four women looking down
Photo by Rosie Sun on Unsplash

When you start a relationship, it is exciting and full of new experiences. What no woman expects is for one of those experiences to be violent.

1 in 3 women have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in the UK, and 1 in 7 women have been injured by an intimate partner.

Often women try to hide this part of their life under the belief that nothing can be done to change the situation or even that they caused it.

When I was in my 20s, I married a man I knew was capable of violence – having seen him completely destroy a Welsh dresser which his ex-wife demanded as part of their divorce settlement.

He hit me once, and I left. But others do not have that luxury – I had no children and a very supportive family. I am now happily remarried to a loving supportive man with children and grandchildren.

On 25th November, 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence against Women and girls (VAWG) begins. This is part of the United Nations Secretary-General’s ‘UNiTE’ campaign aim to End Violence against Women by 2030.

Day one, 25th November, is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Day 16, 10th December, is International Human Rights Day.

As in previous years, the colour orange will be used to represent a brighter future, free from violence against women and girls, as a unifying theme running through all global actions of the campaign. The aim is to mobilise all to become activists for the prevention of violence against women, to stand in solidarity with women’s rights activists, and to support feminist movements around the world to resist the rollback on women’s rights and calling for a world free from VAWG.

The UNITE campaign will:

  • Invite everyone to be an activist in preventing VAWG through taking a stand publicly, wearing the colour orange, engaging in activities and events to raise awareness of VAWG in their local communities, joining women’s rights movements and activists.
  • Mobilise all UNiTE partners and stakeholders to engage in activism to prevent violence against women and girls and to resist the rollback on women’s rights.
  • Amplify the voices of feminist women’s movements in their diversity working to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls across the world.
  • Call for greater support, increase long-term, sustainable and flexible funding from states, private sector, foundations, and other donors to autonomous girl-led & women’s rights organizations working to end violence against women and girls in all their diversity.
  • Advocate for the strengthening of protection mechanisms to prevent and eliminate violence, harassment, threats, intimidation and discrimination against women human rights defenders and women’s rights advocates/activists in line with international standards.
  • Promote the leadership of women and girls in their diversity and their meaningful participation in political, policy making and decision-making spaces from global to local levels including in development, humanitarian and peace processes.

This is a campaign rooted in universal co-operation and it is the responsibility of all of us to prevent and protect where we can, educate those who do not know, and engage those who disbelieve to create a safe world for all regardless of their gender.

The Women’s Network Committee will be promoting the campaign during the 16 days, sp please engage with us and let us know if you have been able to participate – pictures of how you have worn orange or details of events for example. Help us make our small part of the world safe for everyone.