16 days of action and interfaith week

Post from ‘Together we can stop it blog’ at http://togetherwecanstopit.org/news/16-days-action-and-interfaith-week/

16 days of action and interfaith week

Posted on November 26th, 2012

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On the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which this year fell in Interfaith Week, we launched our multi-faith poster ‘Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse’. The need for the poster was identified by members of SWA’s faith network group, who also helped with the design. It has two aims – to highlight that different faith groups in Scotland are standing together against domestic abuse and to provide information about help available to those affected. Currently, the poster shows the United Reform church logo as a key supporter of the initiative but faith groups from across Scotland are currently sending us their logos and these will be uploaded to the poster in the next few weeks.

The poster will offer a powerful message of support to people experiencing domestic abuse. Faith centres displaying the poster will be encouraged to undertake training on domestic abuse to enable them to respond effectively to disclosures. We recognise that it is really important not to raise expectations of an effective response without helping skill folks up to deliver on that expectation.

The poster was launched at a special service at the Augustine Reform Church in Edinburgh. Theological historian, researcher and activist Lesley Orr delivered a powerful sermon. This highlighted the stories of several women of faith she had interviewed about their experiences of domestic abuse. They talked about feeling utterly trapped, isolated and crushed by the abuse and the fear it generated within them. The stories showed the strength women can gain through their faith but also the way in which faith institutions can further entrap women.

Preaching that women should be obedient to their husbands or that marriage is always for life were given as examples of the ‘tyranny of respectability’ that some women of faith experience. Lesley highlighted the importance of campaigns like Together We Can Stop It in helping individuals and organisations to move from being ‘careless colluders and indifferent bystanders’ to activists. Fiona Bennett, Minister of the Augustine Church said “The service was very meaningful and helpful to the community and an exciting mile stone in Interfaith Work.” And so say all of us – standing together against domestic abuse.

If you’d like to find out more; email Nel on nel.whiting@scottishwomensaid.org.uk


Murder victim’s mum calls for action on domestic violence

Thanks to Nottingham post and NDVF (Nottingham Domestic Violence Forum) for their continued support;

THE mother of a New Basford woman killed by her ex-partner has backed the Post’s domestic violence campaign – as the number of people in the county to pledge their support hits the 4,000 mark.

Victoria Blower, whose daughter Casey Brittle died in 2010, held a gathering this week to mark the second anniversary of her death.

  1. Casey Brittle

    Casey Brittle

More than 70 family and friends gathered in Arnot Hill Park – the last place Victoria spent time with Casey – to release coral coloured balloons into the sky during an Angels’ Day event. Coral was Casey’s favourite colour.

Victoria said: “Ever since Casey died, I have felt it my duty and responsibility to prevent another parent from losing their child to an incident like this.

“It is time to challenge perpetrators of domestic abuse and let them know that violence against women and men is no longer acceptable.

“One of the ways we can do that is by supporting the Man Enough campaign and breaking down the barriers that keep domestic abuse hidden.”

The Post’s Man Enough campaign was launched in February this year and aims to get 10,000 people across Notts to sign the White Ribbon pledge against domestic violence.

As part of the campaign a number of projects are taking place across the county to teach people about domestic violence and the support that is available. More than 4,000 people in Notts have now signed up to the campaign.

Victoria said she hopes to make Angels’ Day an annual event.

She said: “It was a beautiful way to remember my daughter. This was a celebration of her life and all the joy she brought into other people’s lives.

“I hope this can become an annual event and we can open it up to other families in Nottinghamshire who have lost children in violent circumstances.

“My aim is to reach out to them and say, ‘You are not alone in your anguish’.

“We can stand together and say that we will never accept violent crime as a normal part of life, in any form.”

The sunset balloon release beside the lake was accompanied by a rendition of In the Arms of the Angel, one of the songs played at Casey’s funeral. It was sung by Notts soloist Sarah Walster.

