to look at people’s experiences related to these crimes, we will promote a series of lectures throughout Scotland, a parliamentary event with MSP’s and even a film screening at Edinburgh University.”

In the rest of the United Kingdom, statistics show 45% of women having experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and at least 80,000 women experiencing rape every year.

 

 

UK charity Refuge opposes launch of Clare’s Law pilot scheme

By Charlotte Barbour

Domestic abuse campaigners yesterday called into question the effectiveness of Clare’s Law, a scheme which will be piloted across areas of Scotland today.

Domestic abuse charity Refuge expressed concerns that the Law is not enough to help protect women from violence.

The scheme is named after Clare Wood, a 36-year old woman who was murdered by her abusive boyfriend George Appleton at her home in Salford, Greater Manchester, in 2009. She was not aware of his history of violence against women.

“Clare’s Law” will be piloted in Ayrshire and Aberdeen today and will last for six months. It will allow people suffering from domestic abuse access to information on a partner’s potential violent history. If successful the scheme will then be rolled out across Scotland.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said:

“Clare’s Law sounds good on paper, but in reality it will do very little to help the hundreds of thousands of women and children who experience domestic violence in this country.

“Some people will say that if Clare’s Law saves just one life, it is worth it. But let’s be clear – two women are killed every week as a result of domestic violence in England and Wales. Saving just one life is not enough.

“What will happen if a woman is told that her partner does have a history of violence? Will she be expected to pack her bags and leave straight away? At Refuge, we know that it isn’t that simple.

“Leaving a violent partner is an incredibly difficult step to take. It is also extremely dangerous – women are at greatest risk of homicide at the point of separation or after leaving a violent partner. And if women do leave, where are they supposed to go? Refuges are closing up and down the country because of huge funding cuts.

“Clare’s Law may help a few individuals but we need to help the majority of victims – not the few. The most effective way to save lives on a large scale is to improve police practice and protect the vital services run by specialist organisations like Refuge. Let’s get our priorities right.”

Lily Greenan, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, fully supports the scheme. She said:

“Clare’s Law allows people who are concerned about the behaviour of their partner now have the right to ask if they have a history of abuse.

“We are supporting it because anything that potentially helps to prevent domestic abuse against a person is worth having a go at. The levels of domestic abuse in Scotland are very high, and these can become quite extreme before people feel that they can contact the police about it.

“We see the law as a pro-active approach to try and encourage people who feel uncomfortable about what their partner is doing to quietly enquire about whether or not there is a history of domestic abuse.

“Obviously it is not a replacement for a criminal investigation if what is happening to them is already definable as abuse but it may be helpful to some people to have that information in advance.”

According to the Scottish government website, the number of reported incidents of domestic abuse last year reached 60,080, a rise of almost a third in a decade.

Half of all incidents recorded in 2012-13 led to the recording of a crime or an offence, and of these, 78 per cent were reported to the procurator fiscal.

Factors which may increase women’s vulnerability to some types of violence include age, disability and poverty.

Clare Wood’s father, Michael Brown, believes that had his daughter been able to access information on Appleton’s criminal history it may have saved her life.

Hunt continues for attacker in Edinburgh

By Adam Wilson

Police are continuing to hunt for an attacker who sexually assaulted a young woman on Saturday morning.

Between 6.45 and 7.10 am on Saturday a 19-year-old woman was walking home from a night out with friends in the Cowgate area when she was approached by a man who knocked her to the ground and sexually assaulted her.

The attack happened where Middle Meadow walk meets Jawbone Walk, which cuts accross the centre of the Meadows.

The attacker fled when a member of the public saw the scene and came to the woman’s aid.

The attacker has been described by police as a white male wearing dark clothing and a dark hat.

Detective Chief Inspector Alwyn Bell said: “This has been a horrific attack on a young woman and she is understandably extremely distressed at this time.

“Specially trained officers are currently working alongisde our relevant partner agenceis to offer the victim all the necessary support and assistance she requires.

“This incident took place in an area that is often busy with joggers, dog walkers and other members of the public, regardless of the time of night, and I would urge anyone who was in the Meadows on Saturday morning and remembers anything suspicious to contact police immediately.”

Students Alex and Susan, 20 and 21, who live in the area, said: “We run in this area quite a lot and we haven’t seen anything suspicious.

“But there’s three of us in our flat so we try to run or walk to uni together.”

Inspector Bell added: “If you believe you can be of assistance to our investigations please call us on 101. Alternatively, you can make an anonymous report via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

 

Affordable Contraceptive Announced

By Mariana Mercado

A new form of contraceptive injection will be available for women in developing countries.

