Thursday, 24 November 2016

Change Herstory: Ask Your MP to Vote on 16th December to End Violence Against Women

Change Herstory

Imagine the situation. You're told that some you're close to in your family is going away, with their children. That no-one knows when you'll see them again. More than that, you won't even know exactly where they are. The only positive is that they will be safe.

They will be safe because they're going into a woman's refuge. They're going to escape their husband and father, who has been hurting your family member. You don't know how, you don't know when, you don't know the extent of the injuries caused. All you know is your family member finally decided to get help when her husband turned on one of her children.

You didn't know it was happening. Nobody did. She never said a word. And yet the guilt hits you. All this time she was suffering, and you did nothing. You should have known. You should have seen the signs. You should have helped. The only consolation is that they're safe now. They've escaped.

Except not entirely. Her husband has been emailing one of her children. The emotional abuse continues even if the physical doesn't. The fear and threat is still there. The things he threatens, the things he somehow knows - things he can't know, shouldn't know, how does he know?!

This was my family member, these were my thoughts. Everything is fine for her and her children now, and that man is completely out of their lives. But that's not the case for everyone.

According to End Violence Against Women, domestic violence is estimated to account for 16% of all crime in the UK, and will affect one in four women in their lifetime. On average, every week two women in England and Wales are killed by a current or former male partner. And that's just domestic violence, this isn't counting rape and sexual assault, 'honour' based violence, female genital mutilation or anything else. There are so many more statistics, so many more victims. And this has got to stop.

On 16th December, MPs can vote in favour for the Istanbul Convention Private Member's Bill, the most comprehensive legal framework on ending violence against women. To pass to the next stage, 100 MPs need to turn up and vote. The only thing is, the vote will happen on a Friday morning, when most MPs are in their constituencies.

The IC Change campaign, "a non-partisan group working across all UK political parties to build support in parliament," is working to "make sure the Government follows through on its commitment to make the Istanbul Convention law in the UK." They're asking us to contact our MPs, tell them why the it's so important they be there on 16th December and to vote in favour of it.

I couldn't do anything for my family member, but I can do something now. I have tweeted my MP and I've sent her an email. And now I'm joining IC Change to ask you to do the same. You can find out more about IC Change and the Istanbul Convention on their website, and can check out their brilliant page on how you can take action to ensure your MP knows how important this is and that you want them to vote in favour of the Bill.

Using IC Change's template, it will take you five minutes to write a letter/email to your MP, and a quick Google search will tell you the name of your MP, the address to write to them and their email. Five minutes of your time to make sure your MP is there. If you can't spare five minutes, how about one? You could Tweet your MP instead, with the links they need to find out more. It's all on IC Change's website.

Please, please, if you have been moved in any way by family member's story, contact your MP. Let's try to put an end to this.

Thank you.

Image courtesy of IC Change, used with permission.

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