16 Days Campaign 2009

Official Picture of Margaret MartinWOMEN’S AID has been working to address domestic violence for over 30 years.   We know that every day in Ireland women are beaten, raped and trapped in their own homes by those closest to them- their boyfriends, husbands and partners. One in five women in Ireland experience domestic violence and it can affect every woman regardless of age, marital status, class or cultural background. It could be your friend, your sister, your mother. It could be you. Without exception, a woman’s greatest risk of violence is from someone she knows.

The 16 Days Campaign provides us all with the opportunity to break the silence around violence against women. The Women’s Aid logo for the 2009 16 Days Campaign reflects the reality of ‘home’ for 1 in 5 women in Ireland. As part of our 2009 campaign, Women’s Aid will focus on the reality of the abuse many women experience behind closed doors, when the world isn’t looking. We will, through a series of campaign actions, encourage everyone to take part in the campaign and to make women’s voices heard.

We hope you can join with us. By organising events in our local communities that highlight the issue of domestic violence and promote the services available for women, we make the issue visible, we give hope to women who are suffering and we hold perpetrators of abuse to account.

 Click here for an overview of  the Women’s Aid ‘Breaking the Silence’ Campaign.

Support the 16 Days Campaign!

 Margaret Martin, Director, Women’s Aid

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Nominate our blog for Irish Blog Awards 2010

If you have found our blog to be a useful, enlightening, or helpful resource, please take a moment to nominate us in the Irish Blog Awards at http://awards.ie/blogawards/nominations/

You can nominate us under the category ‘Best Political Blog’. The details you need are:

Name of Blog: Ireland 16 Days

URL of blog: http://www.womensaid.ie/16dayscampaign

Blog contact name: Christina Sherlock

Blog contact details: Phone, 01 868 4721; email, 16days@womensaid.ie

Thanks for your support, as always!

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16 Books for 16 Days – Book 16, The Color Purple

This classic, the Color Purple by Alice Walker, is available as all the other books at Chapters Bookstore on Parnell Street. We are very thankful for their cooperation with the 16 Days of Action and I hope that our blog readers have been able to enjoy the recommendations and reads as well. You can keep the poster for future reference and of course pass it on to your contacts as well.

The Color Purple – Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister,” a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.

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Secretary Ban Ki-Moon’s Statement for the 10th December

“Discrimination targets individuals and groups that are vulnerable to attack: the disabled, women and girls, the poor, migrants, minorities, and all those who are perceived as different.

… But these victims of discrimination are not alone. The United Nations is standing with them, committed to defending the rights of all, and particularly the most vulnerable.  That is our identity and our mission.”

For information about Human Rights Day, the 2009 Human Rights Day theme “Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination”, or the UN, visit www.un.org

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Day 16, final day of the 16 Days of Action Campaign!

Today is Day 16 of the 16 Days of Action Campaign, Human Rights Day,  and here are some of the events taking place:

Women’s Aid Events:

  • 16 Facts for 16 Days email campaign (email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721 to sign up)
  • 16 Books for 16 Days in Chapters
  • Women’s Aid Public Awareness Campaign
  • Women’s Aid Online Advertising Campaign
  • Women’s Aid ‘Support a Friend’ Phone Charm Campaign

Events Around Ireland:

  • Near 90 FM’s “A Woman’s Voice” Broadcast
  • Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition continues in Waterford
  • Displays at various venues around Mayo
  • Human Rights in Ireland continue their 16 Days Campaign daily blog
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford, and also in the Mid-West
  • Information Stands are placed around Sligo and Leitrim
  • Aoibhneas Refuge urges all of us to “Step Out of the Shadows”
  • Clare Women’s Network is running a powerful daily poster campaign
  • Galway Rape Crisis Network is running a daily fact campaign
  • Donegal has a poetry and art display
  • The final Art Workshop of the series will take place in Kildare
  • The final Wellness Workshop of the series will also take place in Kildare
  • Tipperary hosts Human Rights Based Training

Cyber Events:

  • Take Back the Tech continue their fabulous campaign with daily actions that are available to everyone! (www.takebackthetech.net)

International Events:

  • Kenya North Rift Women Voices training events in Kenya
  • FemLINKpacific Community Radio Broadcasts in the Figi Islands

There are also lots of messages of support for the Campaign from a variety of important Irish people and organisations, and from some international organisations, explaining why the 16 Days Campaign is so important to each of them. Use these events and campaigns to get involved yourself, and share the information with your friends and family!

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Sinead Desmond, Presenter, Ireland AM, TV3, supports the 16 Days Campaign

Domestic abuse is something we are still afraid to talk about in Ireland. But Women’s Aid is changing that. Their helpline offers real support and the chance to leave behind a life of violent abuse to women who feel as if they have nowhere to turn. Thanks to Women’s Aid, women who are victims of domestic abuse can become survivors of domestic abuse. Whether it be physical or mental or both, whether there are children involved or not.

Domestic abuse is completely and totally unacceptable. No Irish woman should feel they have to remain in a relationship in which they are being abused.

Every year thousands of women pick up the phone and call Women’s Aid and receive the advice, support and knowledge to enable them to start a new life free from the abuse that they have been subjected to.

Domestic abuse happens every day in Ireland, one in five of us will at some stage of our lives be a victim of it. Yet because of the nature of the abuse the average woman will be hit or beaten 35 times before she seeks help; this is not a reflection on the women. Domestic violence is only the fault of the perpetrator, nobody but the men who choose to beat, rape and abuse their wives, girlfriends and partners are to blame for the brutality experienced in one in five Irish homes.

And the fact that women will remain in violent relationships for often long periods of time is due to the all consuming and very real fear that victims live in. Many women are convinced that they will be killed if they even try to leave. Many do not get the chance to leave. Of the 159 female murders in Ireland over the last 13 years over half of the resolved cases were committed by a current or former partner. Every year Irish men subject Irish women to the most awful abuse, and if it were not for organisations like Women’s Aid these women would have nowhere to turn. Thankfully because Women’s Aid reaches out to them they do.

Many of us have seen women struggle to escape domestic abuse and for those of you who have not you may not realise it but chances are you already know someone who is a victim of abuse. It might be one of your friends, a family member or a work colleague. So domestic abuse is an issue for all women, not just those living in fear, which is why I wholeheartedly support the Women’s Aid 16 Days of Action Campaign.

It is time for us to talk about what goes on behind closed doors and to put an end to the abuse. No women should ever have to suffer domestic abuse. But there is life after an abusive relationship, and Women’s Aid helps women to make that journey. If you or someone you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse phone the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 7 Days a week 10am – 10pm. You can make it all end now, just pick up the phone.

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Guest blog from Caroline at Pavee Point

Tessa Collins and Caroline Mullen from Pavee Point VAW Programme are proud to be part of this campaign and would like to update you on our activities over the last 10 days.

We continue to disseminate the 16 days campaign facts daily to our friends and colleagues to ensure that the information is getting out there.  As we mentioned in our opening blog, we would be participating in the events for Traveller Focus Week (TFW) which started on 30th November including a celebration of Pavee Point’s 25th Anniversary. Where possible we linked TFW activities and 16 days of action activities to focus on the issues of VAW and to highlight the barriers facing Traveller women who may want to leave a violent relationship. In their daily lives, Traveller women experience triple discrimination; as women, as Traveller women, and as members of the Traveller community. The layer on top of that for a Traveller women who wants to leave a violent relationship, is the added burden of leaving her extended family, friends and culture behind. The weight of making that decision can never be underestimated. Pavee Point Travellers Centre, in consultation with AKIDWA and the NCCRI produced an information brochure in 2005 which is still relevant today, and a useful resource for understanding some of the issues. It is available on our website www.paveepoint.ie and is entitled “Challenging the misconceptions of violence against minority ethnic women, including Travellers, in Ireland: An information brochure for service providers”.

And so to the campaign – some of our activities included:

Day 1 Began for us with a coffee morning in Pavee Point where we invited members of the Roma community (men and women), some women from AKIDWA, the women of the Primary Health Care for Traveller Project, and all staff from Pavee Point for a coffee and a great pampering session from the Body Shop (free of charge). It was a relaxing morning which gave the groups space to meet and get to know each other better. There were about 60 people present on the day and we hope we can build on these relationships to work together on the issues of VAW in 2010. The sharing between the African women and the Traveller women on the day was particularly striking. We have also committed to working with the Roma group in 2010 on VAW issues. The serious part of the morning was to highlight the campaign – Breaking the Silence 16 days opposing Violence Against women. We tied a line of red bows for the 159 women who died violently in Ireland since 1996, lit a candle and held a minute’s silence to remember them.  Thanks to all participated and to those who generously donated “time and things” to make the day successful – unfortunately they are too numerous to mention here.

Day 8 We were delighted to participate in an information session with staff from the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre during TFW, to discuss some of the issues and barriers that stop Traveller women from using helpline services. It was a productive meeting and we hope to continue to build on this relationship and involve Traveller PHC projects in the new year. 

We also attended the “Key to Breaking the Silence” event organised by the North Inner City Action Group in Mountjoy Square to remember the 159 women who died since 1996. It was a very moving tribute and we stood for them in the driving rain, which made it all the more poignant.

Day 9 The Pavee Point VAW programme continued to keep a focus on the 16 days campaign throughout TFW. We believe that our small contributions have been useful in continuing to “break the silence” within the Traveller community on VAW. For example when we attended the “Pavee Point Anniversary Seminar – Revisiting the Status of Travellers in Irish Society 25 Years On”, we took the opportunity to make and distribute lilac ribbons on the day to highlight the Freedom From Pornography campaign. 

Day 13 We also attended the one day conference and launch of “Rape and Justice in Ireland A national Study of Survivor, Prosecutor and Court Responses to Rape” by Conor Hanly, with Dr. Deirdre Healy and Stacey Scriver. This conference and book launch commissioned by RCNI is important because it increases our knowledge on what is happening in Ireland today in relation to rape and justice.

Tessa Collins has also recorded a 10 min slot for Near FM 16 days campaign to highlight some of the issues relating to VAW for Traveller women.

We feel hopeful that in 2010 we will be able to raise the issue more and continue to “break the silence” throughout the year. Pavee Point Drugs Specific Initiative, Bray Travellers CDP, Daish and Bray Local Drugs task Force launched “Pavees Whiden Drug misuse within the Traveller Community” yesterday. It is tough, honest, and produced to aid discussion, address some of the problems, and educate Travellers and Traveller organisations around the country on this serious issue that is destroying lives. This DVD is a huge step in breaking the silence on the difficult issue of drug misuse in the Traveller community. The Traveller community is demonstrating its desire to deal with tough issues such as drugs and internal conflict – VAW is another of these tough issues.

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16 Books for 16 Days, Book 15: We Were The Mulvaney’s

Day 15: We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (1996)

Elegiac and urgent in tone, Oates’s wrenching 26th novel (after Zombie) is a profound and darkly realistic chronicle of one family’s hubristic heyday and its fall from grace. The wealthy, socially elite Mulvaneys live on historic High Point Farm, near the small upstate town of Mt. Ephraim, N.Y. Before the act of violence that forever destroys it, an idyllic incandescence bathes life on the farm. Hard-working and proud, Michael Mulvaney owns a successful roofing company. His wife, Corinne, who makes a halfhearted attempt at running an antique business, adores her husband and four children, feeling “privileged by God.” Narrator Judd looks up to his older brothers, athletic Mike Jr. (“Mule”) and intellectual Patrick (“Pinch”), and his sister, radiant Marianne, a popular cheerleader who is 17 in 1976 when she is raped by a classmate after a prom. Though the incident is hushed up, everyone in the family becomes a casualty. Guilty and shamed by his reaction to his daughter’s defilement, Mike Sr. can’t bear to look at Marianne, and she is banished from her home, sent to live with a distant relative. The family begins to disintegrate. Mike loses his business and, later, the homestead. The boys and Corinne register their frustration and sadness in different, destructive ways. Valiant, tainted Marianne runs from love and commitment. More than a decade later, there is a surprising denouement, in which Oates accommodates a guardedly optimistic vision of the future. Each family member is complexly rendered and seen against the background of social and cultural conditioning. As with much of Oates’s work, the prose is sometimes prolix, but the very rush of narrative, in which flashbacks capture the same urgency of tone as the present, gives this moving tale its emotional power. 75,000 first printing; author tour. –Publishers Weekly

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Guest blog from Amanda Kelly, Co-ordinator of Laois branch of Amnesty International

 

My name is Amanda Kelly and I am the Co-Ordinator of the Laois branch of Amnesty International. We are supporting Women’s Aid ’16 Days’ campaign. We are part of two events taking place during the 16 days.

On November 30th, Amnesty Ireland’s Executive Director, Colm O’Gorman came to Portlaoise to address Laois County Councillors at their monthly Council Meeting. He asked them to support the call for a Women’s Refuge in the County. The idea was warmly welcomed by the County Councillors. A motion was then passed at that meeting that Laois County Council would advocate the provision of a Women’s Refuge in the county, enabling victims of domestic violence to seek shelter within their own county.  The County Manager is requested to engage with the H.S.E. to pursue the matter.

Yesterday, December 8th saw Laois Amnesty support Laois Support Services for Domestic Violence’s “March of Hope”. The event will started at 3.45 p.m., convening at the Garda Station in Portlaoise and proceeding to the Courthouse. At 4 o’clock, a minute’s silence was observed for the 159 women who died as a result of violence in Ireland since 1996. 159 balloons were released to mark each of their lives. Candles and “Stop Violence Against Women” banners were also carried at the event. I’m glad to say that our event was very well attended. Laois Support Services for Domestic Abuse are an essential and vital element in supporting and assisting victims of domestic abuse in County Laois.    

Continued good wishes with the wonderful work you do. Through your website, you provide groups such as ours, the benefit of your knowledge and statistics, which we can use to raise awareness of your organisation at any ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ event we run locally throughout the year.

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Senator Ivana Bacik calls for debate on Domestic Violence and Rape Law.

Speaking in the Seanad yesterday, Senator Ivana Bacik called for an urgent debate on domestic violence and rape law, saying:

“As we near the end of the Women’s Aid ‘16 Days’ campaign highlighting the incidence of domestic violence, I think we need an urgent debate in this House to discuss the inadequacies in our legislation for protections for victims of domestic violence. We also need to discuss how best to prevent the incidence of such violence.”

