“Recent data published by the ONS shows that less than 6% of the domestic abuse crimes recorded by the police result in prosecution. This speaks to a misogynistic culture in which perpetrators evade justice and women have little confidence that they will be believed, should they choose to speak out. If a survivor has the courage to share their story with you, believing her is the simplest way of recognising the scale of the issue at large.”
2. Find your inner activist
In 1895, a London bylaw made it illegal for men to hit their wives between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am – the noise was keeping people awake. A lot has changed since then, thanks to the efforts of women’s rights activists. The current laws and policies around VAWG have vastly improved, but they’re not perfect, which is where you come in.
Don’t know where to start? Here are 16 campaigns against gender-based violence that need your support:
Refuge: Remove The Rot
Southall Black Sisters: Reform No Recourse to Public Funds
Level Up: Stop Sending Pregnant Women To Prison
Level Up: IPSO: Dignity for Dead Women
EVAW Coalition: Schools: It’s About Time Things Changed
EVAW Coalition: FA and Premier League: Which Side Are You On?
EVAW Coalition: End Online Abuse
EVAW Coalition: Save Your Rights
EVAW Coalition: Rape Justice Now
Open Justice: #OpenJusticeForAll
Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS): #StepUpMigrantWomen
Sisters Uncut: Taking direct action for domestic violence services
Women’s Aid: Save Our Services
Rape Crisis: Keep Counselling Confidential
ActionAid UK: End Violence At Work
3. Educate yourself
If he was so bad, why didn’t she leave him?
Why is she only speaking up about the abuse years later?
Why did she get drunk if she didn’t want attention?
Many of us believe myths and misconceptions about VAWG without realising it, which, perhaps inadvertently, perpetuates a culture of normalised violence. The best way to challenge these beliefs is to commit to educating ourselves on the issue, whether it’s by reading books, listening to podcasts, or paying attention to the news. If you need a head start, here are four brilliant books about gender-based violence to get you going:
4. Call out your friends
This one, in particular, goes out to all the men. Lad culture is so 1999; it wasn’t acceptable then, and it’s certainly not cool now. If you hear one of your friends crack a misogynistic joke, call them out on it. You don’t have to end your friendship over it( although if it’s a recurring problem, maybe you should); it can be as simple as “That’s not cool.” Or, as Sadiq Khan recommends, you could start with “Maaate.” Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
If you hate face-to-face confrontation, try sending them this article.
5. Speak up
There are so many ways you can speak up about VAWG, whether it’s sharing infographics on social media or standing outside parliament with a protest sign. Your voice matters. The louder, the better.