It'll take more than a Day

It’s heartening to see the news agenda give space to the issue of violence against women but it’s just a shame that it has to take an International Day for that to happen.  

As well as the Government’s announcement to allocate more than £28 million for specialist services to tackle violence against women and girls until 2015 here in the UK, other stories include new police orders to remove violent partners from the home for up to 48 hours – a reintroduction of ‘go orders’, and interestingly, Harriet Harman’s called for the government to establish a Ministerial position which focuses on tackling violence against women on an international level.  

After all, violence against women is not a problem for the UK.

For example, Hannatu Musawa writes an interesting comment piece about the level of domestic violence across Nigeria. She argues that it “continues to be masked, underrated and unaddressed.” She adds that “a recent study found that domestic violence is common in all regions and spans all social classes and groups in [Nigeria].”

And Amnesty’s new report published today reveals the disturbingly high levels of rape and sexual violence against girls in Nicaragua.  A predominant proportion of attacks against girls, as disturbing figures reveal that between 1998 and 2008 two-thirds of the 14,000 cases of rape and sexual violence reported in the country were committed against girls under the age of 17.  The report also finds that most of the perpetrators are known to the girls.

Another interesting story emerging today is that of a village in India banning single girls from using mobile phones, for fear that they will elope. The story also adds that according to the Guardian.  ‘Thirty-four couples from the region eloped, with eight of those elopements resulting in honour killings three of which included the beheading of the girls by family members.’

Tragically still not enough effort is being done on an international level to reduce violence against women and girls.  The steps being taken by the UK Government are certainly welcome, although we are still urging them to ensure that they ensure all women in the UK are protected from violence – the no recourse to public funds rule still leads to some women slipping through the net.  But what is needed is a concerted global effort to stem this tide of violence against women. The media has a part to play also.  We shouldn’t wait for days like these to bring the abuses against women to the forefront of the news agenda. Women’s rights are important every day, not just today.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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