Commending the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland for their conference on rape law held Monday 7th December, Senator Bacik said:

“The study launched yesterday and carried out by Conor Hanly and his team from NUI Galway has made the shocking finding that only one third of rape cases reported to the Gardai lead to the taking of criminal prosecutions by the DPP. The study also found that a narrow stereotype of rape victims may be a factor in the low numbers of rape cases proceeding to trial. We need to look at our rape laws, and our prosecution and trial processes generally, to see how to ensure that more complaints of rape are prosecuted within the criminal justice system.”

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Angela O’Neill De Guilio , Regional Director, Concern Worldwide, supports the 16 Days Campaign

 

“Concern Worldwide would like to congratulate Women’s Aid for your annual campaign to raise awareness of the reality of domestic violence and to push for positive change to make women safer in their own homes.  

Violence against women is all pervasive yet very much under recognized as a human rights violation.  In our work internationally, it is a problem of extreme magnitude.  We see that the nature and extend of violence can vary across cultures and countries.  Forms of violence include female genital mutilation, honour killings, acid throwing and dowry killings to name but a few.  Some forms of violence such as domestic violence and rape are endemic across cultures and social strata but violence also has close links with poverty.

For millions of women and girls living in poverty experiencing violence is their reality as they struggle to survive, there are often forced into transactional sex in order to pay for food or school fees, This increases their vulnerability to HIV and other health related problems.

A study conducted by Concern in Malawi found a significant level of violence against girls in school. Violence against young girls attending school is an enormous issue in developing countries. It is not surprising that parents keep their children at home, depriving them of an education because of the fear of violence, that may take place in school or on the way to and from school.

WHO estimates that globally 150 million girls have been raped and suffered other forms of sexual violence. We know that conflict exacerbates the situation further with rape a significant feature of conflicts.  

Concern’s experience informs us that we cannot address poverty without addressing the underlying causes of gender inequality, which is undoubtedly at the root cause of violence against women.  Concern is working with women’s self help groups, which may have an initial focus on economic empowerment leading women to increasing access to resources and decision making in their household whilst also positively impacting on the self esteem and status . The approach requires that the men of the household are engaged with the project.  Engaging men is considered an essential ingredient to bringing about lasting change. 

It is essential that a commitment to ending violence against women exists at all levels from government to institutions at community and family level.   Women and girls need to be empowered to stand up and report violence but a supportive and enabling environment where men are actively engaged and support real change must also exist for action to be taken and change to take place.

The 16 Days of Action is an opportunity to create awareness and renew our commitment to ending violence against women and girls.  Many of Concern’s country teams are carrying out activities and events over the 16 Days.   All our equality champions in our 28 countries of operation will receive the 16 facts for 16 days. Our website will feature the campaign and provide updates from our country programmes; briefing sessions will be held with our staff to create awareness and learn from experiences in other countries.

We are delighted to join with you in this campaign to end violence against women.”

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Day 15 of the Campaign

As the 16 Days Campaign draws to a close, there are still plenty of interesting events taking place:

Women’s Aid Events:

  • 16 Facts for 16 Days email campaign (email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721 to sign up)
  • 16 Books for 16 Days in Chapters
  • Women’s Aid Public Awareness Campaign
  • Women’s Aid Online Advertising Campaign
  • Women’s Aid ‘Support a Friend’ Phone Charm Campaign

Events Around Ireland:

  • Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition continues in Waterford
  • Displays at various venues around Mayo
  • Human Rights in Ireland continue their 16 Days Campaign daily blog
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford, and also in the Mid-West
  • Information Stands are placed around Sligo and Leitrim
  • Aoibhneas Refuge urges all of us to “Step Out of the Shadows”
  • Clare Women’s Network is running a powerful daily poster campaign
  • Galway Rape Crisis Network is running a daily fact campaign
  • Donegal has a poetry and art display

Cyber Events:

  • Take Back the Tech continue their fabulous campaign with daily actions that are available to everyone! (www.takebackthetech.net)

International Events:

  • Kenya North Rift Women Voices training events in Kenya
  • FemLINKpacific Community Radio Broadcasts in the Figi Islands

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Domestic Violence Special Feature, Glow Magazine

GLOW, Ireland’s No.1 Health and Lifestyle Magazine have included an excellent four page special feature on domestic violence in the December/January edition, now in all good newsagents.

The article explores the impact of the recession on women living with domestic violence and steps to guard against financial abuse.  The article goes on to look at how we can help a friend who is experiencing domestic violence.

The article finished with an outline of how Women’s Aid can help women who are being abused as well as ways readers can support the 16 Days of Action Campaign.

Pick up your copy today.

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Guest Blog from “Take Back the Tech!”

Take Back The Tech! is a collaborative campaign that takes place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (25 Nov – 10 Dec). It is a call to everyone – especially women and girls – to take control of technology to end violence against women.

Build the campaign with your thoughts, ideas, words and imagination. Create and share digital postcards. Find out more about the reality of violence against women by watching digital stories. Blog with us. Upload and share video and audio clips. Create your own Take Back The Tech! campaign.

We are past the half-way point of the Take Back The Tech! 16 days of activism campaign, and hope that you’ve managed to find some time to do a couple of the daily actions, or to tweet about them and help pass the word.

We’ve had some amazing TBTT campaigns taking place in many parts of the world. Here’s a quick glimpse into just some of them:

* In Brazil, G2G are organising their fourth TBTT campaign with local actions in the cities of Cachoeira (Bahia state), Campinas, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, feminist solidarity blogging, translating materials, and lots of collaborative action over ICT platforms.

* In Congo, campaigners are organising talks, discussions and workshops on VAW and ICT, blogging and twittering, and staging a play in schools about the issue.

* OneWorld South East Europe is creating lots of different types of creative content including digital stories and online books to generate knowledge, awareness and a buzz around the issue.

* In Pakistan, 16 local actions are being organised throughout the campaign period, including non-stop twittering and collaborative composition of a song against violence.

* And on Second Life, campaigners are staging protests, engaging in panel discussions and organising exhibitions.

Today is another fantastic day to take action 🙂

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Today’s Action: Vote against violence | Say it with symbols

————————————– 

Signs and symbols communicate ideas in powerful ways. They are critical elements of movement building, acting as quick and identifiable signifiers of a common vision and set of principles. When you see the icon of a woman symbol with a fist in the middle, it is immediately understood as feminist. When you put it on a t-shirt or spray it on your bag and wear it, you are claiming the identity and standpoint.

Button badges are an effective vehicle for the communication of symbols, and have a long herstory in women’s movements. Attend any gathering, and chances are, you would have picked up a cool button badge or two that calls for support to an issue you believe in. The small size of the button badge means that strong ideas are condensed into a powerful symbol, icon or statement. Which is also why it works. You can wear it anytime and transform a space by catalysing a train of thought or conversation through the strength of its meaning.

Cast your vote to end violence against women today. Click here to “Say it with a button!”

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16 Books for 16 Days, Book 14: The Woman who walked into Doors

The Woman who walked into Doors by Roddy Doyle

A skillful mixture of buoyant farce and wrenching drama from the popular Irish author (The Commitments, 1987; Bookerwinner Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, 1993, etc.). Doyle’s protagonist and narrator, Paula Spencer, will remind readers of the hilariously feisty, foulmouthed women of his earlier books. Indeed, Paula’s a match for any of them as she recalls episodes from her experiences as competitive sibling and worldly- wise schoolgirl, moonstruck young wife, and, finally, embattled mother. And the core of her adult life is her terrified relationship with abusive husband Charlo, a charismatic monster whose unpredictable swings between tenderness and violence keep the hopeful Paula in a constant state of submissive confusion. (“He loved me and he beat me. I loved him and I took it. It’s as simple as that, and as stupid and complicated.”) Charlo’s uncontrollable thuggishness eventually removes him from her life for good, but that isn’t the end of her trouble. Doyle’s masterly use of jabbing, staccato sentences and emotional repetitions produces a nervous intensity that exactly reproduces how his heroine–and she is that, no other word will do–lives out her imperilled days. The novel is filled with sharply observed, amusingly distinctive characters, including even Paula’s young children. Hardly any other writer alive can create families and neighborhoods full of mutually involved people with such easy authority. And nobody alive uses filthy language with such exuberant expressive virtuosity. Only in the closing pages, when Doyle’s empathy with his character’s plight takes on some of the righteous quality of a case study, does the grip falter. Even so, few readers will be able to look away even for a moment. Some may object that Doyle, having perfected a winning formula, is merely writing the same raucous story of small-town Irish life over and over. Well, let them. It’s a bloody wonderful story. –Kirkus Reviews

Know this classic? Pick up the sequel, Paula Spencer.

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Day 14 of the 16 Days of Action Campaign

Today is Day 14 of the 16 Days of Action Campaign and here are some of the events taking place:

Women’s Aid Events:

  • 16 Facts for 16 Days email campaign (email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721 to sign up)
  • 16 Books for 16 Days in Chapters
  • Women’s Aid Public Awareness Campaign
  • Women’s Aid Online Advertising Campaign
  • Women’s Aid ‘Support a Friend’ Phone Charm Campaign

Events Around Ireland:

  • Information Stand and Ribbon Display in McDonagh Junction, Kilkenny
  • The ‘Lantern Experience’ in Belmullet
  • March of Hope in Portlaoise
  • Near 90 FM’s “A Woman’s Voice” Broadcast
  • Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition continues in Waterford
  • Displays at various venues around Mayo
  • Human Rights in Ireland continue their 16 Days Campaign daily blog
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford, and also in the Mid-West
  • Information Stands are placed around Sligo and Leitrim
  • Aoibhneas Refuge urges all of us to “Step Out of the Shadows”
  • Clare Women’s Network is running a powerful daily poster campaign
  • Galway Rape Crisis Network is running a daily fact campaign
  • Donegal has a poetry and art display

Cyber Events:

  • Take Back the Tech continue their fabulous campaign with daily actions that are available to everyone! (www.takebackthetech.net)

International Events:

  • Kenya North Rift Women Voices training events in Kenya
  • FemLINKpacific Community Radio Broadcasts in the Figi Islands

There are also lots of messages of support for the Campaign from a variety of important Irish people and organisations, and from some international organisations, explaining why the 16 Days Campaign is so important to each of them. Use any of these events and campaigns as a way to get involved yourself, and share the information with your friends and family!

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Joyce Loughnan, CEO of Focus Ireland, supports the 16 Days Campaign

Domestic violence is a major cause of women and children becoming homeless in Ireland.   Focus Ireland is committed to ensuring that those who experience domestic violence are supported out from being homeless to a place they can call home.  We are also committed to working with others to address the root causes of domestic violence in order to prevent people becoming homeless. Women’s Aid 16 Days Campaign is an important initiative which not only highlights the scale of the issue but focuses the attention of both the public and service providers to do everything in our power to end domestic violence.

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16 Facts for 16 Days – Days 10-12

Day 10: Domestic Violence and the legal system

Only 29% of women who had experienced severe abuse had reported it to An Garda Síochána.

[National Crime Council and ESRI, Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland, 2005]

In 2008, there were 10,401 applications for protective orders under the Domestic Violence Act (1996).  3,096 barring orders were applied for and 1,251 were granted. In the same year 1,502 Safety Orders were granted, 617 were refused and 1,209 struck out/withdrawn. 2,955 protection orders were granted whilst 256 were refused and 138 struck out/withdrawn.

[Central Statistics Office (2009) Court Services Statistics for 2008]

There were 1,184 incidents of Breaching Domestic Violence Orders Offences in 2006. This resulted in 349 convictions.  95% of persons convicted were male. 

[Central Statistics Office (2008) Garda Recorded Crime Statistics 2003-2006]

National research carried out in 1999 found that between 1% and 6% of domestic violence offenders in Ireland receive a prison sentence.

[Kelleher & O’Connor, Safety and Sanctions, Women’s Aid, 1999]

Click here for a message of support from Senator Ivana Bacik and to read Karen’s story.

Day 11: Obstacles to Leaving

Almost a fifth (18%) of callers to the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline in 2008 disclosed that they were abused by an ex-spouse or partner.  The types of abuse disclosed after the relationship has ended included: physical and sexual assaults, stalking, publicly humiliating the woman, and damage to her new home and property.

[Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline & Support Services Annual Statistics 2008]

In 2008, women could not be accommodated at refuge on more than 1,722 recorded occasions..

[SAFE Ireland (2009) 2008 Annual Statistics]

In Making the Links, the single biggest reason why women did not leave violent partners was having nowhere to go (88%). 44% of women cited fear of further violence as their reason for not leaving.

[O’Connor, M, & Kelleher Associates, Making the Links, Women’s Aid, 1995]

30% of victims who disclosed being severely abused said that the abuse continued after the relationship had ended.

[National Crime Council & ESRI (2005) Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland]

Click here for a message of support from Sharon O’Halloran and to read Geraldine’s story.

Day 12: Trafficking & Sexual Exploitation

Between January 2007 and September 2008, 102 women were identified by ten services as being trafficked into or through Ireland. These women were aware of a further 64 women who were trafficked into Ireland.  None of the 102 women knew they were specifically being recruited for the sex industry.

[Kelleher Associates (2009) Globalisation, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution: The Experiences of Migrant  Women in Ireland, Dublin: Immigrant Council of Ireland.]

Approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders. Approximately 80% of these people are women and girls and up to 50% are minors.  The majority of these women and girls are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation.

[Trafficking in Persons Report, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, US Department of State, June 2007]

The annual global profits made from human trafficking for forced commercial sexual exploitation are estimated at US$27.8billion.

[Forced Labour and Human Trafficking: Estimating the Profits Working Paper, ILO, Geneva, 2005]

1 in 15 men in Ireland reported that they buy sex. 25% of men who bought sex stated that they had met a woman who they felt was being forced into prostitution.

[Layte et al (2006) The Irish Study of Sexual Health & Relationships, Dublin: Crisis Pregnaqncy Agency & Department of Health & Children; Escort Surveys  (2006) Irish Escort Client Surveys]

In a study of 30 women engaged in street prostitution in Dublin, 80% had been attacked while working in prostitution. Of these, nearly half (48%) had been assaulted by a partner.

[Haughey & Bacik (2000) Final Report: A Study of Prostitution in Dublin, Law School, Trinity College Dublin]

Click here for a message of support from Denise Charlton and to read Tatyana’s story.

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16 Books for 16 Days- Day 13, Lucky by Alice Seobold

Lucky by Alice Seobold is available at Chapters Bookstore on Parnell Street.

