The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is run by United Nations and the aim is to raise both awareness and funds to eradicate violence against women. Women are still being discriminated against and when we think of this on a global level, in some parts of the world not much has changed in the last century.
The reason for this day according to their website is:
- Violence against women is a human rights violation.
- Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women.
- Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security.
- Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential.
- Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic.
I agree and believe until we live in an equitable society solutions to many issues will continue to fall short. Violence against women affects different countries, cultures and religions groups and these differences create different needs.
We all need to create a safe world for women in all our communities. Gandhi said
‘We need to be the change we want to see in the world’
We need see our own unconscious bias. And acknowledge where we have privilege.
I can see I have privilege. I grow up in a world where a matriarchal society surrounded me. The Queen was head of state; Margaret Thatcher was the head of government and Princess Diana outshone all the people that were supposed to be more important than her.
Strong matriarchs defined my childhood
I grew up in a world where the matriarch was the head of the family. Being English in the home it was how it was. In my family, what my grandmothers said was law. I grew up surrounded by strong powerful women. I realise now looking back not, all of these women had the power I perceived them to have. But, as a child an environment was created for me where I believed in my own strength as a woman.
No immunity to domestic violence
This did not give me immunity to domestic violence. In the years after when I was rebuilding my life. The unconscious bias of others is something I have had to deal with. Many people believe and say ‘the abuse I suffered cannot have been that bad because of my perceived privilege’. Privilege did not give me immunity to child abuse or domestic violence. In fact, it cost me part of my privilege. It drove me into extreme poverty.
I can now see where unconscious bias works in my life sometimes to my advantage and to my disadvantage.
Our own unconscious bias and privilege is not always easy to see. But if we can acknowledge and challenge it; we can all start to come together. Break the chains of the past and be part of creating an equitable world. Where violence againt women no longer exists.