One Billion Rising: Stella Creasy speaks out about domestic violence
She's one of the youngest female MPs in the House of Commons and acts as Shadow Minister for Crime Prevention. Now, BlogFest speaker Stella Creasy MP says she's worried about women's safety, both in the UK and globally - and explains how females are fighting back against domestic violence, harrassment and abuse in the One Billion Rising campaign.
On average two women die every week at the hands of a lover or former partner in England and Wales. For too many, this was not sudden or unexpected. The signs they were at risk were there. Many tried to seek help or someone knew they could be in danger -whether the police attending call outs or health visitors seeing bruises, or even neighbours hearing screams. We are getting better in Britain at tackling domestic violence, but the truth is we’ve still a long way to go. Whilst prosecutions have never been higher, only 8% of cases reported to the police ever even make it to court.
The threat to women isn’t just about what happens behind closed doors. In London alone, 40% report being harassed on our streets. It also starts early in life. In some areas of Britain, 75% of child protection orders reflect kids living in homes at risk of violence and its estimated 20,000 are at risk of female genital mutilation. It also requires changing attitudes at an earlier age. In one study 80% of children thought it was ok to hit a woman if she ‘did not have dinner ready on time’. It also doesn’t just happen here- across the world, 1 in 3 women will be beaten or raped in her lifetime. And in these difficult economic times we cannot afford not to act. We spend nearly £40bn each year on services to deal with the consequences of domestic violence, and lose £3bn in economic output from women taking time off work due to the injuries they receive.
The scale of these problems can seem overwhelming. But the benefits are clear if we have the will to act; if violence and fear hold the lives of too many women back, a society without this will set them free. Our ambition for change is driven not just by a desire to stop the damage being done, but also by women and girls we all know, so full of energy and promise, talent and creativity, and for whom so much is at stake. Whether mums, grans, sisters, daughters, nieces, friends or family, we love them and by working together we can create a world in which they are all free to fulfill their potential.
That’s why I’ve joined the One Billion Rising Campaign, started by Eve Ensler. We’re building a movement of women and those who love them rising up to call for action. Together we are campaigning to keep women across the world safe and calling on all those who have power to act.
Over the coming months I’ll be asking Mumsnet readers to join me in this work, whether in their local area or nationally in the run up to 14 February 2013. As Eve says, one billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women and men dancing, is a revolution.