When Sebold was a college freshman at Syracuse University, she was attacked and raped on the last night of school, forced onto the ground in a tunnel “among the dead leaves and broken beer bottles.” In a ham-handed attempt to mollify her, a policeman later told her that a young woman had been murdered there and, by comparison, Sebold should consider herself lucky. That dubious “luck” is the focus of this fiercely observed memoir about how an incident of such profound violence can change the course of one’s life. Sebold launches her memoir headlong into the rape itself, laying out its visceral physical as well as mental violence, and from there spins a narrative of her life before and after the incident, weaving memories of parental alcoholism together with her post-rape addiction to heroin. In the midst of each wrenching episode, from the initial attack to the ensuing courtroom drama, Sebold’s wit is as powerful as her searing candor, as she describes her emotional denial, her addiction and even the rape (her first “real” sexual experience). She skillfully captures evocative moments, such as, during her girlhood, luring one of her family’s basset hounds onto a blue silk sofa (strictly off-limits to both kids and pets) to nettle her father. Addressing rape as a larger social issue, Sebold’s account reveals that there are clear emotional boundaries between those who have been victims of violence and those who have not, though the author attempts to blur these lines as much as possible to show that violence touches many more lives than solely the victim’s. – Publisher’s Weekly

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Amber sets up Information Stand at McDonagh Junction

McDonagh Junction will be the venue of an Information Stand on Tuesday 8th December from 11am to 3pm. There will be information about the 16 Days Campaign, as well as information about Amber (Kilkenny Women’s Refuge) available. In addition to the stand, there will be a ribbon display with each ribbon representing a woman who has been murdered in Ireland since 1996. Please pop over to the stand and show your support!

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COPE Galway Waterside House Poster Campaign

On Friday 27th November, COPE Galway, Waterside House launched its poster campaign. The campaign was launched by the Connaught Rugby squad with the tagline “REAL MEN SAY THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN”. The reference to “REAL MEN” is to draw attenstion to the fact that in general sportsmen provide very positive role models for many men and as such thay are ideally placed to deliver powerful messages about men’s behaviour.

Further information is available at 091-565985 or watersidehouse@copegalway.ie

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Web Women’s Group remember murdered women

Web Women’s Group will be releasing 159 balloons on the steps of the Holy Redeemer Church, Main St. Bray, Co. Wicklow on Human Rights Day, Thursday 10th December at mid day. One minutes silence will be held to remember the 159 women murdered in Ireland since 1996. The event will be launched by Paddy Cole, one of Ireland’s most respected musicians and everyone is invited to come along, release a balloon and join the group for tea and coffee after the event.

Further information is available form ellyfairbairn@hotmail.com

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Laura Whitmore, Presenter MTV supports the 16 Days Campaign

“I have always been an advocate of women’s equality even before I acted as Woman’s Equality officer on my student’s union in college. I’ve learned that domestic violence can happen in any age bracket or social group. ‘One in five women in Ireland experience domestic violence’ – that means whether we realise it or not someone we know has been affected by it. Scary but true.

The work and awareness raised by Women’s Aid is vital in supporting the many women who experience violence behind closed doors.  It is disgusting to think that so many women suffer at the hands of those closest to them. This campaign gives silenced women a voice and I am delighted to support it in any way I can.

On 25th November 2009, we will mark the 10th anniversary of the UN recognition of this day for the elimination of violence against women. This is a time for us not only to contemplate the progress made towards combating domestic violence but  also for us to consider the sobering reality that there still remains much work to be done.”

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Day 13 of the Campaign

Women’s Aid Events:

  • 16 Facts for 16 Days email campaign (email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721 to sign up)
  • 16 Books for 16 Days in Chapters Bookstore on Parnell Street, Dublin 1
  • Women’s Aid Online Advertising Campaign
  • Women’s Aid ‘Support a Friend’ Phone Charm Campaign

Events Around Ireland:

  • “Rape & Justice in Ireland” conference in Dublin
  • Launch of “We can break the Silence” in Longford
  • Launch of “Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition “in Waterford
  • Lilac Ribbon Freedom from Pornography Campaign in Dublin
  • Displays at various venues around Mayo
  • Human Rights in Ireland continue their 16 Days Campaign daily Blog
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford, and also in the Mid-West
  • Information Stands are placed around Sligo and Leitrim
  • Aoibhneas Refuge urges all of us to “Step Out of the Shadows”
  • Clare Women’s Network is running a powerful daily poster campaign
  • Galway Rape Crisis Network is running a daily fact campaign
  • Donegal has a poetry and art display

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16 Books for 16 Days, Book 12: Beyond the Tears, A Survivor’s Story

Beyond the tears: A Survivors Story by Lynn Tolson

Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story begins with the suicide attempt of an abused and addicted twenty-five-year-old woman. In the aftermath, she commits to counseling to recover from anxiety and depression.  The author engages the reader in the therapy sessions, where the young woman reveals dysfunctional family relationships, including mental illness, domestic violence, and sexual abuse. The reader not only views the horrors that caused the author’s hopeless condition, but also experiences the wisdom that lead to health and happiness. Due to the therapeutic process, the woman discovers a path to love and the value of life, and she ultimately achieves a life that reflects health and happiness. By sharing the problems and solutions discussed in counseling, the author provides a message of hope.  – librarything.com

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Denise Charlton, CEO, Immigrant Council of Ireland supports the 16 Days

 

“As a society, we cannot ignore the issue of domestic violence when the Women’s Aid Helpline was contacted by over 15,000 women in 2008 who reported physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse. The annual Women’s Aid 16 Facts for 16 Days campaign plays an important role in reminding us of the continuing reality of violence against women in our society.

A particular focus for the Immigrant Council of Ireland is the trafficking of women into Ireland for sexual exploitation. In April 2009, we published the results of research which identified 102 women trafficked into or through Ireland between January 2007 and September 2008. The research examined the highly lucrative sex industry in Ireland and the experience of the women exploited within it. It revealed the horrific violence and control mechanisms to which these women are subjected including systematic sexual exploitation and rape. The stories of these women are stories of captivity, isolation, shame, betrayal and violence.

Day 12 of the 16 Days Campaign deals with Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. We hope that the messages on this day regarding the shocking reality of human trafficking will spur many on to take action on this cause. During 2010, the Immigrant Council of Ireland will continue to advocate for appropriate service provision for women who are victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation to enable them to safely escape their dreadful situations of exploitation. We will also be launching a campaign to criminalise the purchase of sex as we believe that only by tackling the demand for paid sex in Ireland will be able to successfully reduce the numbers of women being trafficked to Ireland for sexual exploitation.”

 

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Day 11 of the 16 Days of Action

Women’s Aid Events:

  • 16 Facts for 16 Days email campaign (email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721 to sign up)
  • 16 Books for 16 Days in Chapters Bookstore on Parnell Street, Dublin 1
  • Women’s Aid Online Advertising Campaign
  • Women’s Aid ‘Support a Friend’ Phone Charm Campaign

Events Around Ireland:

  • Lilac Ribbon Freedom from Pornography Campaign in Dublin
  • Near 90 FM’s “A Woman’s Voice” Broadcast
  • Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition continues in Wexford
  • Displays at various venues around Mayo
  • Human Rights in Ireland continue their 16 Days Campaign daily Blog
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford, and also in the Mid-West
  • Information Stands are placed around Sligo and Leitrim
  • Aoibhneas Refuge urges all of us to “Step Out of the Shadows”
  • Clare Women’s Network is running a powerful daily poster campaign
  • Galway Rape Crisis Network is running a daily fact campaign
  • Donegal has a poetry and art display

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16 Books for 16 Days – Book 11: The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton

The Speckled People: A Memoir of a Half-Irish Childhood, by Hugo Hamilton

“I know what it’s like to lose, because I’m Irish and I’m German,” explains Hamilton in this beautiful memoir of a mixed childhood in the years after WWII. Hamilton’s father says they are speckled, breac in Gaelic: spotted like a trout. With an Irish father and a German mother, Hamilton comes to Ireland as a boy in the 1950s and finds a homeland that will never fully accept him. Other children call him “Kraut” and “Nazi” and taunt him with “Sieg Heil!” salutes. Yet Hamilton is in many ways more Irish than they. His father never allows him to speak English and insists the family use the Gaelic form of their last name (O hUrmoltaigh), which many of their neighbors can’t even pronounce. Despite these efforts, Hamilton knows, “we’ll never be Irish enough.” There is much in this Irish memoir that’s familiar to the genre: the dark, overwhelming father; the tragic mother; the odd mix of patriotism and self-loathing (“the hunger strike and Irish coffee” are the country’s greatest inventions, Hamilton’s father says). But the book is never cliched, thanks largely to Hamilton’s frankly poetic language and masterful portrait of childhood. This is really a book about how children see the world: the silent otherworld at the bottom of a swimming pool, the terror of a swarm of bees, the strangeness of a city transformed by snow. By turns lyrical and elegiac, this memoir is an absorbing record of a unique childhood and a vanishing heritage. -Publishers Weekly

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Sharon O’Halloran, Director, SAFE Ireland supports the 16 Days

Sharon O’Halloran, Director o SAFE Ireland stated: “Our members, including Women’s Aid, work every day with the enormous reality of domestic violence in Ireland. In addition to helpline calls, over 6,000 women accessed face to face contact with domestic violence services in 2008.

During one day in November 2008 we know that 263 women and 216 children accessed our members’ domestic violence services throughout Ireland. 135 of these women and 176 of these children were accommodated in refuges or transitional housing because they were homeless as a result of domestic violence and they needed to access safety.

Domestic violence is a significant cause of homelessness in Ireland. Specialist domestic violence services provide women with access to safety as well as supporting women with a broad range of needs. In 2008, women accessing our members’ services have told us that as a result of accessing refuges in Ireland they and their children are safer, they have more ways to protect their children and themselves from their partner/ex partner, they have more information, confidence and a greater understanding about the causes of domestic violence and they are better able to deal with the impact of domestic violence in their lives.”

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the critical services provided by our 40 members throughout the country and to say to women that you do not have to suffer alon; there are specialised confidential domestic violence support services in your area. Also you can call Women’s Aid (National Freephone) Helpline who have details of your nearest support service.”

Learn more about the work of SAFE Ireland members and see recent publications at http://www.safeireland.ie

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Day 10 of the 16 Days of Action Campaign

Today is Day 10 of the Campaign, Freedom From Pornography Day, and here are some of the events taking place:

Women’s Aid Events:

  • 16 Facts for 16 Days email campaign (email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721 to sign up)
  • 16 Books for 16 Days in Chapters
  • Women’s Aid Public Awareness Campaign
  • Women’s Aid Online Advertising Campaign
  • Women’s Aid ‘Support a Friend’ Phone Charm Campaign

Events Around Ireland:

  • Coffee Morning and Poster Display in Athy
  • Wellness Workshop in Kildare
  • Lilac Ribbon Campaign begins in Dublin
  • Near 90 FM’s “A Woman’s Voice” Broadcast
  • Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition continues in Wexford
  • Displays at various venues around Mayo
  • Human Rights in Ireland continue their 16 Days Campaign daily Blog
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford, and also in the Mid-West
  • Information Stands are placed around Sligo and Leitrim
  • Aoibhneas Refuge urges all of us to “Step Out of the Shadows”
  • Clare Women’s Network is running a powerful daily poster campaign
  • Galway Rape Crisis Network is running a daily fact campaign
  • Donegal has a poetry and art display

International Events:

  • Kenya North Rift Women Voices training events in Kenya
  • FemLINKpacific Community Radio Broadcasts in the Figi Islands

There are also several messages of support for the Campaign from a variety of important Irish people and organisations, and from some international organisations, explaining why the 16 Days Campaign is so important to each of them. Use any of these events and campaigns as a way to get involved yourself, and share the information with your friends and family!

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Senator Ivana Bacik supports the 16 Days Campaign

I very much support the good work that Women’s Aid does in supporting victims and survivors of domestic violence. However, I am very concerned at the inadequacies of the legal system in responding to those victims of domestic violence, and in particular I am very concerned at the low levels of reporting of severe abuse to the Garda Síochána by women who are victims of domestic violence. I believe that an urgent review is required of the response of the criminal justice system to women who experience domestic violence, as there are clearly inadequate levels of support available to those women.

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16 Books for 16 Days – Book 10: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon, is now available at Chapters along with the rest of the 16 books. Pick one up this weekend! You can also pass on the 16 Books recommendations with this flyer.

Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive “theory of mind” by which most of us sense what’s going on in other people’s heads. When his neighbor’s poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents’ broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns (“4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don’t speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don’t eat my lunch and Take No Risks”). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. Though Christopher insists, “This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them,” the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice. –Publisher’s Weekly

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16 Facts for 16 Days – Days 7-9

Day 7: Domestic Violence and Health/Pregnancy

Women who have experienced domestic violence are at an increased risk of depression and suicide attempts; physical injuries; psychosomatic disorders; unwanted pregnancies; HIV and other STDs; being killed by a partner.

[World Health Organisation, World Report on Violence and Health, 2002]

International research shows that 25% of women who experience domestic violence are physically assaulted for the first time during pregnancy.

[[RCM (2006) Royal College of Midwives UK Domestic Abuse: A Position Paper]

5% of women in Ireland who experienced severe abuse in an intimate relationship suffered a miscarriage as a result of the abuse.

[National Crime Council and ESRI, Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland, 2005]

A study conducted by the Rotunda Maternity Hospital found that in a sample of 400 pregnant women, 1 in 8 had experienced abuse while they were pregnant.

[O’Donnell S, Fitzpatrick John M, McKenna PF, Abuse in Pregnancy – The Experience of Women, Nov 2000, Vol.98, No. 8]

Click here to see a message of support from Sam Coulter Smith and to read Aoife’s story.

Day 8: Domestic Violence & Injury

In 2008, there were 3,355 incidents of physical abuse disclosed to the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline. Reported physical abuse included being gagged and beaten; held down and choked to the point of unconsciousness; severely bitten; having chunks of hair fall out after being pulled around by it; and attempts at setting the woman on fire.

[Women’s Aid National Helpline and Support Services Annual Statistics Report 2008]

49% of women injured by their partner’s violence required medical treatment and 10% required a hospital stay.

[National Crime Council and ESRI, Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland, 2005]

Irish research found that of women who had experienced violent behaviour, 46% had been injured. Serious violent incidents were common, 10% of women were punched in the face; 10% punched or kicked on the body, arms, or legs; 9% choked; and 9% forced to have sex.

[Bradley, F, et al. (2002) Reported Frequency of Domestic Violence; Cross sectional survey of women attending general practice. British Medical Journal; Vol. 324]

For women aged 15-44 worldwide, acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined.

