The 25th of November marks ‘White Ribbon Day’, a national awareness day campaigning for the end of domestic violence against women. The UN acknowledged this day in 1999 when they marked it the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
In 1981, the assassination of the Mirabel sisters (who were political activists in the Dominican Republic) took place, making these women a powerful symbol of inspiration. Women in Latin America came together to protest against violence against women and were the first to mark the 25th of November as an important date in the women’s rights calendar. In 1991, the White Ribbon Campaign was started in Canada, following a mass shooting at the University of Montreal, where 14 women were killed.
This movement grew and spread across the world and landed in the UK in 1998. In 2004, the work of this campaign began to include men and today the website states that the campaign is run by a group of men who pledge to never ignore or condone the horrors of violence against women. They seek to fundraise and raise awareness for the issue.
Why is this so important?
In the UK, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lives and at least 2 women a week are killed by an abusive partner. In fact, you are more likely to be attacked by your partner than by anyone else. On average, a woman will be abused 35 times before she reaches out for help from the police.
One question people will always ask is: well why doesn’t she just leave? Unfortunately while this often seems like a simple solution, in practice it is much more difficult. Some partners are not consistently abusive, which means that abuse will be followed by guilt and apologetic behaviour. Some partners may be so abusive that a woman is scared to leave or call the police for fear of the repercussions. Some women may have no financial means of their own and have nowhere to go if they do leave their partners. According to Shelter, domestic violence is the single biggest reason for women becoming homeless.
Finally, as frequent readers of our blog will have gathered by now, we are running our second sanitary product drive for an organisation called the Ashiana Network, in London. This charity helps women escaping domestic violence and forced marriage to find counselling, housing and support in a safe environment. The Ashiana Network specialises in helping women from ethnic minorities, who will have a whole host of additional cultural issues alongside the abuse they are suffering. To find out more about their work, you can check out our blog here.
According to statistics, the risk in domestic violence does differ slightly according to ethnicity and religion. Family honour can play a significant role in some families and could throw obstacles in the path of a woman seeking help. Asian women are 2-3 times more likely to attempt suicide than other women suffering abuse.
What can you do to help?
The government does not provide organisations such as this one with a subsidy for sanitary products (although other homeless shelters will be provided with condoms and razors for the use of men) and so we are collecting donations of sanitary towels until the 3rd of January 2016. If you would like to donate and/or find out more, please have a browse of our Facebook and Twitter pages here!
If you would like to help the White Ribbon Campaign –
- You can pledge your support through the website here.
- You can donate money here.
- You can find other ideas here.
If you are suffering domestic abuse or know someone that is, you can find a list of websites below which will be able to offer support and advice –
- Women’s Aid 24 hour Domestic Violence helpline
- Living Without Abuse
- Rape Crisis
- Domestic Violence Services for Men
Thanks for reading,