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.