The ready to use contraceptive injection will help women living in 69 of the poorest countries.

The news of the development of this new affordable contraception was released by the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Dr. Chris Elias, President of Global Development Programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said: “When women are able to plan their families, they are more likely to survive pregnancy and child birth, to have healthier newborns and children, and to invest more in their families’ health and wellbeing.

“We are proud to be part of this innovative public-private collaboration that will help more women around the world — even in remote areas — plan their lives and their futures.”

The Sayana injection combines a long-acting, reversible contraceptive with an all-in-one prefilled single use, non-reusable injection system that eliminates the need to prepare a needle and syringe. The injection can easily be administered by health workers to women at home or in other convenient setting.

The drug will be sold for $1 (0.65p) per dose to qualified purchasers who can help enable the poorest women in these countries to have access to the contraceptive at reduced or no cost.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 222m women in developing countries would like to delay or stop conception, but are not currently using any form of contraception.

Michael Anderson, Chief Executive Officer at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation said: “Far too many women die or are harmed because of unwanted pregnancies,”

“This important partnership expands the choice of affordable contraceptives. We believe this will further support CIFF’s mission of enabling more women and children to survive and thrive.”

The contraceptive program saw over 75000 Sayana Press units distributed to health facilities in the introduction countries, and aproximately 2500 health care providers have been trained on the administration of the contraceptive.

Since the introduction of the program in Burkina Faso in July, a study revealed that over 5700 women are using the injection, 1659 of these women are new users of family planning.
Justine Greening, International Development Secretary for the Department for International Development (DFID) said:“Access to modern, safe and reliable family planning methods is vital in helping women to control their lives and their futures. Without the ability to choose when they have children and how many they have, too often women lose the opportunity to participate fully in their economies and societies.”

Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health at the U.S. agency for International Development (USAI) said: “USAID has invested in Sayana Press for many years, and we are thrilled that these efforts have finally come to fruition. This public-private collaboration will now help more women access injectable contraceptives. Expanding contraceptive choice is crucial to helping women plan and space their pregnancies, which we believe contributes to the health and economic wellbeing of families and communities across the globe.”

The drug is expected to be regularly available in all 69 of the developing countries by 2020.

 

 

Edinburgh’s Women’s Aid Discusses ‘What’s Next?’

Women's Aid Credit: Scottish Women's Aid

Women’s Aid
Credit: Scottish Women’s Aid

by Nicola Brown

Edinburgh’s Women’s Aid yesterday discussed the possible future role of men in the organisation at a meeting held after concerns were raised about the future of the charity.

According to the United Nations, up to 70 percent of women will experience violence in their lifetime. Edinburgh’s Women’s Aid is one charity that has fought to combat this issue by offering practical and emotional support to women and children suffering from domestic abuse. After facing criticism over whether they are still providing what vulnerable women need, the charity held a meeting yesterday to discuss the issues. One of the solutions discussed was to involve men directly for the first time in the organisations work.

A committee member at Edinburgh’s Women’s Aid said: “We often have people asking why Women’s Aid doesn’t offer certain services, or what we actually do now. People wonder whether we’re still relevant. So we thought, right, let’s open up the debate, ask the questions and see if we can all come up with some ideas to move forward.” Another Women’s Aid member said: “Men are part of the problem, so they need to be part of the solution.”

The Open Space event was held yesterday at St Andrew’s and St George’s church on George Street. The day was an invite only affair, titled: ‘What Next?’ Representatives from Police Scotland, the Local Council and key members from other domestic abuse charities including ‘Streetwork’ met to discuss the pressing issues decided by the guests themselves.

One of the issues voiced was whether men should have a more direct dealing with the charity. Currently, there are no men employed by Women’s Aid and any new vacancies specify that only women may apply. Whilst the charity currently works with men from other services, many of the industry specialists agreed that hiring men directly could be beneficial. This came alongside the debate that Women’s Aid suffers from an ‘out of touch’ public image.

A representative from another domestic abuse charity said: “People come to us and some do not want to turn to Women’s Aid because the perception is that they only help women ready to leave their partners. There is still this preconceived idea that Women’s Aid is run by ‘man-haters’.”

The general consensus remained that women should still form the majority of  board  members and employees for the charity. One attendee spoke of the needs of the women and children being the priority, but that positive male role models have been proven to be beneficial to some of the women and especially to the children.

The Women’s Aid event comes in amongst current global efforts to end gender based abuse. Monday the 25th of November, was the start of Unite’s campaign, International Violence Against Women’s Day. It precedes a sixteen-day global campaign to raise awareness, with statistics showing that 1 in 3 women worldwide are the victims of abuse. Secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, said: “Violence against women and girls directly affects individuals while harming our common humanity.”

