Wednesday, 25 November 2015

White Ribbon Day: The Fight Continues

Today is White Ribbon Day, otherwise known as UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.The problem of violence against women is so bad that the UN has recognised it as such and have dedicated a day for it to try and promote eliminating it. Perhaps with that and Prime Minister David Cameron's remarks in March 2015 saying that sexual exploitation was 'a national threat' and should be treated by police on the same scale as terrorism and organised crime, maybe the United Kingdom will have plentiful services with solid funding for male and female survivors who need help? Unfortunately that's not the case.

As reported today in the Telegraph, 42% of the charity Rape Crisis's 46 member organisations have no funding confirmed beyond March 2016. This isn't the only charity at risk. The charity Eaves - which helped UK victims of trafficking, prostitution and sexual violence - announced it was to fold on 30th October. Mankind, a male domestic abuse charity, only have confirmed funding until January 2016.

Rape Crisis centres provide specialised support to women and girls who've experienced sexual abuse. Their services range from the immediate crisis to long-term support. They tailor their services to what the service user wants/needs for however long they need it for whether it's a period of weeks, months or years. It takes a while to recieve their services: their demand is so high that one can be on their waiting list for months. Despite that, the services they do provide is invaluable and saves lives. I would know because I was a service user. Rape Crisis saved my life a few years ago and I was able to make progress in ways I never thought were imaginable. That might not sound like much but to me it means the world. It made the difference and brought me to the stage that I actually seek to achieve my dreams and create a life I'm happy with. The idea that people struggle to get access is awful to begin with but the solution isn't to close them down. Money needs to flow straight to them.

Now some people may be asking why money should go to charities like Rape Crisis and charities like them. Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped every year. 1 in 5 women experience sexual violence from the age of 16. Only 15% of rape survivors decide to go to the Police and over 90% of the survivors know their perpetrators prior to the attack(s). Over 50,000 individuals received ongoing services from Rape Crisis which is an increase in 50% over the past 2 years and it's only rising. Continue to take those services away and what do we get? Thousands of men and women who are in an emotional shit storm with nowhere they feel is safe to go. That in itself is a crime.

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