A service of remembrance followed in Gedling Borough Council’s Civic Centre, led by the Reverend Sally Baylis, with music from Meadows-based gospel choir Chariots of Joy, led by the Reverend Clive Foster.

Guests were invited to sign up to a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about domestic abuse as part of the Man Enough campaign.

Casey, 21, was murdered in October 2010 by her ex-partner Sanchez Williams at her New Basford home.

The campaign, which has been backed by every council in the county as well as boxer Carl Froch and fashion designer Paul Smith, is being run in partnership with Safer Nottinghamshire Board, Nottinghamshire Domestic Violence Forum, Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham Crime and Drugs Partnership.

John Robinson, Gedling Borough Council’s chief executive and the county’s lead on domestic violence, said: “We were happy to provide the venue for this memorial event, particularly as Arnot Hill Park is an important place to Victoria as it was the last place that she saw her daughter alive.

“I’m really pleased that the inaugural Angel’s Day was a success, and it is great that the joint Man Enough campaign against violence against women was part of the event.”

Proceeds from the sale of programmes and balloons were donated to Nottinghamshire Domestic Violence Forum.

Go to http://www.man-enough.org to sign the campaign pledge. For more details about attending next year’s event e-mail angelsdaynotts@hotmail.com

Dr Helen Pankhurst: David Cameron needs to spend more time with ‘real women’

Reproduced courtesy of The Daily Telegraph – full article at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/9602176/Dr-Helen-Pankhurst-David-Cameron-needs-to-spend-more-time-with-real-women.html

On the first UN International Day of the Girl, Dr Helen Pankhurst, Emmeline Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter, has called for David Cameron and his male Cabinet colleagues to spend more time with ‘real women’ before deciding their futures.

Emmeline Pankhurst being restrained by policemen

Dr Helen Pankhurst is the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, a leader of the British suffragette movement. Photo: Everett Collection/Rex Features
Emma Barnett

By , Women’s Editor

4:16PM BST 11 Oct 2012


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Dr Pankhurst, who works as an international development and women rights campaigner, told The Telegraph that Mr Cameron had yet to engage “in detail” with political policies directly affecting women often in a negative way.

“This Government has hurt women by omission. David Cameron has not engaged in detail with the issues affecting women today.

“In the UK we superficially have equality. However, if you just go one step down, there are still issues which need work. I think the Day of the Girl is a great idea as it focuses the attention on girls and women when they are still vulnerable and could be again in later life. In the UK there is still a lot to be done about how women think about themselves and their role in the world – from an early age.”

Dr Pankhurst, the grand-daughter of suffragette leader Sylvia Pankhurst, called for all male politicians, including the Prime Minister, who has struggled to appeal to women since his appointment (and has been criticised for only having four female Cabinet ministers), to spend more time with “real women” so that the Coalition could think more laterally and realistically about women’s issues – such as the recent row over abortion.

She also said that the idea of party politics was a “false” one in the 21st century.

There are no grey areas in rape

Article reproduced from The Independent: Joan Smith, Sunday, 8 July 2012
original article at http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/joan-smith/joan-smith-there-are-no-grey-areas-in-rape-7922369.html#


