November 25th – December 10th
November 25th is the first day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. This is an annual worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the high prevalence of violence against women around the world, and to encourage the international community to dramatically improve their efforts to protect women and children. The campaign began in 1991 and now includes more than 800 organisations in nearly 100 countries. The time period from November 25 to December 10 encompasses four significant dates: November 25, the International Day Against Violence Against Women; December 1, World AIDS Day; December 6, the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when 14 women engineering students were murdered by a male student; and December 10, Human Rights Day.
Violence against women is a major cause of death and ill health world-wide (including ‘developed’ countries) and an affront to basic human rights. Amnesty International states that violence against women is the world's most pervasive human rights violation, and the world’s lack of action to deal with it is the greatest human rights scandal of our times. From birth to death, in times of peace as well as war, women face discrimination and violence at the hands of the state, the community and the family. Research from the United Nations shows that a quarter of the world’s women are raped during their lifetime. Depending on the country, 25 to 75 % of women are regularly assaulted at home.
In Australia, violence against women is the major cause of illness for women, exceeding all other causes of ill health. Despite the knowledge we now have, this violence appears to be escalating at a frightening pace. Yet in Australia interventions to deal with violence and its effects have been decreased over the last decade in Australia. It is time the Australian public became more educated and aware of the nature of this violence, which afflicts over a third of Australian women who have ever been partnered, and frequently results in debilitating psychological and health effects.
This year NCJWA will hold events to raise awareness of these issues and involve other women’s organisations from the Australian Coalition of Women.
• NSW Section will hold a forum at Council House on 5 December at which Jane Mulroney, Director of the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse, and Monica Mazzone from the NSW Women's Refuge Resource Centre will speak.
• In Adelaide Anne Morris has organised for Marie Hume from the National Abuse Free Contact Campaign to speak to members of Zonta.
As Chair of the Portfolio for Socio-legal Issues/Women & Children I urge all members to support these initiatives.
Information from Anne Morris, NCJWA Portfolio for Socio-legal Issues for Women and Children.