Tag Archives: 25th Nov – 10th Dec

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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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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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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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

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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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