Few subjects are as contentious, or as poorly understood, as rape. Blaming the victim is common,
as is endlessly finding excuses to “explain” why some men brutalise women. Three months ago,
people used social networking sites to abuse – and name – a 19-year-old woman raped by the
professional footballer Ched Evans, who had just been sent to prison for five years. Last week, at
Cambridge Crown Court, a schoolboy was spared a custodial sentence for raping a five-year-old
girl after he blamed his “hormones” and the judge blamed “the world and society”.
Most rape cases are horrible, this one particularly so. The boy, 14 at the time, was known by the
girl’s parents who asked him to babysit while they went to watch an older child in a school play.
On their return, they paid him £10 and he went; it wasn’t until the little girl was getting ready for
bed that she told her father what had happened. On Monday, the judge imposed a three-year
community sentence with a supervision requirement on the boy, leaving the victim’s parents to
worry about the possibility that she will bump into him on the street. The girl’s mother said the
sentence sent the “wrong message” about rape, and could deter other victims from coming
She is right. Counsellors and campaigners talk about “myths” which blur the definition of rape and
encourage misconceptions, such as the idea that attackers are “provoked” by the victim’s clothing
or behaviour. Both the courts and the media repeatedly look away from the individual assailant,
whose responsibility for the crime gets lost in a welter of excuses. Anyone who rapes a
five-year-old is by definition a danger to girls and women, who are entitled to expect protection
from the criminal justice system.
The judge mentioned the boy’s use of internet pornography, claiming his exposure at a young age
had ended in “tragedy” – a strange choice of word for a vicious assault – but a 14-year-old boy is
old enough to know that forcing someone to have sex is a crime. If he goes ahead and does it
anyway, he belongs in a subset of sexual predators who will have violent relationships with women
when they grow up.
The case underlines the need for education about sexual violence, both to protect potential victims
and to identify boys with aggressive attitudes to sex. Parents and teachers need to be on the
outlook for such young men, and challenge their behaviour at an early stage.
It doesn’t happen often enough. Everyone thinks rape is a bad thing in theory, but real-life cases
are very different. Total strangers rush to excuse rapists on Twitter, while no one believed the
victims of the black-cab rapist, John Worboys, leaving him free to drug and rape more than a
hundred women in London over a period of years. We should worry about lenient sentences and
ambivalent public attitudes, which mean rapists aren’t sufficiently afraid of being condemned and
http://www.politicalblonde.com; twitter.com/@polblonde

Blinded woman Tina Nash makes domestic violence appeal

Original article from Independent online at:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/blinded-woman-tina-nash-makes-domestic-violence-appeal-7737380.html
Rob Williams

Friday, 11 May 2012

A woman blinded in an horrendous violent assault by her boyfriend has urged people suffering domestic violence to come forward.

Tina Nash, 31, made her appeal as her former partner, Shane Jenkin, started a life sentence for the attack, in which he gouged out her eyes with his fingers.

Shane Jenkin, 33, also throttled Tina Nash until she was unconscious and broke her jaw in a vicious attack at her home on 20 April last year.

After the attack Jenkin kept Nash imprisoned for 12 further hours.

Ms Nash spoke movingly of how her life had changed but said others must not go through what she did.

“I urge anyone out there suffering domestic abuse to contact the police before it is too late,” she said in a statement read on her behalf outside Truro Crown Court.

Shane Jenkin, of Sea Lane, Hayle, Cornwall, had pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent, but denied attempted murder.

He was handed a life sentence by Judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC at Truro Crown Court today.

The minimum term of the sentence was set at six years.

He is currently being treated at the Butler Clinic, a medium secure psychiatric unit in the grounds of the Langdon Hospital in Dawlish, Devon.

Judge Clark said the assault was a “barbaric attack involving extreme violence”.

Efforts were made to save the sight in one of Tina Nash’s eyes, but this was unsuccessful.

Ms Nash, mother of two children who were aged 13 and three at the time of the attack, said she was glad Jenkin had “at least taken responsibility for changing my life forever”.

She said: “I truly feel that, when he was strangling me, he was trying to murder me.

“He has taken everything from me and robbed me of one of the most precious things in life – my sight.”

Ms Nash also told the BBC that she “has nightmares every night for what he’s done”, and that losing her sight has made her feel like she has been ‘”buried alive”.

The judge passed a life sentence and said Jenkin would serve a minimum term of six years, minus the time he has already spent in custody.

“In view of all the circumstances in this case, it may well be many, many years before the parole board consider the defendant safe to be allowed out in the community,” he added. “In my judgment he is a very dangerous man from which the public needs to be kept safe.”

Ms Nash was at court and sat in the public gallery but Jenkin refused to attend.