[WHO (1997) Violence Against Women: A Priority Health Issue]

Click here to see a message of support from Sonya Lennon and to read Fiona’s story.

Day 9: The Economic Cost of Domestic Violence

The estimated economic cost of domestic violence to the Irish economy is €2.2billion a year. This is based on the Council of Europe (COE) figure that domestic violence costs each member state €555 per citizen (amounting to a total cost of €33 billion for the whole COE) annually in policing, health bills, lost productivity and court procedures.

[Ahern, TD, Dermot, Minister for Justice, speaking at the International Conference on Domestic Violence, Waterford, May 2008, quoted in ‘Domestic Violence costs the country €2.2bn’, The Irish Examiner, 30.5.08]

In Northern Ireland, £180,000,000 is the estimated total annual cost of domestic violence.

[Joint NIO/DHSSPS Strategy (2005) Tackling Violence at Home]

In Australia, it is estimated that if domestic violence against women was eliminated, potential costs savings of $207 million in the health sector and $1,801 million in production and leisure costs could be realised over time.

[Cadilhac, DA et al (2009) The health and economic benefits of reducing disease factors, Deakin University]

Click here to see a message of support from Claire Byrne and to read the specific costs of domestic violence in the UK.

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16 Books for 16 Days – Day 9: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

Pick up a copy of Purple Hibiscus by Chimamand Ngozi Adiche at Chapters on Parnell Street where you can find all the 16 Books. This is one you’ll not want to miss!

By turns luminous and horrific, this debut ensnares the reader from the first page and lingers in the memory long after its tragic end. First-person narrator Kambili Achike is a 15-year-old Nigerian girl growing up in sheltered privilege in a country ravaged by political strife and personal struggle. She and her brother, Jaja, and their quiet mother, who speaks “the way a bird eats, in small amounts,” live this life of luxury because Kambili’s father is a wealthy man who owns factories, publishes a politically outspoken newspaper and outwardly leads the moral, humble life of a faithful Catholic. The many grateful citizens who have received his blessings and material assistance call him omelora, “The One Who Does for the Community.” Yet Kambili, Jaja and their mother see a side to their provider no one else does: he is also a religious fanatic who regularly and viciously beats his family for the mildest infractions of his interpretation of an exemplary Christian life. The children know better than to discuss their home life with anyone else; “there was so much that we never told.” But when they are unexpectedly allowed to visit their liberated and loving Aunty Ifeoma, a widowed university professor raising three children, family secrets and tensions bubble dangerously to the surface, setting in motion a chain of events that allow Kambili to slowly blossom as she begins to question the authority of the precepts and adults she once held sacred. In a soft, searing voice, Adichie examines the complexities of family, faith and country through the haunted but hopeful eyes of a young girl on the cusp of womanhood. Lush, cadenced and often disconcerting, this is an accomplished first effort. – Publishers Weekly

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16 Books for 16 Days – Book 8: Domestic Violence (Poems) by Eavan Boland

Stop in to Chapters and get a copy of Domestic Violence (Poems) by Eavan Boland.

“Ireland’s greatest woman writer is in top form as she dissects the connection between interpersonal and international violence, and the passive and frightened silences that permit them to continue. The stunning title poem begs to be anthologized for the next century, weaving as it does a tight connection between an ordinary neighborhood’s refusal to acknowledge the battery of a wife and the nation’s inability to come to terms with sectarian violence: “Nothing we said / not then, not later, / fathomed what it is / is wrong in the lives of those who hate each other.” Still, Boland doesn’t deny the comfort that such deliberate ignorance provides, “We lived our lives, were happy, stayed as one.” One of her strengths is this unflinchingness, an unwillingness to move toward simple polemic while continuing to make political, social, and especially gender problems central. Ireland remains Boland’s landscape of the heart, but like the Ireland of Joyce, it becomes transformed into a mythic place of loves and intimate horrors, an Atlantis sunk in memory and dreams.” Patricia Monaghan, American Library Association.

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Guest Blog by Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid have contributed a Guest Blog to the “Voices from the 2009 16 Days Campaign.” This  campaign is  organised by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership who are using this occasion to acknowledge the work of different organisations worldwide for their commitment to ending violence against women.

Women’s Aid guest blog can be viewed here:

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Day 9 of the Campaign

Today is Day 9 of the Campaign and here is a flavour of the events taking place in Ireland and abroad:

Women’s Aid Events:

  • 16 Facts for 16 Days email campaign (email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721 to sign up)
  • 16 Books for 16 Days in Chapters
  • Women’s Aid Public Awareness Campaign
  • Media Briefing Notes

 

  • In Ireland: 
  •  Art Workshops in Newbridge family Resource Centre
  • Tipperary Women’s Network Human Rights based Training Event
  • Information Session at the Immigrant Council of Ireland 
  • Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition continues in Wexford
  • Displays at various venues around Mayo
  • Human Rights in Ireland continue their 16 Days Campaign daily Blog
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford, and also in the Mid-West
  • Information Stands are placed around Sligo and Leitrim
  • Aoibhneas Refuge is urging us all to “Step Out of the Shadows”
  • Clare Women’s Network is running a powerful daily poster campaign
  • Galway Rape Crisis Network is running a daily fact campaign
  • Donegal has a poetry and art display

 

  • Internationally:
  • Kenya North Rift Women Voices training events in Kenya
  • FemLINKpacific Community Radio Broadcasts in Figi Islands

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Claire Byrne, Journalist, Broadcaster and MC supports the 16 Days Campaign

“As the economic crisis deepens, stress on families and relationships increases also, along with the risk of violence and abuse. The 16 Days of Action Opposing Violence against Women is a vital tool in encouraging women to talk about abuse and seek help. The success of the Days of Action campaign lies in the communities around the country that support and promote it. Every time we talk about it openly, it might just encourage a woman who is being subjected to daily terror in the home to speak about it too.”

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Fashion Stylist and TV Presenter Sonya Lennon supports the 16 Days Campaign

“One thing I know, through the course of my life and my work is the fragility of the human spirit. Most of us want to love and be loved. But sometimes life is not that kind, and it is our sensitivity and willingness to please, the very core of our womanhood, that is targeted and exploited as a weakness.

Normality happens insidiously.  A domestic situation that you would have considered unthinkable a decade previously, can happen slowly and increasingly over the course of a decade.

Tiny chips chiseled away from your strength, jibes and knocks and putdowns leave strong and intelligent women weak and completely devoid of confidence. Somehow, sometimes, we look back at the woman we were, and cannot recognize her in the woman we have become.

So many women are left emotionally and physically bruised by weak and cowardly men and this is happening across the full span of our society, regardless of age or status.

Another thing I know is the resilience of the human spirit and the very willingness that was abused can be harnessed as the strength to pull us out of the darkest place. I am constantly amazed by the courage of women who break out of destructive patterns and relationships to find new lives for themselves. Positive affirmations and the strength and belief of others are the artillery needed to rebuild the spirit and bravely begin again.

The first step to change is to confide in someone that you trust, if you look around you and can’t see that person, let Women’s Aid help you.

Women’s Aid provide vital practical, professional and psychological support to the victims of domestic abuse.

The woman you were is in there and deserves to have her time to shine again.”

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Day 8 of the Campaign

Today is Day 8 of the Campaign and here are some of the events taking place:

Women’s Aid Events:

  • 16 Facts for 16 Days email campaign (email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721 to sign up)
  • 16 Books for 16 Days in Chapters
  • Women’s Aid Public Awareness Campaign
  • Media Briefing Notes

 

  • In Ireland:
  • Commomoration at Mountjoy Square Dublin for 159 women murdered violently
  • Coffee morning in Louth County Museum   
  • Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition continues in Wexford
  • Displays at various venues around Mayo
  • Human Rights in Ireland continue their 16 Days Campaign daily Blog
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford, and also in the Mid-West
  • Information Stands are placed around Sligo and Leitrim
  • Aoibhneas Refuge is urging us all to “Step Out of the Shadows”
  • Clare Women’s Network is running a powerful daily poster campaign
  • Galway Rape Crisis Network is running a daily fact campaign
  • Donegal has a poetry and art display

 

  • Internationally:
  • Kenya North Rift Women Voices training events in Kenya
  • FemLINKpacific Community Radio Broadcasts in Figi Islands

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16 Facts Email Awareness Campaign: Days 4-6

Thousands of people receive the daily ‘16 Facts for 16 Days’ email from Women’s Aid which contains the latest national and international statistics on violence against women, messages of support for the campaign and women’s accounts of abuse.  Women’s Aid encourage recipients to forward the emails to friends, supporters, and members during the campaign.  If you’d like to get the 16 Facts for 16 Days email direct to your inbox sign up today – email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721.

Day 4: Domestic Violence and Minority Ethnic Women

In 2008, minority ethnic women represented nearly 20% of Women’s Aid Support Service users.

[Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline and Support Services Annual Statistics 2008]

37% of women accessing and leaving refuge were Travellers, 6% black and 2% Asian. It is important not to draw conclusions about levels or severity of domestic violence amongst particular minority ethnic communities given some appear ‘over-represented’ in refuge provision. Instead it shows that minority women face additional barriers to obtaining long-term safety and lack other possible options than emergency accommodation.

[SAFE Ireland (2009) Safety & Change: A national study of support needs and outcomes for women accessing refuge provision in Ireland]

Minority ethnic women only comprise appr. 5% of Ireland’s population, but represented 13% of those seeking services from gender-based violence organisations. Traveller women make up 0.5% of population but represent 15% of service users.

[The Women’s Health Council (2009) Translating Pain Into Action: A study of Gender-based Violence and Minority Ethnic Women in Ireland.]

Barriers to fulfilling minority ethnic women’s needs identified by gender-based violence services and minority ethnic organisations were: inadequate resources, absence of staff training, and the Habitual Residence Condition. Most GBV organisations identified language and the absence of interpretation services as barriers.

The Women’s Health Council (2009) Translating Pain Into Action: A study of Gender-based Violence and Minority Ethnic Women in Ireland.]

Click here to see a message of support from Colm O’Gorman and read one woman’s story.

Day 5: Domestic Violence: A pattern, not an isolated event

Irish research found that 24% of women who had experienced domestic violence reported experiencing one form of violence, 25% had experienced two or three types of violence, 20% had experienced four to seven types of violence and 31% had experience eight or more types.

[Bradley, F, et al. (2002) Reported Frequency of Domestic Violence; Cross sectional survey of women attending general practice. British Medical Journal; Vol. 324]

Almost three quarters of incidents of domestic violence (73%) involve repeat offending, with over one in four victims (27%) attacked three or more times.

[Third Special Report: Domestic Violence, Forced Marriage and “Honour”-Based Violence, House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, 31st October 2008.]

Domestic violence has the highest rate of repeat victimisation of any type of crime. 42% of women disclosed being victimised more than once and almost 1 in 4 women (23%) reported being attacked 3 or more times.

[ 2000 British Crime Survey: England and Wales, Home Office]

Click here to see a message of support from An Garda Síochána and to read one woman’s story.

Day 6: Domestic Violence & Children

In 2008, there were 1,829 specific incidents of child abuse disclosed to the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline.  Abuse of children ranged from physical violence (pushing down stairs, attempted stabbing) to threatening to place the children in foster care and forcing children to eat off the floor.  In an additional 3,408 calls it was directly disclosed that children were living with domestic violence against their mother.

[Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline and Support Services Annual Statistics 2008]

In 2003, 3 out of 4 women who were accommodated in refuge were accompanied by one or more children.

[National Crime Council and ESRI, Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland, 2005]

In the UK, nearly 75% of children on the ‘at risk’ register live in households where domestic violence occurs.

[UK Department of Health, 2002]

An overview of research studies found that in between 30-66% of cases, the same perpetrator is abusing both the mother and the children.

[Edleson, J., Children’s witnessing of adult domestic violence, Journal of Interpersonal Violence,  vol. 14.  839-870, 1999]

Click here to see a message of support from Fergus Finlay and to read about one child’s experience of domestic violence.

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Women’s Aid 16 Days Online Advertising Campaign

As part of the 16 Days of Action Campaign Women’s Aid has begun an online advertising campaign to promote our National Freephone Helpline and Support Services.  The campaign is supported by the Avon Speak Out against Domestic Violence Campaign and also by COSC, The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence

The ads have been placed on various sites that are popular with women including parenting sites like www.rollercoaster.ie and www.eumom.ie as well as fashion and style sites like www.ivenus.com and www.ireland.com/style.

We have also placed ads for Women’s Aid and the 16 Days Campaign on www.activelink.ie and www.facebook.com.

We can already see an increase in traffic to our website and we hope that this online advertising campaign promotes our services widely among women in Ireland who are experiencing domestic violence or to those who know someone being abused.

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Women’s Aid ‘Support A Friend’ Phone Charm Campaign

Women’s Aid has launched its 16 Days Public Awareness Campaign to promote its National Freephone Helpline.  The ‘Support a Friend’ Phone charm Campaign targets the friends and family of women affected by domestic violence.  The advice card that accompanies the charm offers practical information on how to support a loved one living with abuse.  Thousands of the phone charms will be distributed free of charge to Gardaí, maternity hospitals, community groups, libraries, local and national elected representatives, citizen information centres, family resource centres and women’s support services over the coming days.  They will also be available in our two Dublin Wa Wa charity shops in Aungier Street and Dundrum.  The phone charms will be given out in 21 third level institutions as part of a dedicated Union of Students of Ireland (USI) day of action on the last day of the campaign (10th December, International Human Rights Day).

Speaking in support of the campaign, Sinéad Desmond, co-anchor of Ireland AM on TV3, said: “Domestic abuse is something we are still afraid to talk about in Ireland. But Women’s Aid is changing that. Their helpline offers real support and the chance to leave behind a life of violent abuse to women who feel as if they have nowhere to turn. Thanks to Women’s Aid, women who are victims of domestic abuse can become survivors of domestic abuse.”

The continued: “Many of us have seen women struggle to escape domestic abuse and for those of you who have not you may not realise it but chances are you already know someone who is a victim of abuse. It might be one of your friends, a family member or a work colleague. So domestic abuse is an issue for all women, not just those living in fear, which is why I wholeheartedly support the Women’s Aid 16 Days of Action Campaign.”

“It is time for us to talk about what goes on behind closed doors and to put an end to the abuse. No women should ever have to suffer domestic abuse. But there is life after an abusive relationship, and Women’s Aid helps women to make that journey. If you or someone you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse phone the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 7 Days a week 10am – 10pm. You can make it all end now, just pick up the phone.”

