’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.

 

 

Lostprophets’ Singer Pleads Guilty To Child Abuse

Ian Watkins, Credit; Metro News

Ian Watkins, Credit; Metro News

 

By Melissa Fernie

The lead singer of Welsh rock band, Lostprophets, has pleaded guilty to two accounts of child sexual assault and possession of hardcore child porn in Cardiff Crown Court yesterday.

Having previously claimed he was the victim of a malicious campaign, 36-year-old Ian Watkins from Pontypridd pleaded guilty to attempted rape and sexual assault of two small children, including an 11-month-old baby and being in possession of depraved online porn. Watkins also admitted to three counts of sexual assault involving children and six involving taking, making and possessing indecent images of children and one extreme pornographic image involving an animal. Prosecutor barrister, Chris Clee, said: “Watkins accepts he was a determined and committed paedophile.”

The court heard that Watkins filmed and kept the abuse which was recovered by police after a raid on his home. The majority of the evidence uncovered was too extreme and distressing to report.

His distraught family described how his online porn obsession turned a ‘happy normal lad from the Valleys’ into a paedophile who will be remembered like Jimmy Saville. However, former fans believe Watkin’s abuse to be far worse than Saville’s.

The mothers of two of the abused children were also arrested for helping to solicit the assaults and for sexually abusing their own children. Barrister Clee said: “Both women sexually abused their own children and made them available to Watkins for him to abuse.” Watkins also planned to give the babies drugs, the hearing was told. Clee stated that drugs were clearly a big part in these offences and police found meth, cocaine and GHB during their searches.

Watkins’ depraved behaviour dates back to 2006 when he met with a 16-year-old girl who was dressed in her school uniform in a New York hotel and filmed their encounter. Police have described how Watkins used his fame to abuse young children and speaking outside the court, Deputy Chief Inspector, Peter Doyle from South Wales Police, said: “This investigation has uncovered the most shocking and harrowing child abuse evidence I have ever seen. There is no doubt in my mind that Ian Watkins exploited his celebrity status in order to abuse young children.” He added that Watkins’ guilty plea did not mean the end of the investigation and the police force would work tirelessly to identify other victims.

However, female fans argue they had been warning the police that Watkins was obsessed with child porn, but the police took no action. From 2010, fans who had become friends with the singer went online to plead for help after discovering vile images on is computer and claimed they called the police to tell them he was a paedophile, but officers did nothing and allowed him to go on with the abuse. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the case.

Lostprophets were an alternative rock band that formed in 1997 and achieved heightened success selling 3.5 million albums around the world. Former music journalist, Gavin Allen, said: “They achieved real success, but their career will now be so tainted that it is hard to see any radio stations playing their music again. Their legacy has just vanished.”

 

Woman sexually assaulted in Meadows

by Kirsten Hayley Waller

Police are still making inquiries after a woman was sexually assaulted
in the Meadows on Tuesday morning.

The attack took place at roughly 3:30am, somewhere between Melville Drive and Warrender Park Crescent. The woman, aged 19, was attacked by two men, believed to be in their early 20s.

After attacking the victim, the men are believed to have run away towards Bruntsfield.

The suspects are described as being of average build, white, and wearing dark coloured hoodies.

Lothian and Borders police issued a statement yesterday, stating that they were “still working to establish exactly where it happened”.

“Anyone who was in the area of the Meadows or Bruntsfield in the early hours of [Tuesday] morning, who saw or heard anything suspicious, should contact the police immediately.”

“Similarly, anyone who saw two men matching the descriptions of the suspects in either the Meadows or Bruntsfield Links areas should get in touch.”

Napier News contacted the police and were told that there was no new information, but inquiries are ongoing.

There was confirmation that officers would continue to patrol the Meadows this evening. They will be dressed in high-visibility jackets while investigations continue. They hope that these actions will reassure the public.

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