Women with her head in her hands

UN’s 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women

23rd Nov 2018 - James Mildred

By Stuart Weir, CARE for Scotland Director

#HearMeToo

It’s a cry for help. Almost inaudible. We need to attend to this most desperate of cries at the end of 2018. It’s an appropriate hashtag as it conveys the pain and the fear that many women experience at the hands of many men.

Today marks the first day of campaigning by UNiTE to tackle the pandemic of violence against women and girls around our sick world. It’s a very important campaign which has been gaining traction year-on-year. For those of you coming to this for the first time, “The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign that takes place each year. It commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.”[1]

We at CARE for Scotland want to applaud this annual effort as it recognises two forms of gender-based violence that we’ve been campaigning for legislative change on since 2006: (i) prostitution and (ii) human trafficking.

Of course, since 2015 we’ve had in place a fabulous piece of human trafficking legislation which imposes harsh sentences on traffickers while also containing provision to victims with support and assistance of the minimum that should be provided.

There is a major lack however. Prostitution remains one of the Scottish Government’s last pariahs. Women stuck in prostitution must be helped to: (i) exit prostitution safely and with bags of support; (ii) shrug off the stigma of their past by blotting out past records of being exploited, helping them to move on with their lives; and (iii) criminalise the punters who buy women for sex. The Scottish Government through their Equally Safe strategy continually affirms that prostitution is violence against women.[2] So let’s see that turn into tangible services that help these women out of unspeakable exploitation.

Notice that this annual campaign begins with a bold hope: the elimination of violence against women. That is what today is earmarked as. This is not only laudable, but it is something that is achievable too. Let’s get behind this global campaign as every woman, and women in general, are invaluable. It seems like utter madness that we have to state such basic assumptions towards women, but yet the devasted human condition forces us to have to.

During these 16 days why not get acquainted with UNiTE’s campaign and consider subscribing to our mailing list here: https://care.org.uk/take-action/stay-informed and make sure you select the ‘Loose the Chains’ emails to get regular updates on when things are happening on prostitution and human trafficking in our parliaments and assemblies and how you can act?

#HearMeToo

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