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Everybody’s Problem: Violence Against Woman

How can you help this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women?

Everybody’s Problem: Violence Against Woman

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a day created by the United Nations in order to end ongoing brutality and discrimination against women. 

The UN describes it as one of “the most devastating human rights violations”, a statement confirmed by estimates that 763 million women – almost one in three – have been subjected to intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their life.

The latest statistics from UN women based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, “shows that 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity. ”

White Ribbon provides support for victims around the world, including in Australia and New Zealand. The campaign was initially created in Canada 30 years ago in response to a massacre of 14 women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.

A local White Ribbon advocate shared her story of abuse with MiNDFOOD. “At no time did I ever think I’d be involved in a domestic violence situation,” says Penelope Twemlow. “I was a member of the defence force and a trained police officer. I was trained in military self-defence, I hunted the bad guys down, but the minute the situation became personal, I lost all ability to defend myself. I was also embarrassed because I did not see it coming.”

Twemlow now helps individuals, organisations and workplaces better understand gender equality, which has long been thought to have a direct connection to violence against women. 

Simon Earle, a White Ribbon ambassador, says we all need to get on board. “It’s easy to dismiss men’s violence against women as “not my problem” if you’re not personally affected, but in New Zealand, a quarter to a third of women will experience physical violence at the hands of a partner or sexual violence – “It’s everyone’s problem,” he says.

If you are experiencing domestic violence and need assistance, call It’s Not OK on 0800 456 450 or visit areyouok.org.nz.

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