At the launch, Sarah Benson, Manager of the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline said, “Every day in Ireland women are raped, beaten and abused by those closest to them – their boyfriends, partners and husbands.  One in five women in Ireland experience domestic violence.  Research shows that, quite often, the first person a woman living with abuse speaks to is to a member of their family or a close friend.  But we often hear from callers to the Helpline that they are unsure of the best way to support their loved one living with abuse.   We are asking people to store the National Freephone Helpline number in their mobile phones should anyone they know every need it.  We also hope that the information we have included on the phone charm advice card will help those supporting a loved one.”

For more information on the ‘Support A Friend’ Phone Charms Awareness Campaign contact 01-8684721 or email 16days@womensaid.ie.

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World Aids Day in Tanzania

Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid spoke at the ‘Violence Against Women: A Global Crisis: Accountability—Activism—Action’ conference last week and met with fellow speaker, Leila Sheihk from Tanzania.  Leila is a journalist activist who has specialized in media advocacy and public education programs. She designed the first crisis centre program in Tanzania to give support to women undergoing intimate partner violence. Leila also designed a outreach and training program to sensitize Tanzania’s public about violence against women including domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and female genital mutilation. She has written extensively on Violence against Women and produced television documentaries on the issue, which has testimony from survivors.

Margaret received a very poignant message from Leila today in which she outlined her plans to remember those in her country affected by HIV/AIDs and we thought we’d share it with you.

I should like to say thank you for the wonderful conference, the workshops and for the vibrant, strong women I met.  Asante Sana.  I arrived last night and today we have the world aids day which I shall observe with my PLHIV friends. We have a quilt with names of our friends who died of AIDS and today, we shall light candles.  Tthe list is so long, and every month, someone we know dies of AIDS. Love Leila

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Coffee Morning in Athy

Athy CDP are holding a Coffee Morning on 4th December. There will also be posters designed by the students of Ard Scoil na Trionoide and Youthreach on display at the library in Athy during the 16 Days.

All are welcome to come for the morning at the library in Athy from 11am. Contact athycdp@eircom.net for more information.

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Guest blog by Paula McGovern, Sonas Housing Association

Christmas is a time for family, home, gifts, fun and festivity. The shops are full with busy shoppers buying presents for loved ones, cheerful twinkly lights adorn every street and TV and magazines are bursting with information from how to cook brussel sprouts like Nigella to ‘best gift guides’ for that someone special in your life.

 So far; so idyllic. But it’s not such a fun and joyous experience for many people. The family, the central figure of the story of Christmas, is not always a happy place. For some women and children, the four walls that surround them do not keep them secure but instead keep them trapped within the prison of abuse. At Christmas, a time when the family is most idealised, the torture of what goes on behind closed doors can be devastating for many women and children. With heightened emotions, it can also be a dangerous time for many.

To raise awareness of domestic violence at Christmas, this year Sonas produced its own stock of Christmas cards, with images designed by the children in the Sonas service. These cute and endearing cards are a reminder to those of us lucky enough to have a good home life, that there are children out there who have already suffered homelessness in their young lives because of domestic violence. When drafting the cards, I originally put the following quote on the back of the card:

“She was all covered in blood and there were clumps of hair all over the place and the baby was crying… I remember picking up mammy’s clumps of hair that day and ringing the guards.” Catherine, 13, Listening to Children’s Stories of Domestic Violence, WIT, 2007

However a peer review concluded that it was too strong and too off-putting for a general audience. Domestic violence is never a light-hearted subject, least of all at Christmas when people prefer to focus on the more positive things in life. It’s a time when people want to think about presents, music and fun not mental torture, crushed bones, picking up clumps of your Mam’s hair from the floor and having no place to call home.

However silence is compliance. It is essential awareness is raised on the issue of domestic violence and it’s highlighted time and time again that domestic violence, in any form, is unacceptable. It’s time a clear, strong light was shone into the dark shadows of family life in Ireland. 

Paula McGovern is policy and communications officer with Sonas Housing Association. Sonas Housing Association provides supported housing to women and children made homeless because of domestic and all gender-based violence.

You can purchase packs of 10 cards (5×2 designs) for €3 (excl postage). Check out their website www.sonashousing.ie for more information.

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Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, Master of The Rotunda Hospital, Supports the 16 Days Campaign

For many women, pregnancy is a time when they are cared for and nurtured by their partner. Research and experience shows us that for some women, pregnancy is no protection against physical, verbal, emotional and sexual violence at the hands of their intimate partner.  In fact domestic violence often begins in pregnancy and is more common than gestational diabetes or hypertension and poses a significant health risk for the mother and baby with increased risk of pregnancy loss, pre-term delivery, low birth weight and foetal injury. It is also associated with anxiety and depression and can lead to post natal depression. It is vital therefore that we are aware of those women who are at risk so that supports can be put in place for them.

We are aware that disclosure of abuse is difficult for a woman.  Feelings of fear, shame, exhaustion and isolation prevent women from seeking help.  In the maternity hospitals, we are ready and willing to listen, to offer non-judgemental support and to work with women to make their own decisions. We will in the near future, routinely ask all patients about their concerns regarding issues relating to domestic abuse.

As a society, we need to talk about these issues openly and confront abusers who use threats and physical violence to control their partners.  Like other forms of abuse (eg clerical, child, institutional), exposure to the light of public debate will help reduce the isolation and stigma felt by those who are abused.

Click here to read “Expecting Abuse”, Fiona Gartland, featured in The Irish Times Health Supplement (Tuesday 1st December 2009)

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Day 7 of the 16 Days of Action Campaign

Today is Day 7 of the Campaign, World Aids Day, and here are some of the events taking place:

Women’s Aid Events:

  • 16 Facts for 16 Days email campaign (email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721 to sign up)
  • 16 Books for 16 Days in Chapters
  • Women’s Aid Public Awareness Campaign
  • Media Briefing Notes

In Ireland:

  • Dublin AIDS Alliance Open Day
  • “Everlasting Moments” Film Night in Waterford
  • Near 90 FM’s “A Woman’s Voice” Broadcast
  • Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition continues in Wexford
  • Displays at various venues around Mayo
  • Human Rights in Ireland continue their 16 Days Campaign daily Blog
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford, and also in the Mid-West
  • Information Stands are placed around Sligo and Leitrim
  • Aoighneas Refuge is urging us all to “Step Out of the Shadows”
  • Clare Women’s Network is running a powerful daily poster campaign
  • Galway Rape Crisis Network is running a daily fact campaign
  • Donegal has a poetry and art display

Internationally:

  • Kenya North Rift Women Voices training events in Kenya
  • FemLINKpacific Community Radio Broadcasts in Figi Islands

There are also several messages of support for the Campaign from a range of important Irish people and organisations, explaining why the 16 Days Campaign is important to each of them.

Use any of these events and campaigns as a way to get involved yourself, and share the information with your friends and family!

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Day 7: World Aids Day

World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1st. This day marks the beginning of an annual campaign designed to encourage public support for and development of programs to prevent the spread of HIV infection and provide education and promote awareness of issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. It was first observed in 1988 after a summit of health ministers from around the world called for a spirit of social tolerance and a greater exchange of information on HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day serves to strengthen the global effort to face the challenges of the AIDS pandemic.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2009-2010 is “Universal Access and Human Rights”.

Understanding HIV and AIDS from a human rights perspective can be difficult.

Human rights are often misunderstood – and can sometimes be seen as abstract ideals with not much practical relevance for real people.  With “Universal Access and Human Rights” being the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day, the key slogans are:

  • I am accepted.
  • I am safe.
  • I am getting treatment.
  • I am well.
  • I am living my rights.
  • Everyone deserves to live their rights.
  • Right to Live.
  • Right to Health.
  • Access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is a critical part of human rights.

STATISTICS ON HIV and AIDS

 
 

WOMEN & HIV/AIDS

  • Since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 60 million people have been infected with HIV and 25 million people have died of HIV-related causes.
  • In 2008, some 33.4 million [31.1 million-35.8 million] people living with HIV, 2.7 million [2.4 million-3.0 million] new infections and 2 million [1.7 million-2.4 million] AIDS-related deaths.
  • It is estimated that 15.7million women are living with HV and AIDS in 2008.
  • According to UNAIDS estimates, around 2.3 million people were living with HIV in Europe at the end of 2008.
  • In 2008, around 430 000 [240 000-610 000] children were born with HIV, bringing to 2.1million [1.2 million-2.9 million] the total number of children under 15 living with HIV.

At the end of 2008 it was estimated that out of the 31.3 million adults worldwide living with HIV and AIDS, around half are women. It is suggested that 98 percent of these women live in developing countries. The AIDS epidemic has had a unique impact on women, which has been exacerbated by their role within society and their biological vulnerability to HIV infection. 

 

Generally women are at a greater risk of heterosexual transmission of HIV. Biologically women are twice more likely to become infected with HIV through unprotected heterosexual intercourse than men. In many countries women are less likely to be able to negotiate condom use and are more likely to be subjected to non-consensual sex.

Additionally, millions of women have been indirectly affected by the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Women’s childbearing role means that they have to contend with issues such as mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The responsibility of caring for AIDS patients and orphans is also an issue that has a greater effect on women.

There are a number of things that can be done in order to reduce the burden of the epidemic among women. These include promoting and protecting women’s human rights, increasing education and awareness among women and encouraging the development of new preventative technologies such as post-exposure prophylaxis and microbicides.

For more information go to:

Dublin Aids Alliance

UNAIDS

AVERT.ORG

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Rebecca Miller, Writer, Director, and Actor supports the 16 Days Campaign

“My only first hand experience of domestic violence was volunteering at a women’s shelter in Dublin for several months in 1996/97. I worked in the children’s day care. The children that came in and out of the  place ranged from babies to teenagers.  Often the women would arrive in the middle of the night, carrying a garbage bag filled with clothes, little children clinging to their legs. In the days that followed they would walk up and down the halls in their slippers, tending their children, or talk a little in their dining /common area, and try to make plans of escape from their lives. The staff was wonderfully dedicated. Sometimes women and children would move on to live violence free and happy lives but some women would often have to return home to their abusers, because they had no other means of financial survival, or felt they had no other options.

Though many of us cannot imagine being in a violent relationship, domestic violence is so common that one in five women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. In Ireland alone, Women’s Aid responds to over 11,000 calls a year, and over 15,000 incidents of physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse were disclosed to the Women’s Aid Helpline in 2008. Imagine the terror that not only these women, but their children, live through, every day of their lives.

Violence begets violence, and we all need to do whatever we can to stem the tide.”

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16 Books for 16 Days, Book 7: Lola Rose by Jacqueline Wilson

Pick up a copy of Lola Rose by Jacqueline Wilson, suitable for younger ages too, at Chapters on Parnell Street.

Jayni isn’t the only one who’s scared of her dad. Her mum is scared too. He hits them, you see. Well, he’s always had a go at her mum. He gets angry quickly. But he only has to hit Jayni once, and that is enough for her mum. They pack their bags while her dad is down the pub, and slip out of the flat, Jayni, her brother Kenny, and her mum, Nikki.

Course, it helps that Jayni’s mum’s handbag is stuffed full of fivers that she won on a scratchcard. That’s what caused the argument at home in the first place, the money, and that is what keeps the three of them together for the first few weeks in London, while they sort out a new life for themselves, and have a nice time.

They have a great time. They stay in a fancy hotel, and buy new clothes, and enjoy a few treats. Kenny just loves the sharks in the London Aquarium. Lola Rose can’t face the sharks – that’s because she is still the bruised and nervous Jayni underneath, dreaming nightmares about her dad coming to find them.

The money can’t last for ever though, not at the rate that they are spending. And that is when they all begin to realize that it isn’t as easy as you might think, just to start a new life. Some problems you carry round with you, and all problems have to be sorted out, sooner or later.

I loved this book. It is honest and sensitive and a really quick read – that’s because you’ll need to keep turning the pages to find out what happens to Lola Rose, and Kendall, and her mum … -readingmatters.co.uk

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Near 90 FM 16 Days Broadcasts

This year near 90fm joins the 16 Days Campaign with A Woman’s Voice, a Sound And Vision funded project that wants to highlight the role of women in society. All programmes can be heard on nearfm.ie.

A Woman’s Voice consists of two panel discussion, the first of which was broadcast on the 25th of November with thePanelist: Bronwen Maher (Labour Party); Nell Fitzpatricks of the Older Women’s Network and Elaine King of neartv productions. The second panel discussion will be broadcast on December 10th, with participation from Women’s Aid.

Near90fm will be broadcasting a testimonial everyday at noon for the duration of the 16 Days and will be available as podcasts on the website. Here are a few of the women participating:

25th November. Niamh Farren, Banúlacht’s chairperson.

26th November: Frances Soney-Ituen, founder of the Women’s Integrated Network (WIN), Athy.

27th November: Maeve Taylor, Banúlacht’s Policy and Training Project Leader.

28th November: Nobuhle Ncube, AkiDwA’s Development Officer.

29th November: Salome Mbugua, AkiDwA’s Director.

30th November: Bernie Dwyer, journalist with Radio Habana, Cuba.

1st December: Shanti Dairiam, former member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

2nd December: Nell Fitzpatricks, member of the Older Women’s Network, OWN.

3rd December: Thabi Madide, the Africa Centre.

4th December: Bronwen Maher (Labour Party).

5th December: Hazel Abdullah,member of the Older Women’s Network, OWN.

6th December: Heidi Bedell (Green Party).

 

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16 Books for 16 Days – Book 6

Day 6:  A Thousan Splendid Suns by Khaled Hossaeini (2007)

A Thousand Splendid Suns has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, and Booklist. All the praise is well-deserved. The story is straightforward, the writing beautiful in its simplicity and use of well-chosen metaphors. It draws the reader into the lives of its characters.

The history of Afghanistan is marked by death and loss and unimaginable grief. And, yet, Laila sees that people find a way to survive, to go on. Ultimately, this is more than a story of survival in the face of what seem to be insurmountable odds. It is a story of the unconquerable spirit of a people and individuals seen through the eyes of two indomitable women. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a must read for those who wish to understand the modern history (1964 – 2003) of Afghanistan, which is told eloquently through the eyes of Laila and Mariam.

