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Domestic Abuse – From Acceptance To Outrage

 

Friday 16th November 2012

As recently as ten years ago violence and the abuse of women by their husbands or partners was not taken so seriously in the UK. Fortunately, the situation is much improved. But more needs to be done urgently and on a world-wide scale, because such crimes are endemic for a variety of political and cultural reasons.

Historically, Britain’s police forces tended to shy off from something they called ‘only a domestic’ when called by a distraught woman or worried neighbours who heard the screaming and shouting. Couples argue, went the thinking, and sometimes it gets out of hand, but it’s only a domestic.

There was no recognition of the resulting psychological damage to the women and any children who were around, or the economic impact of smashing a woman’s self esteem along with a couple of ribs.

After much campaigning by the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s and 70s, the first refuges for battered women opened and views began to change. In 2008 the Crown Prosecution Service introduced a new strategy for tackling these crimes, resulting in improved rates for both prosecutions and convictions.

Meanwhile on the world stage November 25th has been the day for highlighting the problem of violence against women since 1981. It is the anniversary of the brutal assassination of the three politically active Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic in 1960 and was designated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999.

The UN invites governments, international organisations and NGOs to organise activities that will raise public awareness of the problem, and the UCKG HelpCentre in the UK first responded with its Break the Silence, End the Violence march and rally in 2011.

Two of its women’s groups, Godllywood and RAHAB (Removing All Hurt and Abuse) are continuing the good work with a bigger march on Saturday November 24 and a rally in the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park starting at 1pm on that day.

The thinking behind Break the Silence, End the Violence is that most abused women suffer in silence through numerous assaults before seeking help. They are often manipulated into believing that the abuse is their fault so the perpetrator can continue uninterrupted.

Breaking their silence is the only doorway to a safer and happier life.

If you are interesting in tackling this problem – as a sufferer, friend of an abused woman or simply as a responsible citizen – the rally could provide you with useful and practical insights. Greater awareness of this massive problem and breaking of the silence it entails is the best way to a lasting and long term solution.

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