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The Sun's #GiveMeShelter Campaign For Domestic Violence Shelters Has Left The Internet Seriously Conflicted

19/05/2015 12:45 BST | Updated 19/05/2015 12:59 BST

The Sun's campaign calling for more domestic violence shelters for women has drawn wide support - even from those who, it's fair to say, aren't fans of the newspaper.

Months after a furore when The Sun seemed to drop Page 3 and then resurrect it,to the dismay of campaigners, the paper has launched a petition that calls for action on what is a life-or-death issue for many women.

the sun front page give me shelter

The Sun's front page campaign has many people torn

Deciding whether to support the worthy campaign - a partnership with domestic violence body Women's Aid - is proving a headache to some, and not least those who campaigned against Page 3's bare breasts.

In a blog for HuffPost UK, the group Everyday Victim Blaming writes that it is "conflicted" about 'Give Me Shelter':

"If The Sun is serious [about the campaign] there are further steps it needs to take to convince us it fully understand the links between media representations of women, racism, classism, male entitlement, male privilege and male violence. There is real conflict between The Sun running a campaign raising awareness of domestic violence and it running a story entitled "First pic of body in boot mum Claire O'Connor". Using terms like "body in boot" to refer to a woman murdered by her partner is dehumanising."

Here are 6 reasons why the internet is becoming deeply conflicted about the campaign:

1) The Sun supported the Tories

The Sun backed The Conservatives - the very party that organised the closure of refuges it is now calling to save - to win the General Election.

2) The Sun's depictions of women

The newspaper is seen by some as sexist in its representations of women - who often appear wearing few clothes in the 'family' newspaper - as crime victims or as partners to male figures.

3) THAT Katie Hopkins column

The Sun published a column by Katie Hopkins advocating using gunships to stop migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean. The people she referred to as "cockroaches" would likely have included women fleeing from domestic violence.

4) Male domestic violence victims overlooked?

The refuges that The Sun is calling for mainly offer support women, so some on Twitter felt the campaign brushes aside the fact that men are also victims of domestic violence, yet receive less support and media attention.

5) But this is obviously a worthwhile cause

Surely a call for a vital service to protect people from harm is more important whether you do or do not approve of a newspaper, some argue:

6) And The Sun could do amazing things for domestic violence

The sheer reach of The Sun - Britain's best-selling newspaper in print which has some two million readers - makes the partnership with Women's Aid one that could have enormous impact, far beyond what the group could do alone.

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The Give Me Shelter campaign draws on shocking stats about the prevalence of domestic violence and the desperation of those who suffer it, including:

  • Two women are killed by partners each week in England and Wales
  • It is estimated more than a million women suffered domestic violence last year
  • Since 2010, local council cost cutting and changes the housing benefit rules means around one in six of specialist domestic violence refuges have had to close
  • On just one day last year, 112 women with 84 children were turned away from refuges that could not house them
  • Although violent crime has fallen, rates of domestic violence have remained stable since 2009

Polly Neate, the chief executive of Women's Aid, said: “In most situations, a woman will be killed as she tries to leave an abusive partner, which is the reason many are scared to leave. This is why it is essential we have specialist services, so women have somewhere safe to go."

For help with domestic violence issues, contact the 24 hr National domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247