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Togo launches National Electronic Forum on Violence Against Women

On 25th November 2009,  Minister Mainounatou Ibrahima (Minister for Social Affairs and the Promotion of Women)  of Togo took part in an Electronic Forum on Violence Against Women.  This Forum aims to use new and traditional electronic media to inform the general population about violence against women. A National Symposium is also planned so that participants in the Forum can discuss its findings and present their findings to the relevant Ministers.

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Kenya North Rift Women Voices training events.

During the 16 Days Campaign the  Kenyan North Rift Women Voices will hold a number of training events around the issue of Female Genital Mutilation. The events will focus on the education of girls who have not yet been subjected to FGM and the rehabilitation of circumcisers.

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Violence against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition

The “Violence against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition” has

embarked on its busiest ever schedule for the 16 Days of Action commencing on the 25th November 2009. In response to recent requests, the exhibition is to be on  display as follows:

Full version of Exhibition

Scotland:-

November 25th @ … Princess Royal Conference Centre, Ayr, Ayrshire

November 30th – December 8th @ Stranraer, Castle Douglas, Dumfries

December 1st – December 8th @ Dumfries, Annan, Dumfries & Galloway

Reduced sized version of Exhibition

Ireland:-

November 25th – December 4th @ Wexford, hosted by Wexford Local Area Network on Violence against Women

December 5th -12th @ Waterford City Libary, hosted by Waterford Local Area Network on Violence against Women

Photos from the various displays shall be uploaded later on the “Violence

against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition” group on Facebook

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FemLINKpacific launches 16 Days of Community Radio Broadcasts in Nausori, Figi Islands.

On 25th November, femLINKpacific launched its 16 Days of Community Radio Broadcasts in Nausori, Fiji islands.  Community Radio provides a safe and important local media channel for women to share their views and perspectives on a range of issues, in particular on the many forms of violence which exist in the community.

The 16 Days Radio Campaign is an opportunity to link women from local clubs and groups with the 16 days global campaign, through community radio and community media.

Participants in the campaign will be involved in writing and broadcasting their stories and issues together with femLINKpacific’s team of women producers/broadcasters, Generation Next. Further information on the campaign is available here.

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Fergus Finlay, Director of Barnardos supports the 16 Days Campaign

“In Barnardos we work with children and families who have had to cope with domestic abuse, and we know the terrible scars it can leave, scars that can last long after the bruises and the broken bones have healed. We try above all to help children understand that domestic abuse is not something they have caused, that it’s not their fault.

It’s not their responsibility to make it stop. That responsibility belongs to all of us, and one way we can all help is by talking more openly about it. People who abuse their partners always want to do so in secrecy. The more we talk about it, the harder it is for abusers to hide behind closed doors.”

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Day 6 of the 16 Days of Action Campaign

Today is Day 6 of the Campaign and as usual there are some interesting events taking place around the country;

  • Traveller Focus week begins today with the theme of “Traveller Pride.”  More information is available here
  • The Women’s Aid 16 Books for 16 Days Campaign in conjunction with Chapters Books, Dublin 2
  • The Women’s Aid 16 Facts for 16 Days Email Awareness Campaign
  • The Aoibhneas Email Awareness Campaign
  • Ballina Family Resource Centre commemoration of women murdered in Ireland and lillies display
  • Human Rights in Ireland blog focus on 16 Days Campaign
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford
  • “16 Rights for 16 Days” awareness raising exhibition in Sligo
  • Mayo Women’s Support Services Lillies campaign
  • Art & Poetry exhibition in Donegal
  • Dundalk Women’s Aid White Ribbon Campaign

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Day 5: International Human Rights Defenders Day

Sunday is usually a day of rest but during the campaign, many organisations take this opportunity to raise the issue of violence against women in local churches.

Today is Day 5 of the 16 Days Campaign and it is also International Human Rights Defenders Day. Check out the ‘Defending Women – Defending Rights’ Campaign.

Take the time to look at the international calendar of events for the 16 Days Campaign.  Events to raise awareness about the abuse of women’s human rights are taking place all across the globe including South Africa, England, the United States, Mexico, Italy, Norway, Australia, and the Philippines.

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Day 5: An Garda Síochána Support the 16 Days Campaign

An Garda Síochána is happy to support the ongoing work of Women’s Aid and is pleased that the topic of violence against women is being highlighted. An Garda Síochána wishes to assure those suffering such violence that help is available. Silence protects the offender and means that the victim goes on suffering. An Garda Síochána appeals to anyone who is a victim or knows or suspects that someone they know is a victim of domestic violence to report it as soon as possible to the nearest Garda station, or if there is an immediate danger to life ring 999 or 112 and ask for the Gardaí. Members of An Garda Síochána are trained to investigate these crimes and are in a position to provide details of the many non-governmental agencies working in this area. An Garda Síochána would like to thank Women’s Aid for the support it provides and wishes it well in its campaign.

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16 Books for 16 Days – Book 5

Day 5:  This Charming Man by Marian Keyes (2008)

With This Charming Man, Marian Keyes hits her stride as a novelist with her best novel yet, telling the stories of four women who are shaped by one man

Paddy de Courcy is Ireland’s debonair politician, the “John F. Kennedy Jr. of Dublin.” His charm and charisma have taken hold of the country and the tabloids, not to mention our four heroines: Lola, Grace, Marnie, and Alicia. But though Paddy’s winning smile is fooling Irish minds, the broken hearts he’s left in his past offer a far more truthful look into his character.

Narrated in turn by each woman, This Charming Man explores how their love for this one man has shaped their lives. But in true Marian Keyes fashion, this is more than a story of four love affairs. It’s a testament to the strength women find in themselves through work, friendship, and family, no matter what demons may be haunting their lives. Depression, self-doubt, domestic abuse—each of these women has seen tough times in life, and it’s through Keyes’s wonderful storytelling ability that these subjects are approached with the appropriate tone and candor. Her deft touch provides a gripping story and, ultimately, a redemptive ending.

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Day 4: Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International, Ireland Speaks in Support of the 16 Days Campaign.

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director, Amnesty International Ireland:

Violence against women is a fundamental human rights issue. The scale of the problem is staggering with the rights of women and girls to security, adequate housing, health, food and education constantly under threat.  It is also a development issue. Violence against women is inextricably linked to poverty and disadvantage. It has huge economic and social costs at every level of society. Put simply, this is something we cannot afford to ignore.

But if we are to succeed in tackling the problem it is crucial that the voices and experiences of women, those most affected, are at the heart of the strategies we need to overcome violence against women and to build safe, sustainable communities.

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16 Books for 16 Days – Book 4

Day 4: Tragedy in Tin Can Holler by Rozetta Mowrey (2009)

Tragedy in Tin Can Holler is a captivating must read true story of a family’s past transgressions revealing a family member who was a serial killer that got away with murder during the great depression, incest and child abuse, lies and betrayals and domestic violence buried for decades! The vicious murder of the author’s mother haunted her for 48 years, but discovering the truth about her mother’s murder was just the tip of the iceberg. Her story is spell-bounding as she unveils the hidden secrets that shocked the residents of 3 counties in southeast Tennessee. This book has also been made into a documentary.

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Day 4 of the 16 Days of Action Campaign

The staff and volunteers at Inishowen Women’s Outreach, Co. Donegal, have organised a bucket collection throughout the area today, day 4 of the 16 Days Campaign.  Good luck with the collection and we hope they are wrapped up warm. 

In Kilkenny, a all day Non Violence Seminar is taking place at the Bishop Birch Learning Centre. 

Other events continuing today are:

  • The Women’s Aid 16 Facts for 16 Days Email Awareness Campaign
  • The Women’s Aid 16 Books for 16 Days Campaign in conjunction with Chapters Books, Dublin 2
  • The Aoibhneas Email Awareness Campaign
  • 16 Rights for 16 Days in Sligo

 

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Women’s Aid 16 Facts for 16 Days Email Awareness Campaign, Day 1-3

Thousands of people receive the daily ‘16 Facts for 16 Days’ email from Women’s Aid which contains the latest national and international statistics on violence against women, messages of support for the campaign and women’s accounts of abuse.  Women’s Aid encourage recepients to forward the emails to friends, supporters, and members during the campaign.  If you’d like to get the 16 Facts for 16 Days email direct to your inbox sign up today – email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721.

Day 1: Wednesday 25th November 2009 (UN Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women)

Prevalence of Violence against Women in Ireland

1 in 5 of Irish women who have been in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner. [O’Connor, M, & Kelleher Associates (1995) Making the Links, Women’s Aid]

In 2008, there were 15,158 incidents of domestic violence disclosed to the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline made up of 9,101 incidents of emotional abuse, 3,355 incidents of physical abuse, 1,900 incidents of financial abuse and 802 incidents of sexual abuse, including281 rapes within relationships. [Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline & Support Services Annual Statistics 2008]

In a one-day survey on 4th November 2008, 263 women and 216 children were accommodated and/or received support from a domestic violence service; 239 helpline calls were received from women; 17 women and 15 children were admitted to refuge; 6 women could not be accommodated due to lack of space. [SAFE IRELAND (2009) ‘On the 4th November 2008’: A national one day count of women and children accessing Safe Ireland domestic violence services]

1 in 7 women in Ireland have experienced severe abuse, defined as ‘a pattern of physical, emotional or sexual behaviours between partners in an intimate relationship that causes, or risks causing, significant negative consequences for the person affected’. [National Crime Council and ESRI (2005)Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland]

On average, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) responds to a domestic incident every 23 minutes of every day. [Northern IrelandPolice Board (2009) Thematic Inquiry: Domestic Abuse]

Click here for a message of support from Rebecca Miller and to read some of one woman’s first-hand account of domestic violence in Ireland.

Day 2: Thursday 26th November 2009

Violence against Women Globally

International research consistently demonstrates that a woman is more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped, or killed by a current or former partner than by any other person. Findings from nearly 80 population-bases studies indicate that between 10% and 60% of women who have ever been partnered have experienced at least one incident of physical violence from a current or former partner. [Ellsberg & Heise, 2005, WHO Multi-country Study on women’s health and domestic violence]

25% of all violent crimes reported involve a man assaulting his wife or partner. [EU Campaign Against Domestic Violence, 2000]

At least 1 in 3 women, or up to one billion women, have been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in their lifetimes. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her. [Heise, L, Ellsberg, M, Ending Violence against Women, 1999]

An estimated 150 million girls under 18 experienced some form of sexual violence in the year 2002 alone. [According to the WHO based on Ezzati et al (2004) Comparative Quantification of Health Risks: Global & Regional Burden of Disease Attributable to Selected Major Risk Factors]

Click here to see a message of support from Mary Robinson and to read three women’s stories from around the world.

Day 3: Friday 27th November 2009

Sexual Violence against Women

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre carried out 9,487 counselling calls in 2008.  86% of callers were female. Trained volunteers at the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre attended the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit with 284 victims in 2008.  [DublinRape Crisis Centre (DRCC) Annual Report 2008]

Callers to the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline in 2008 disclosed 802 incidents of sexual abuse including 281 incidents of rape. (However, there has only been one successful conviction under the law criminalising rape within marriage since its induction in 1990.) [Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline & Support Services Annual Statistics 2008]

8% of women in Ireland have experienced severe sexual abuse in intimate relationships. [National Crime Council and ESRI (2005) Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland]

Almost one quarter (23.6%) of perpetrators of sexual violence against women as adults are intimate partners or ex-partners. [McGee H et al (2002) SAVI: Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland, The Liffey Press in Association with Dublin Rape Crisis Centre]

More than 4 in 10 (42%) women in Ireland have experienced some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime. [McGee H et al (2002) SAVI: Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland, The Liffey Press in Association with Dublin Rape Crisis Centre]

Click here to see a message of support from Ruth Gilligan, author and to read one woman’s account of her own experience.

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Remembering Women Murdered in Ireland, Mayo

Ballina Family Resource Centre are taking part in the 16 Days of Action Campaign and have 159 pink tombstones on display in their centre to remember all of the women murdered in Ireland since 1996.  They also have a candle and lillies display  in their window and are displaying the Women’s Aid 16 Facts for 16 Days during the campaign.

They will mark the end of the campaign by holding a coffee morning in the centre on 10th December to raise awareness about the issue of domestic violence.

For more information contact Sheenagh Honan on 096-75573 or by email ballinafrcadmin@eircom.net.

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16 Books for 16 Days – Book 3

Day 3: The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson, just out in October 2009.

[The character] Salander is a magnificent creation: a feminist avenging angel . . . I cannot think of another modern writer [Larsson] who so successfully turns his politics away from a preachy manifesto and into a dynamic narrative device. Larsson’s hatred of injustice will drive readers across the world through a three-volume novel and leave them regretting the final page; and regretting, even more, the early death of a mastery storyteller just as he was entering his prime. -The Observer

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Day 3 of the 16 Days Campaign

Today is the third day of the 16 Days Campaign and there are a number of interesting events taking place around the country;

  • Tearmann Domestic Violence Service awareness raising initiative
  • YANA (You are not alone), Johnny Cash tribute night in Mallow
  • Wellness workshop in Kildare
  • Vista Community Development Project, Dublin 8 Commemoration Servivce
  • Pamper Day in Donegal
  • Galway Rape Crisis Centre Conference

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Author Ruth Gilligan supports the 16 Days Campaign

As part of the research for my latest novel,” Can You See Me?”, I worked with the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre who opened my eyes to the terrifying realities surrounding sexual violence against women in Ireland.  The statistics speak for themselves, but these are not just numbers – every individual case concerns one innocent woman and the tragic tale of how her world was torn apart. My book deals with a nineteen year-old girl and a drunken night out which ends in her being raped by a ‘friend’. And indeed, as we see here, the overwhelming majority of rapes are carried out by someone the victim knows – these aren’t strangers lurking in alleyways, these are familiar faces; faces which will haunt them forever.

But beyond illuminating these dark truths, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre shed much light on the journeys these women go through – physical, emotional, legal, spiritual – their worlds are altered, but hope is never lost. The strength of the victims themselves, together with the support offered by friends, family, and organizations such as the DRCC took my breath away, and encouraged me to make my novel ultimately, one of hope – a tale of struggle, which yet proves that lives can be rebuilt, and happiness regained.

I believe this is not a fiction – the hope really exists – strength really will prevail.

 

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Update on Open Door Network Conference

On Friday 20th November the Open Door Network held a conference entitled “Crimes against Women and Children” at Manor West Hotel Tralee. Speakers included Solicitor Carolanne Coolican, Researcher Stephanie Holt, Nobuhle Ncube from the African Women’s Network and Crime Correspondent Paul Williams. The event was a great success and the presentations are available here.