Owen Jones: The battle that men who aren’t sexist must fight

The abuse Louise Mensch has been subjected to provides an insight into attitudes that are rampant

Friday 04 May 2012

The backlash took the form of a torrent of violently sexist tweets. She was a “whore”, a “cold faced cold hearted bitch”, and far worse. “Louise Mensch… You would wouldn’t you?” tweeted Northern Irish “comedian” Martin Mor. “Given half a chance you’d strangle her!” Vice magazine proceeded to ask Occupy protesters if they’d have sex with her: just for the “lulz”, as the kids say. No male cheerleader for the Murdochs – there are many – is subject to these chilling attacks.

I’m no stranger to Twitter abuse, though generally my critics are wound up by what they regard as my excessively youthful appearance. “Does your mum know you’re up this late?” and “Shouldn’t you be doing your paper-round?” are irritating largely because the Tweeter (who invariably hides behind a picture of some cartoon character and a profile ranting about the BBC and “lefties”) thinks they’re the first person to crack the “joke”, and they’re never very witty about it. It is nothing compared with the poisonous misogynist vitriol that women in politics and journalism – such as my colleague Laurie Penny – receive.

Twitter is an interesting insight into attitudes that are rampant in society, because it allows people to easily project venom that most would never dream of screeching at a passerby in the street. And it provides alarming evidence that sexism – of varying intensities – remains widespread among men. Whether they purport to be on the left or the right, there are all too many men who simply cannot bear to be lectured by a woman they passionately disagree with. “Who does this bitch think she is?” sums up their attitude; and if Twitter is anything to go by, what they say can be a lot more explicit than that.

It is time for more men to speak out about the continuing scourge of sexism. That does not mean – ironically – muscling in on the feminist movement. “Man Finally Put In Charge Of Struggling Feminist Movement” was a headline a few years ago in satirical newspaper The Onion, summing up this potential absurdity. The emancipation of women is down to women themselves. But men need to be far more vocal allies of a feminist movement that has a long way to go.

Given thousands of years of gender oppression that has to be overcome, women’s struggle for equality has made stunning advances in the past century: in the home, the family, the workplace, the political sphere, and the world of culture. But there is no basis for complacency. Women are, on average, paid 17 per cent less than men; only one in five MPs is a woman, fewer than in those well-known citadels of feminism Pakistan and Sudan; and at least one in four women faces domestic violence in her lifetime. Cuts to public sector jobs, benefits and services are disproportionately hammering women. Of course, the experience of a privileged, powerful woman like Louise Mensch is very different from that of a part-time checkout worker being paid £6.12 in a Newcastle supermarket. But sexist abuse is a symptom, or a warning sign, of a society in which women overall are still not equal.

It matters for men, too. What it means to be a man has changed dramatically over the ages: what it meant in, say, the Middle Ages was quite different from the 19th century. And it has been transformed over the past few decades by the women’s movement and, to a lesser degree, the gay rights movement. These struggles have challenged an aggressive form of masculinity that defines itself against stereotypical female traits, like being emotional, or weak, or sensitive. It oppresses not just women, but “lesser” men who fail to meet such expectations: “You big woman” or “Stop being gay” are cusses aiming to suppress those deemed to be deviating from the “manly” norm.

Men still struggle to talk about their feelings (with often devastating mental consequences); numerous studies have found they are more likely to interrupt women than interrupt other men; recent research by the IPPR think-tank found that eight in 10 married women do more housework than their husbands; and some men are clearly sitting in their Y-fronts while they spew misogynistic venom over Louise Mensch’s Twitter feed. But the old boorish, domineering man is in retreat: straight men are more likely to have friends who are women or gay; the number of “househusbands” has tripled in the past 15 years; and the male “grooming” industry booms as men tend to their appearance in a manner once seen as “womanly”.

