I have surprised myself on several occasions in the last few weeks by reading articles by Frankie Boyle and agreeing with him. His writing is superb.
The article I want to refer to today was actually about Theresa May’s wish to snoop into all our business. I am not going to talk about that. What caught my eye was this:
We will acquiesce to the scanning of Facebook posts to fight terrorism, which has killed 56 people in the UK in 10 years, but will still regard the killing of two women a week by their partners as a private domestic matter.
That hit home and thinking about it brought me to this.
A friend of mine’s daughter was best friends with a girl whose father killed her, and her siblings and her mother a few years ago. I have seen what terrible acts like these can do, not just to remaining family members, but to the wider community.
Domestic violence is not a question of these things happening to ‘other’ people. It is happening to us.
Two weeks ago, listening to Radio Four, I sat in my driveway, transfixed, tears streaming down my face listening to Claire Throsser talking about how she had tried to protect her two sons from their father, who she considered to be a risk to them. Nobody listened to her. He took them to his house, lit fires, and locked himself in the attic with them. He was lucky. He died of smoke inhalation. The children not so much, taking several days to die from burns.
The report said that nobody could have predicted it would happen. Except Claire did, and nobody paid any attention to her.
On Saturday at Mumsnet Blogfest, Sandi Toksvig talked about why she had helped form the Women’s Equality Party. She quoted plenty of figures. The one many bloggers took away with them was the fact that there are more CEO’s called John in the FTSE top 100 business list than there are women.
The one I took away?
The government’s austerity measures have so far hit women harder than men. It is estimated that 79% of women have been exposed to hardship because of their cuts. One area that has suffered the most is the funding and provision of shelters and hostels for victims of domestic abuse. Refuges are shutting, and there were few enough of them in the first place.
In this article, Sophie Walker of the WEP is quoted as saying that on one day last year, just one day, 84 women and 112 children were turned away from shelters here in the UK, because there was no room for them, and no other provision to help them.
Today is the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
There will be those who argue that men can also be victims of domestic abuse and violence. I absolutely agree that they can, and I am not condoning violence against anyone, nor suggesting that dead women are better than dead men.
The numbers overwhelmingly show however, that it is women and children who suffer the most. In situations where domestic violence is a factor, there are more dead women and children than men. That’s a fact.
I’m not saying that women should start battering men, so we can even up the numbers. I’m not after that kind of equality. Although I fear it might become a factor if there is nowhere for women and children to escape to.
What I’m asking for is that we open our eyes to the fact that two dead women a week at the hands of their partner is not acceptable. Dead children are not an ‘unavoidable tragedy’ as the reports so often label them.
What I’m asking for is that we decide that funding that will save the lives of women and children and stop them living in fear is not a luxury we can do without, but a necessity that we need until we can figure out a way to end the violence altogether.
What am I doing? Well, I’ve joined the WEP who have a plan to help. I’ve also decided that this year’s Christmas card donation (I don’t give cards. I give cash to the charity of my choice) is going to support a women’s refuge.
It’s not the answer, but it’s a start.
p.s. I just donated to Refuge. If you want to donate, it’s a charity that operates nationally, or you can find somewhere that is local to your area, if there’s anywhere still open.