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Bishops’ Commission for Justice and Social Affairs calls for new measures to protect women from the violence of trafficking

To mark the International day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th November 2009 ,the Irish Commission for Justice and Social Affairs (advisory body to the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference) calls on the Government to;

  • Create a national vice-squad within An Garda Síochána to track down the traffickers and rescue their victims. Whilst a specialist team exists in Dublin, this should be a national squad to counteract the use of modern technology, such as mobile phones and the internet, which facilitates the anonymity of the perpetrators of this crime, and consequently of its victims.
  • Put in place stronger measures, as advocated by Ruhama and the Immigrant Council of Ireland, to address the demand for “sexual services” that drives the trafficking of women and young girls into Ireland for sexual exploitation. Those who purchase “sexual services” should be criminalised, while the women and girls found to be providing such “services” should be offered support and assistance.
  • Ratify international legislation, specifically the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2000) and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (2005), that would enshrine our commitment as a nation to providing the highest possible level of protection and support for the victims of trafficking.
  • Protect the existing programmes in developing countries, supported by Irish Aid, that address the factors that cause women and girls to fall victims to traffickers. Consideration should also be given to the possibility for further expansion of this work in programmes specifically targeted at the prevention of trafficking.

Further information is available here

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16 Books Day 2 – The Girl who Played with Fire

Day 2: The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The girl with the dragon tattoo is back. Stieg Larsson’s seething heroine, Lisbeth Salander, once again finds herself paired with journalist Mikael Blomkvist on the trail of a sinister criminal enterprise. Only this time, Lisbeth must return to the darkness of her own past (more specifically, an event coldly known as “All the Evil”) if she is to stay one step ahead–and alive. The Girl Who Played with Fire is a break-out-in-a-cold-sweat thriller that crackles with stunning twists and dismisses any talk of a sophomore slump. Fans of Larsson’s prior work will find even more to love here, and readers who do not find their hearts racing within the first five pages may want to confirm they still have a pulse. Expect healthy doses of murder, betrayal, and deceit, as well as enough espresso drinks to fuel downtown Seattle for months. —Dave Callanan
Remember to drop in to Chapters to pick up any of the 16 Books!

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Women’s Aid Call for Increased Legal Protection for Women Experiencing Domestic Violence.

At the launch of the 16 Days of Action Campaign outside Dáil Éireann yesterday, Women’s Aid used a striking visual installation to highlight the underside of intimate relationships for one in every five women in Ireland.  Five women, dressed in black and red, held placards reading ‘?’.  The question mark showed that domestic violence, often described as the most democratic of crimes, can affect any woman, and women from any walk of life. The five women were surrounded by others who held placards posing questions like: ‘Is she your sister?’, ‘Is she your mother?’ ‘Is she your friend?’.  Women’s Aid drew attention to the fact that many women are not protected from violence by current domestic violence legislation. 

Speaking at the event, Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid said: “On the UN Day Against Violence against Women, we are highlighting the fact that one in every five women living in Ireland today are living in fear of those closest to them – their boyfriends, husbands and partners.  Domestic violence does not discriminate by age, socio-economic status, marital status or cultural background.  It can affect any woman.”

She continued: “Women’s Aid statistics show that marriage is the most common context for domestic abuse and married women experiencing abuse can avail of the full protection of the law.  However, 28% of women who rang the Women’s Aid Helpline in 2008 disclosed abuse by current or former partners to whom they were not married (18% current partner and 10% former partner).  While many women will meet the strict criteria and are eligible to apply for domestic violence orders, many women who experience domestic violence cannot avail of legal protection from the violence because they do not meet the current co-habitation requirements for domestic violence orders.  This includes women who are in dating relationships, not married to or living with their abuser, and women who have only lived with or have separated from their abuser for certain lengths of time.”

 “Also, we know from women ringing our Helpline that abuse often does not end when the relationship does. 10% of callers to the Women’s Aid Helpline disclosed that they were being abused by former partners to whom they were not married. It is a common belief that leaving an abusive partner will end the violence but in many cases the opposite is true.  These women are very vulnerable.”

One woman who called the helpline recently revealed that she is living in fear of her ex-boyfriend months after she ended the abusive relationship.  According to Karen*: “He was totally controlling and possessive.  I was very frightened of him.  After I told him it was over it just got worse – constant texting, waiting for me after work, following me everywhere I went.  He was threatening me and was physically violent.  People were telling me to go to court and get a safety order to protect myself.  But I found out very quickly that I was not eligible because I had not lived with or been married to Jim.  I was so shocked and angry, I felt really let down. I don’t feel safe anywhere anymore. If I had gotten a safety order at the beginning then Jim would have known that what he was doing to me would have serious consequences for him – that the courts would deal with him.  But now it seems that it is just me, on my own, and that is just the way Jim wants it.  I don’t have any peace.”

Ms Martin concluded: “Domestic violence legislation needs to change to reflect 21st century Irish life and we call for the removal of all cohabitation requirements.  This will ensure that those experiencing domestic violence in dating relationships and after separation will be eligible to apply for domestic violence orders.  Until it does, women like Karen and thousands more like her will continue to live in fear and the law is powerless to protect them.”

*Karen’s story is based on real accounts as told to Women’s Aid.  Specific details and circumstances have been changed in the interest of protecting identity and to preserve the confidential nature of Women’s Aid Services.

MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE EVENT
The launch of the 16 Days Campaign has been widely covered in the media over the last few days.  We will post a comprehensive look at media coverage tomorrow but here is a short round up in the meantime:

News on Two, RTE 2, 25th November 2009 (11.08 mins)

Many Women Still At Risk of Domestic Violence – The Irish Times, 26th November 2009

Local Coverage of the 16 Days Campaign

Anti-Domestic Violence Campaign Launched, The Longford Leader, Wednesday 25th November 2009

Domestic Violence Highlighted, The Offaly Express, Wednesday 25th November 2009

Tuam’s 16 Days of Action, Western People, Wednesday 25th November 2009

Rugby Star Rob Kearney Backs White Ribbon Campaign, Dundalk Democrat, Wednesday 25th November 2009

This is a great start to the campaign and we will keep you posted of any further coverage.

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Green Party Deputy Leader Mary White supports the 16 Days campaign

Green Party Deputy Leader and Women’s Affairs spokesperson Mary White TD has welcomed the start of an international campaign to stop violence against women. The 16 Days Campaign began yesterday and aims to raise awareness and help break the silence about domestic violence in the home.

Deputy White said: “Violence against women remains one of the greatest and most common rights abuses today. Research has shown that one in five women in Ireland experience sexual violence as adults yet only 15% of these incidents will end in conviction.

“In 2008 there were over 15,000 incidents of domestic violence disclosed to the Womens’ Aid National Helpline. And disturbingly, one in eight women surveyed in a Dublin Maternity hospital had experienced domestic violence during pregnancy.

“During this campaign we must acknowledge the great work that volunteers in call centres and support centres do every day across Ireland. NGOs providing crisis and support services to women experiencing gender based violence must be adequately funded if we are to make any progress on the issue.

“As a Government TD I will be working to ensure the best supports are available for women suffering in troubled and violent relationships, particularly during this time of economic downturn when statistics show that violence can increase in the home when there are strains on the family income.”

Further information available here



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Press release form Councillor Mary Mitchell O’Connor

Uncertainty over Children’s Allowance Payment puts some women at greater risk of domestic violence”…. abused women face spectre of turning to loan sharks ….”

Fine Gael Councillor, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has warned that cutting the Children’s Allowance will lead to the further isolation of women who are being abused at home.

Speaking about the launch by Women’s Aid of its ’16 Days of Action – Opposing Violence against Women’,  on 25th November 2009, Councillor Mitchell O’Connor said:

“Violence against women is frighteningly prevalent in Irish society. Women are subjected to unimaginable terrors in their own homes and for that reason I want to publicly state my support for the campaign by Women’s Aid, which runs from 25th November, and is designed to raise public awareness about the violence perpetrated against many women”.

“It is vital that we work to address domestic violence in society, so that ultimately we protect women. The current economic downturn is affecting every facet of Irish life and has resulted in increased incidence of domestic violence and the growing problem of financial abuse.

Financial constraints are often used opportunistically by abusive men as a way of enhancing their control over their partners. Financial abuse, although often overlooked, is a highly effective method of maintaining control; without money, women have little options. As Women’s Aid puts its, financial abuse is designed to lave women with ‘no place to go, no means to get there and no way to provide for one’s own or one’s children’s basic needs’.”

“For many women, the Children’s Allowance is their own source of income. Reducing or removing this altogether will serve only to further isolate abused women and leave them more vulnerable to financial abuse.This is not a class issue. Women are abused irrespective of class so any cuts to the Children’s Allowance will impact.”

 

“I am personally aware of women who are forced to go to loan sharks because their husbands, often well off individuals, make sure they have no access to money. Such women are essentially prisoners in their own homes.”

“Women generally face impoverishment when they leave their partner. Cutting the Children’s Allowance will only create a further barrier. I don’t think this has been properly thought through”.

“I am not suggesting that the Children’s Allowance is a panacea for the complex problems that result in violence against women but I am scared that women will be put at further risk because of this”.

 

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Day 2 of the 16 Days campaign

Today is the second day of the 16 Days campaign and there are a huge number of events taking place all around the country;

  • Longford Women’s Link (LWL) is holding a “Walk of Remembrance “to commemorate the 159 women who have been murdered in Ireland since 1996
  • Newbridge Family Resource Centre is hosting an Art workshop exploring issues around Donmestic Violence
  • Wexford Local Area Network on Violence Against Women is holding an awareness raising event
  • Dublin 12 Domestic Violence Service Forum
  • Congolese Anti-Poverty Network awareness event
  • Bray Women’s Refuge “Silence is Violence” event
  • Banulacht conference on Violence Against Women

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Human Rights in Ireland 16 Days Campaign

Founded in 2009, Human Rights in Ireland is a group academic blog with a focus on human rights issues in Ireland and on Irish scholarship about human rights more generally. All of the contributors to the blog are academics, mostly lawyers, who are working either in Ireland or abroad and whose work relates broadly to human rights. HRinI is going to mark the 16 Days campaign by posting links to one campaign or issue touching on violence against women every day for the duration of the campaign.

The blog can be viewed at http://humanrightsinireland.wordpress.com/2009/11/25/16-days-campaign/

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Update on guest blog post by Sandra at Dundalk Women’s Aid

Irish rugby player Rob Kearney has thrown his weight behind our White Ribbon Campaign. The Ireland full-back is calling on men to support the 16 Days campaign by wearing a white ribbon indicating that they are pledging never to commit , condone or remain silent about violence against women. Many prominent business men, politicians, and public figures will be wearing a white ribbon in support of the campaign. Further information on Kearney’s contribution is available here.  We intend to make the White Ribbon Campaign part of our annual 16 Days events  and further information is available from me at sandra@womensaiddlk.net

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Mary Robinson supports the 16 Days Campaign

 

Women’s Aid is delighted to have the support of former President Mary Robinson for it’s 16 Days Campaign.

“This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the UN Recognition of 25th November as the day for the elimination of violence again women, which begins the annual 16 days of Action Campaign.  Sadly this worldwide campaign is more needed than ever and I support the 16 Facts of Women’s Aid. Last March I travelled from the International Colloquium on Women in Liberia to the DRC, where I saw first hand in Goma the terrible evidence of sexual violence and rape as deliberate forms of warfare.  The recent adoption of the UN Security Council of Resolution 1888, to reinforce Resolutions 1325 and 1820 is timely, as is the appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence against Women.  Only a huge and sustained bottom up global campaign based on women’s rights and empowerment will put an end to this terrible sexual violence against women in situations of conflict.”

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16 Books for 16 Days-Book 1: The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo

The first three of the 16 Books comprise The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. Remember to pop in to Chapters on Parnell Street, if you’re in Dublin, and have a look at all 16 Books.

You can read an in-depth article  on The Millenium Trilogy from the Irish Times here:  http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2009/1003/1224255760034.html.

Book 1: The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo (2007)

“Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family’s remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller by muckraking Swedish journalist Larsson. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden’s dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after handing in the manuscripts for what will be his legacy.” -Publishers Weekly

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An Garda Síochána support the 16 Days

Women’s Aid is delighted to have support for both the 16 Days and for women experiencing domestic violence on http://www.garda.ie:

“An Garda Síochána is happy to support the ongoing work of Women’s Aid and is pleased that the topic of violence against women is being highlighted. An Garda Síochána wishes to assure those suffering such violence that help is available. Silence protects the offender and means that the victim goes on suffering. An Garda Síochána appeals to anyone who is a victim or knows or suspects that someone they know is a victim of domestic violence to report it as soon as possible to the nearest Garda station, or if there is an immediate danger to life ring 999 or 112 and ask for the Gardaí. Members of An Garda Síochána are trained to investigate these crimes and are in a position to provide details of the many non-governmental agencies working in this area. An Garda Síochána would like to thank Women’s Aid for the support it provides and wishes it well in its campaign.”

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Secretary Ban Ki-moon’s Statement for the 25th November

“Our goal is clear: an end to these inexcusable crimes – whether it is the use of rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence, sex trafficking, so-called “honour” crimes or female genital mutilation/cutting. We must address the roots of this violence by eradicating discrimination and changing the mindsets that perpetuate it.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Message for the International Day  for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

25 November 2009

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Guest blog post by Keely at the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership

With the launch of the 19th annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence on November 25th, information is pouring in from organizations and activists around the world. The Center for Women’s Global Leadership, which coordinates the international campaign each year, has already heard from hundreds of organizations in more than 60 countries! Campaign activities range from marches and rallies to music concerts, information sessions on new legal frameworks for addressing violence against women, blogging marathons, radio broadcasts on community radio stations, art exhibitions, self-care workshops, and much more. We’re thrilled to see all of the events that are being organized across Ireland by Women’s Aid and its partners.

As the coordinator of the campaign at CWGL, it has been incredibly exciting to see how this year’s theme “Commit ▪ Act ▪ Demand” is resonating with so many people in diverse parts of the world. CWGL produces a Take Action Kit based on the theme each year, but participants are encouraged to develop their campaign around the issues that are most relevant in their local context. To read more about what activists are planning in their communities, visit the full International Calendar of Activities or become a fan of the 16 Days Campaign Facebook page.

