LibLink…Lynne Featherstone: Bringing a worldwide end to violence against women and girls

Over at the Huffington Post, Liberal Democrat International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone writes about her trip to New York for the UN Commission on the Status of Women which is this year focusing on violence against women and girls.

First she talks about what the UK Government is doing to tackle this problem which affects 1 in 3 women worldwide:

The Coalition Government has provided nearly £40 million of ring-fenced funding for specialist domestic and sexual violence services, and national helplines.

We’ve invested in changing attitudes and behaviours. You may have seen the UK television adverts we’ve launched to tackle rape and relationship abuse amongst teenagers.

We’ve reformed our legislation, introducing two new stalking offences to better protect victims and better support the police and prosecutors who bring about justice.

She then looked at what is needed to tackle the problem on a global basis:

The root causes of violence against women and girls are gender inequality and related social norms – or, traditional ‘rules’ of societies.

In short, to end violence against women, we have to change minds.

I’ve just been on a discussion panel with Finland, South Africa and the OECD to discuss the best ways to do just this.

The evidence shows, for example, that you cannot change unequal social norms, and gender-based violence, without working with men and boys. This may seem obvious to some, but when it comes to experiences of violence and abuse it’s common for women only to talk to women!

You can read the whole article here.

Lynne has also recorded a short video in which she asks you to sign this pledge on demanding global action to end violence against women and girls.

* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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14 Comments

  • Graham Neale 6th Mar '13 - 10:14am

    Commendable work indeed, but surely violence against men and boys is equally abhorrent? Or does the equality agenda dissolve somewhere here?
    Does a campaign against violence aimed at one gender imply an acceptance of violence aimed at another?
    Surely ending violence, against the person (blind of gender) is a higher goal?

  • Ruth Bright 6th Mar '13 - 11:27am

    Graham – what a ridiculous second sentence.

  • Richard Dean 6th Mar '13 - 7:23pm

    Graham is quite right. Violence by women against men and by adults against children are also issues that need to be addressed. And one form of violence probably leads to another- one scenario being when a dispute between men results in the loser taking it out on his wife when he gets home. Violence against women isn’t an innate behaviour, it’s a learned one, so yes, minds and cultures need to be changed – and it seems unlikely that any long-term progress at all will be made unless all violence is addressed.

    Is there any feedback on whether the ads have had an effect? My first impression was that they were realistic and so good, but then I thought – do they really bring out the point that the violence is wrong, or are they just spreading the word that it’s normal? Some way of measuring their effect would therefore be highly desirable.

  • AlanPlatypus 7th Mar '13 - 8:03am

    Graham is of course correct. Violence is intolerabe towards all people so why single out one particular group? Asquith’s concoction of buzz words and attempt to stifle the debate by demonising Graham for his opinion are not particularly helpful.

  • According to statistics from the government in which Ms Featherstone serves, men represent more than 40 percent of the victims of domestic violence, so I would say someone who sees this as a gender-based issue is either misinformed or does not see all people as equally valuable.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/sep/05/men-victims-domestic-violence

  • Graham Neale 7th Mar '13 - 11:01am

    Ruth, it’s a fair question, especially in relation to MGM and FGM
    Asquith, What’s an MRA? (I know what a tit is although it may not be appropriate to refer to the female form in this context)

  • AlanPlatypus 7th Mar '13 - 12:46pm

    Graham an MRA is a men’s rights activist, they’re a reaction to extreme feminism (misandry) and are just as bad. Unfortunately it’s also used as a device to silence and discredit men who don’t agree with articles like this.

  • Ruth Bright 7th Mar '13 - 5:11pm

    Graham – how on earth does a campaign against FGM imply support for MGM?

  • Graham Neale 8th Mar '13 - 9:53am

    It would be easy to condemn both.
    Contemporary feminists could distance themselves from ‘second wavers’ like Alice Schwarzer and her overt support for circumcision. Until that position is clear, there is an implied support for MGM.

  • Ruth Bright 8th Mar '13 - 3:27pm

    Graham I am so glad you want to display your feminist credentials, good for you, but the consequences of childbirth for women who have suffered FGM are so horrendous that the comparison with MGM is absurd.

    Congratulations, you are part of a party with 88% male representation, A party where women have been treated so badly that a counselling helpline has had to be set up to help the victims. Good luck convincing the world that the oppression suffered by men is the key issue for Lib Dems on international women’s day.

  • Richard Dean 8th Mar '13 - 5:13pm

    The oppression experienced by men is likely to be one of the causes of the oppression experienced by women, and vice versa. Which would indicate that both are highly relevant topics on all days, including international women’s day.

  • Graham Neale 9th Mar '13 - 11:59pm

    Maybe the degree of suffering for boys and girls varies, but it would be easy to condemn both.

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