Close to home
25th November 2022 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Violence against women is a vast topic; one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. In general terms, violence against women manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms. In the year ending March 2020, the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated 1.6 million women aged 16 to 74 years in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse; no doubt this figure increased during lockdown and the real figure is undoubtedly much higher.
The enormity of the statistics, not just across the globe, but also in our own county and city, is a problem in itself. When a problem is so big, it becomes the easy option for the individual to question what they can do to help tackle a problem that is so heavily deep rooted within society.
Violence against women sparks terrible images of murder, rape and brutal violence. Whilst these acts dominate our news feeds and are of course abhorrent, it is arguable that it is the day to day, often disregarded, acts, words and beliefs that feed into and encourage a society which perpetuates violence against women.
A survey conducted by Stop Street Harassment found that over 81% of women have been catcalled, groped, yelled at, stared at, intimidated or followed. These and other more subtle issues may be direct or indirect and seemingly very minor but they all add up on a sliding scale to project a message of acceptance into society unless they are confronted.
- The group of men who laugh when their friend at the bar makes an inappropriate comment to a girl walking past their table.
- The boss at work who dismisses a female employee’s concerns about the way she had been spoken to at a Christmas party as ‘banter’.
- The bouncer who tells a girl ‘What do you expect’ when she reports a man’s unwanted advances.
- The man who likes a Tweet in support of misogynistic, ‘not all men’ views, as his daughter sends him her location on her way home in an Uber.
The list could go on. People may see on the 25th November that it is International Day for Violence against Woman and wonder what, if any, part they can play in this. they may think, ‘well I’m not part of the problem’ and carry on with their day. Yet it is the everyday, less overt, issues that everyone has a responsibility to question and to hold people accountable for. It is for everyone to really think about what they can do in their day-to-day life to be an ally in the fight against violence against women.
This article was posted on the Manchester Law Society November Newsletter.
Naomi O'Rourke is a Solicitor in personal injury here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries in realtion to this article or indeed any other aspect of personal injury and wish to speak to Naomi or any other member of the team, please contact us on 0800 027 2557 or contact Naomi directly.