We’ll know when we’ve overcome sexism when Louise Mensch is assailed for being a right-wing apologist of dubious corporate power, rather than verbally assaulted for being a woman. In the meantime, men must not remain silent while women continue to face sexist persecution. And overcoming the oppression of women will have profound consequences for humanity as a whole. There is no finer way of putting it than how US feminist anthropologist Margaret Mead did, many decades ago: “Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.”

How violence in the home isn’t just about husbands and wives

An interesting article we picked up from the Bedfordshire on Sunday website. The original article can be seen at http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/Features/How-violence-in-the-home-isnt-just-about-husbands-and-wives-09022012.htm
While loved-up couples celebrate being together, and Valentine’s Day, this week some will be living in fear of their partners. Keeley Knowles finds out about a campaign running this month and why it’s aiming to increase awareness of domestic violence in the community.

When people hear about victims of domestic violence their minds turn to husbands and wives or even parents and their children.

But many don’t give a thought to other communities in which it may also be rife. February is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) history month and running throughout is the Broken Rainbow UK Ribbon Campaign which encourages the breaking down of barriers.

And those behind it also want to increase the reporting of domestic violence incidents and provide support to the victims.

As Jennifer McIntyre-Smith, acting chairwoman of the Bedfordshire Gay Police Association (BGPA), says: “Domestic violence is not acceptable in any relationship but sometimes people forget that it occurs in gay relationships as well.

“It is also widely under reported leaving people very vulnerable.

The BGPA feel the Broken Rainbow Campaign sends out a strong message regarding domestic violence in the LGBT community and we are keen to show our support.” This month the association, which was initially set up in 1999 as an internal support group, is working with partner agencies and local venues to help raise awareness and highlight the support available to victims of domestic abuse.

Jenni said they’re moving out into the community more and have a number of trained liaison officers who talk to victims, including one who will be visiting the Barley Mow pub in Bedford.

Made up of a number of volunteers, Jenni, who is a full-time police sergeant volunteering for the BGPA, says the association also aims to encourage the reporting of such crimes.

She believes the reason many people in the gay and lesbian community don’t come forward is because there’s a degree of distrust with the police adding: “Also if your family doesn’t know that you’re gay you might think that it’ll come out by reporting a crime.” Although Bedfordshire Police doesn’t specifically ask whether or not a victim of domestic violence is homosexual when they report a crime, they do record it if they’re made aware at the time of the call.

Since 2010 there have been 74 incidents where the victim has been recorded as homosexual.

This is against a total figure of 8,546 for domestic incidents and crimes across Bedfordshire last year.

Detective Inspector Bernie White, the force’s lead for domestic abuse, said the police had a ‘zero tolerance policy’ towards the crime, emphasised by holding those responsible to account and bringing them to justice.

Over the years authorities and campaign groups have tried to break the barriers of domestic violence within different sex relationships with many still refusing to accept that it does also take place in same-sex partnerships.

Broken Rainbow UK runs the only national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) domestic helpline and offers support to the communities, their friends, family, perpetrators and agencies working in domestic violence sector.

The campaign also works in partnership with the White Ribbon Campaign which is an international campaign working to reduce violence against women.

Rita Hirani, the chief executive for Broken Rainbow UK, said: “Given that one in four LGBT people also experience domestic violence we need to work together to raise awareness of this devastating crime.

“The Rainbow Ribbon is about awareness; its message is about respecting human rights, and about saving lives.” The Broken Rainbow helpline number for victims of domestic violence, or those requiring support is 0300 999 5428 – from Monday 2-8pm, Wednesday 10am-5pm and Thursday 2-8pm. For more information on Domestic Abuse and how to report it to Police, visit www.

bedfordshire.police.uk/tackling_ crime/domestic_abuse.aspx

Abuse facts:

Domestic Violence has the highest rates of repeat instances with 46 per cent experiencing it twice or more.

One in four lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experience domestic violence.

Help is at hand: Broken Rainbow UK runs the only national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) domestic helpline