Friday 25-11-2016 - 08:58
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Amelia Horgan, NEC 2nd Place NUS Womens Committee tells us why everyone must play their part in raising awareness.
25 November marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Violence against women is a global problem; of women murdered in 2012, almost half were killed by their intimate partners or family members. This was 21,750 women. According to the World Health Organisation 1 in 3 women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some physical or sexual violence by a partner. Globally, 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.
All women face violence, but women facing multiple oppression are even more likely to experience violence. In the US, Black women between aged between 15 and 24 are nearly three times more likely to die due to homicide than white women of the same age. Trans women are nearly twice as likely to experience sexual violence than cis women. Disabled women are twice as likely to face domestic abuse. Visibly Muslim women bear the brunt of Islamophobic attacks. While changes to welfare benefits in the UK could make it hard for working class women to leave abusive partners.
When organising against gendered violence we must not forget that the state not only ignores, but commits gendered violence. Racist border regimes, including in the UK and around Europe, are state violence. Last year 3,500 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. 32,053 people are held, indefinitely, in detention centres across the UK, including 99 pregnant women, and many survivors of sexual violence. These detainees face racist and sexist violence at the hands of the private security services who run immigration removal centres.
Less than 10% of women who had experienced violence approached the police for support. This should come as no surprise, not least because the police have historically failed to provide adequate support for survivors of gendered violence. Not only are those who report violence denied justice, survivors are disproportionately likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system, and continue to face violence within it. In the UK, between 46% and 80% of women in prison report having experienced domestic violence. Since 2002 there have been 100 deaths of women in prison. 
Across the world, people are denied access to basic reproductive healthcare. 25% of the world’s population live in countries with laws to entirely prohibit abortion or permit it only to save the pregnant person’s life. This includes Northern Ireland, where performing an abortion is illegal except in situations where the pregnant person risks serious and long term damage to their health. This means that only 16 legal abortions were carried out last year, with at least 833 women travelling from NI to England to access abortion in the same year.  Denying us access to reproductive healthcare is gendered violence.
This International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women we ask you to take action against gendered violence, whether perpetrated by men – partners and family members – or by the state. Stand in solidarity with women across the world.
How to get involved:
Work with your SU women’s officer and if your union doesn’t have one, get policy passed to have one;
Join your nearest Feminist Society;
Get organised! Fight intimate partner violence and state violence;
Defend and extend reproductive rights;
Raise awareness about the signs of abuse;
See if your university or college provides adequate support for survivors, and if they don’t, campaign for them to do so;
 https://www.unodc.org/documents/gsh/pdfs/2014_GLOBAL_HOMICIDE_BOOK_web.pdf )
 http://www.cdc.gov/women/lcod/ )
 ] United Nations Economic and Social Affairs (2015). The World’s Women 2015, Trends and Statistics, p. 159