The idea for the 16 Days Campaign originated at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute (WGLI) organized in 1991 by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), where twenty-three women from every region of the world met to discuss women’s leadership and the issue of violence against women as a fundamental violation of human rights. Happily, one of those participants was Monica O’Connor, who was working with Women’s Aid Dublin, so the 16 Days Campaign’s roots in Ireland go all the way back to its birth! While it was unlikely that the first WGLI graduates could have foreseen the incredible success of the campaign as a global mobilizing tool, their dedication to working on this issue exemplifies how every action, no matter how big or small, can make a difference. Now since the first campaign, over 2,800 organizations in 156 countries have participated, and the movement continues to grow.

I’m inspired each day as I read more about what women’s organizations around the world are doing to bring an end to violence against women. The 16 Days Campaign is powerful because it gives us opportunities to work in solidarity with one another, and it provides a period of heightened international attention to gain support for our local efforts. So let’s make sure that the whole world hears our voices this year from November 25 – December 10! Gender-based violence must stop, and we all have a role to play. Together, we must Commit, Act, and Demand an end to violence against women!

Keely Swan – 16 Days Campaign Coordinator

Center for Women’s Global Leadership

16days@cwgl.rutgers.edu

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Day 1 of the 16 Days Campaign

Today is Day 1 of the 16 Days Campaign, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and there is a huge variety of things happening around the country:

  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford
  • 16 Rights for 16 Days exhibition in Sligo
  • Poster display and lily campaign in Mayo
  • Aoibhneas Refuge’s “Step Out of the Shadows” campaign
  • Galway Rape Crisis Centre’s social media campaign
  • Art and Poetry is on display in Donegal
  • Pavee Point is running a pampering session for staff, and various invited guests
  • “Break the Silence” ceremony and solidarity campaign in Leitrim and Sligo
  • Panel discussion and film screening in Wexford
  • “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Clare, Limerick and Tipperary
  • NUIG Femicide Awareness Campaign in Galway
  • Dundalk Women’s Aid asks “What are you doing about it?”
  • Annual Big Breakfast and Pampering Day in Limerick
  • Pamper morning for women in Blanchardstown
  • Women’s Aid’s campaign begins with a Public Action outside the Dáil Éireann, and the first of the 16 Facts for 16 Days emails

Show your support and get involved in something in your area!

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Public Event at Mountjoy Square Park

The North Inner City Group (Hill Street Family Resource Centre, Inner City Organisation Network, Lourdes Youth & Community Services, Dublin Adult Learning Centre, SWAN Youth Project, NASCADH CDP, Dublin Multicultural Centre, Community After School Project, Saol Project) are holding a public event at the Mountjoy Square Park, Dublin 1, on Wednesday 2nd December from 12noon onwards.

They invite you to remember with them the 159 women who lost their lives violently in Ireland since 1996, by displaying a banner of flags showing the towns and cities where the women came from. In addition they have designed and crafted a wooden key 8ft high, that will be on display. The key is symbolic in two ways; firstly, for women who are experiencing violence in the home, and are aware of the danger to them and their children every time they hear the turn of the key in the door; and secondly, it symbolises how a woman regains control of her life when she finds the courage, strength, and support to leave a violent relationship.

The key was designed by Katherine Sankey and made by the trainees on the Child Care Group in LYCS.

For further information, please contact Aileen Foran at Hill Street Family Resource Centre: 01 874 6818.

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Non-Violence Seminar to be held in Kilkenny City

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The ‘Lantern Experience’ Comes to Belmullet

Erris Local Area Network Opposing Violence Against Women invites you to The ‘Lantern Experience’ at the Docks in Belmullet, Tuesday 8th December at 6.00pm. 159 Chinese Lanterns will be released in memory of the 159 women in Ireland who have lost their lives through violence since 1996. Please show your support for and solidarity with these women and their families by coming along to the event. For €2.00, you can show extra support and sponsor a lantern. Refreshments will be served in the Western Strands Hotel after the Docks. For further information, contact Rose at Iorras Le Chéile: 097 20828

Erris Local Area Network is facilitated by the Iorras Le Chéile Community Development Project in conjunction with Mayo Women Support Services and Mayo Rape Crisis Centre. It’s main objectives are:-

  • To create a zero tolerance to Domestic Violence in Erris
  • To raise awareness of the issue of violence and abuse against women.
  • To work to improve services and supports for women and children living with abuse and those who have survived abuse.

“The individual and collective response to creating a community free from domestic violence must come from the community itself”. Women can contact Mayo Women’s Domestic Violence Service on 094 9025409 or Mayo Rape Crisis Centre on 094 9025657.  Iorras Le Chéile is on Main Street, Belmullet 097 20828.

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UN Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Today, 25th November will see a Worldwide Day of Action  to end violence against Women.  In Ireland, Women’s Aid and many other groups nationwide will start the 16 Days of Action Campaign.  We will post a summary of all activities taking place each day of the campaign so keep checking for regular updates.

Find out more about violence against women in the campaign resources section of this site or by signing up to the 16 Facts for 16 Days Email Campaign (e: 16days@womensaid.ie), which starts today.

Women’s Aid will be outside Dáil Éireann later this morning to call for increased legal protection for women living with domestic violence and we’ll post a report and photographs of the event later.

To all event organisers, good luck with your campaigns – together we can break the silence around violence against women.

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Drive Time addresses Domestic Violence and Pregnancy

This week, Fergus Finlay did his weekly Drive Time (RTE Radio 1) column on Domestic Violence and Pregnancy. You can find his recording here: http://url.ie/2y0k (at 1:07:17 into the recording).

To learn more about Domestic Violence and Pregnancy, download our Briefing Note here: Domestic Violence and Pregnancy, and you can sign up for the 16 Facts for 16 Days Email Campaign by emailing 16days@womensaid.ie or calling 01-8684721.

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Guest Blog Post by Caroline at Pavee Point

Pavee Point VAW programme has joined in theWomens’ Aid 16 days of Action Opposing Violence against Women. We will start our campaign tomorrow by celebrating all women with a pampering session for staff, the women from the Primary Health Care group, the Roma programme and invited guests.

The session will also be used as an opportunity to raise awareness on issues of gender based violence. We will also be remembering the 159 women who have been murdered since 1996 in the Republic of Ireland by holding a minute’s silence and we will hold representational red bows marking the life of each woman who has died.

The VAW programme also plans to engage in as many events as possible during the 16 days campaign and we will log our involvement during the campaign on the blog. We will attend the first Rape and Justice in Ireland Conference organised by the RCNI on December 7th as well as many events happening during Traveller Focus Week which commences on 30th November (www.tfw.ie). We look forward to reporting in our journey through the 16 days and hope that our involvement will help us raise awareness within the Traveller community of the help that is available to Traveller women living in violent relationships.

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Women’s Aid Campaign Begins Outside Dáil Éireann

Tomorrow (25th November), Women’s Aid will be launching our National 16 Days Campaign, “Breaking the Silence around Domestic Violence”, with a public action outside Dáil Éireann, beginning at 11am. Staff, volunteers and supporters will highlight the underside of intimate relationships at the event. We will blog photos and any media coverage of our event further into the campaign.

Domestic Violence is a serious crime that affects 1 in 5 women in Ireland (Making the Links, 1995). Domestic violence occurs in every social and economic grouping of society, all ethnic groups and cultures and among people of every educational background. There is no “type” of woman to whom it occurs, and there is no “type” of home in which it happens. Sadly, domestic violence is a feature of contemporary family life.

Domestic violence legislation in Ireland is inadequate and offers no protection to certain groups of women whose circumstances fall outside current strict eligibility criteria. Women’s Aid believes that everyone experiencing abuse at the hands of an intimate partner or ex-partner deserves legal protection. During the 16 Days of Action, Women’s Aid will call on the Government to act to protect vulnerable women by removing all cohabitation requirements from the current legislation.

3 WAYS TO GET INVOLVED IN THIS YEAR’S 16 DAYS CAMPAIGN:

1) ’16 FACTS FOR 16 DAYS’ Email Campaign: Join the thousands of people who receive the daily ’16 Facts for 16 Days’ email to get the latest national and international statistics on violence against women delivered to your inbox each day of the campaign. Women’s Aid encourages recipients to forward the emails to friends, supporters, and members during the campaign. Sign up today – email 16days@womensaid.ie or phone 01-8684721.

2) ADD OUR WEB BANNER to your website by going here: https://ireland16days.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/web-banner1.jpg

3) READ AND PASS ON THE 16 BOOKS FOR 16 DAYS:

This year Women’s Aid is very happy to be collaborating with Chapters Bookstore on Parnell Street – Ireland’s largest independent bookstore – to bring you 16 Books for 16 Days, a series of recommendations for great reads that deal with the issue of violence against women. Stop in to Chapters to grab one for yourself, give one as a gift, or choose one for your book club. The list of recommendations is below, and we will be highlighting one book during each of the 16 Days on the Blog. Enjoy!

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
  • Tragedy in Tin Can Holler by Rozetta Mowrey
  • This Charming Man by Marian Keyes
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hossaeini
  • Lola Rose by Jacqueline Wilson
  • Domestic Violence (Poetry) by Eavan Boland
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  • The Speckled People – A Memoir of a Half-Irish Childhood by Hugo Hamilton (2004)
  • Beyond the Tears: A Survivors Story by Lynn Tolson
  • Lucky by Alice Sebold
  • The Woman who walked into Doors by Roddy Doyle
  • We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

* please circulate this flyer to fellow bookworms: 16 Books for 16 Days

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March of Hope

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In Her Shoes Exhibition in Longford

 

  

Over the duration of the 16 Days, Longford Women’s Link are raising awareness of the impact of violence against women by displaying a pair of shoes for every woman who has been murdered in Ireland since 1996. Some women in Longford have even donated a pair of their own shoes to show their solidarity with these women. 

Have a look at the exhibition on 46 Main Street between 1.00pm -2.00 pm where staff from Longford Women’s Link will provide information on the campaign and how you can help eliminate domestic violence from our community. 

Time: 1.00pm—2.00pm (Display Space Open to Public); Location: No 46 Main Street Longford Town

For more information contact Angela at 043-3341511

 

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The Walk of Remembrance

Longford Women’s Link (LWL) is holding The Walk of Remembrance to commemorate the 159 women who have been murdered in Ireland since 1996. 

LWL encourage everyone to join the walk and stress that by taking part in the walk, community members can show support for women in the community living in fear in their own homes, who need to know they are not alone. In addition, people can show that Longford has Zero tolerance of Violence against Women in the community. 

Date: Thursday 26th November; Time: 1.00pm– 1.30pm

Location: Gathering in the Market Square & walking to No 46 Main Street.

For more information contact  Angela at LWL at 043-3341511.

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Launch of Booklet “We can break the Silence”

Bishop Colm O’ Reilly will launch a new publication produced by Longford Women’s Link illustrating the impact of domestic violence from the perspective of different family members. The booklet is aimed at assisting the community to understand the complex nature of violence and abuse experienced by many women and children in Longford. This booklet will reach the entire county of Longford as it is being posted out to every house early in the New Year.

DATE: Monday 7th December; Time:6.00pm; Location: Longford Library, Longford Town

For more information about these events, contact Angela at 043-3341511

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Art Workshops

 Newbridge Family Resource Centre will host a series of three Art Workshops in conjunction with Artist Lorraine Walsh; exploring issues around domestic violence, the workshop will also look at empowerment or overcoming obstacles to empowerment for women. This piece will then be displayed in the Riverbank Arts Centre, on the closing day of the ‘16 days’ which is the 10th of December and Human Rights Day.

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Wellness Workshops

There will be a series of ‘wellness workshops’ at different Centres (The Curragh Pride FRC, Newbridge FRC and Allenwood CDP). These will look at stress relief, relaxation and positive visualisation for women. These sessions also provide an opportunity to raise awareness, provide information and offer support.

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“Break the Silence” ceremony and solidarity action

Nov 25th, International Day Against Violence Against Women, is a day in which we remember those women who lost their lives to violence and for members of the public to express their solidarity with women experiencing all forms of violence and abuse.

Please add your voice to the call to:

 STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Join Domestic Violence Advocacy Service and Sligo Traveller Support Group at the

Sligo City Hall at 11.00

or

Leitrim County Council HQ, Carrick on Shannon at 3.00

 on Wednesday November 25th

 for a short remembrance ceremony and solidarity action.

 For more information call DVAS at 071-9141515/9616844

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Wear a lilac ribbon to support Freedom from Pornography

As part of the 16 Days of Action, The Inchicore Outreach Centre will  highlight the issue of pornography.

Join them on Freedom From Pornography Day, December 4th by wearing a lilac ribbon in support of the campaign.  Below is some information on the FFPC.  This information will be sent out on the day as well as part of an e-mail campaign.  Spread the word and forward on this information to all your contacts.

  The Freedom From Pornography Campaign (FFPC) was set up in Dublin in 2003. At that time it consisted of a coalition of individuals and groups working on women’s human rights issues including The Inchicore Outreach Centre, the National Domestic Violence intervention Agency, The Rape Crisis Centre, Kilkenny, Women’s Aid and the National Women’s Council of Ireland. The aim of the campaign was and is to eliminate pornography and to promote a society in which all people enjoy sexuality based on respect, safety, equality and mutuality. Pornography was defined as graphic, sexually explicit material which subordinates women and recognizes pornography as part of the wider sex industry. We understand pornography in the context of politics, human rights, power and profit.

Over the following years much work was done in making presentations, raising awareness, attending seminars and conferences on pornography, doing interviews and eventually celebrating the first Freedom From Pornography Day on 4th December, 2008 as part of the 16 Days. People were asked to wear purple/mauve ribbons to honor the day. For further information please contact Kate or Anita at inch.outreach@hotmail.com or write to PO BOX 10042. A registration fee of €10 is requested.

FFP Campaign Information

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“Everlasting Moments” Film Night

Waterford Local Area Network (LAN) on Violence Against Women, in conjunction with Waterford Film for All present “Everlasting Moments” (15A).  The film will be shown in the Storm Cinema on Tuesday 1st December at 8.30pm. (Adults €9.50, students €7, seniors €6.50). “Violence against women is everybody’s business” – please join the organisers at this event to show your support for women who are or have been victims of violence.

For more information contact: Breda  at Waterford Women’s Centre (051 351 918), Veronica at Independent Mothers Project (051 352 866), Oasis House (051 370 367) or John at S.E.D.V.I.P. (051 844 260).

The LAN is a network made up of statutory, community and voluntary groups that provide services to women who are or have been victims of violence. The LAN aims to raise awareness of the issue of violence against women, improve communication between service providers and to  help more women access those services.

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