Nation celebrates National Cleavage Day

Celebrate National Cleavage Day!

By: Pamela Paterson

Today women are celebrating their decolletage as they take part in National Cleavage Day.

The unusual event takes place in March or April each year and has been running since 2002. It is sponsored by well known bra maker Wonderbra, and according to them, “is a day for women to acknowledge that their cleavage is something unique and encourage you all to be proud of it.”

In a recent poll of 1000 women carried out by Wonderbra, 50% of women admitted to flashing some flesh in order to get served quicker in bars. 28% revealed that they wear a bust enhancing bra on a first date to impress a potential suitor, while one in seven admitted to wearing revealing necklines at work to get a career boost. A further 8% found that showing some cleavage helped them escape a parking fine.

Wonderbra also compiled a list of the top ten most boobilicious celebrities in their celebrity cleavage hall of fame. Television presenter Holly Willoughby came top of the list.

Wonderbra’s celebrity cleavage hall of fame:

1.    Holly Willoughby
2.    Scarlett Johansson
3.    Beyonce
4.    Rihanna
5.    Marilyn Monroe
6.    Dita Von Teese
7.    Katy Perry
8.    Brigitte Bardot
9.    Kim Kardashian
10.  Lara Stone

National Cleavage Day has remained one of the top trending topics on Twitter. Here’s what some Tweeters have been saying:

@wonderbra_uk Happy National Cleavage Day to everyone!!!
@NotBillWalton Today is National Cleavage Day! Ladies, be proud of your twins, be bold, show them off, throw them down, and set the world on fire!
@moonsez What’s different on National Cleavage day? Do the men look at your face while talking to you?
@ollyofficial Just heard NATIONAL CLEAVAGE DAY!!! Excited about getting out of this studio…. #schwing
@AnnSummersPR Happy National Cleavage Day…we are all rocking our best bras today ;)
@stuheritage Is it National Cleavage Day? Finally, a national day that I have a chance of winning.

@Charles_HRH Camilla, one doesn’t care if it’s ‘National Cleavage Day‘. You’re not having your “crown jewels” on display. #nationalcleavageday

Mother’s Day

By Silvia Montes and Sam Khan-McIntyre

Mother’s Day

Origins

Mother’s day has it its origins deep in history, falling on the middle Sunday of Lent, the Christian time of fasting.it has been celebrated on this day since the 16th century.This day was chosen because the fasting rules were relaxed, due to the biblical story of feeding the five thousand.

It is believed the celebration is influenced by the Roman Spring Festival of Cybele, the Mother Goddess.The date for this was chosen by Christians as the religion spread.

400 years ago, this was the day when people visited their mother church, it was said they had gone ‘a mothering’.This was the largest church in the area, and where they had been baptised.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/simnelcake_792

Click on this link for Simnel cake, a traditional British cake with young servants baked and took home to their mothers on this day, the only day of the year they were allowed to visit their families.

This may be a special present to bake this year to show your mother how much you love her and make her feel special with something personal

Action Against Violence Towards Women

The City of Edinburgh Council and other local authorities
will be taking part in 16 Days of Action.

This event starts tomorrow and opposes violence against women. The event, which has the support of the UN, will take place from November 25 until December 10. This event comes after two sexual assaults were reported in The Meadows over the past week, bringing violence against women into the spotlight.

A “Reclaim the Night” event is set to occur tonight leaving from Bristo Square at 7.30pm in response to the recent sexual assaults and in anticipation of the 16 Days of Action, which starts tomorrow.

The event, which will be run by the Edinburgh Violence Against Women Partnership (EVAWP), aims to bring together a number of local services and charities in order to raise awareness and help the prevention of violence against women.

According to White Ribbon Scotland, a domestic violence incident is recorded every 10 minutes, and reports of domestic violence have risen by 8% since 2007. Domestic violence affects women disproportionately, with 84% of recorded incidents having a female victim and a male perpetrator. It is believed that 1 in 5 women in Scotland will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

Rape conviction rates in Scotland are currently at an all time low of 3.7%. Added to this, in 2007, 26% of Scots surveyed believed that a woman is at least partially responsible for being raped if she wears revealing clothing.

Superintendent David Carradice of Lothian and Borders Police has stated that the police are “committed to tackling violence against women and work alongside our partner agencies to bring those responsible for violent crimes to justice, while at the same time offering all the necessary support and advice to victims.”

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 392 other followers

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 392 other followers