The erasure of the category of 'honour'-based violence would not just place victims at risk. It would also erase over a decade of campaigning by organisations within minority communities which have fought for the recognition of these extremely dangerous acts of violence. However well-intended, we need to recognise that changing language which is essential for identifying individuals at risk.
I was bullied by girls for a lot of my childhood and teen years. I was a tall, skeletal, clumsy, opinionated, ginger - an easy target. I was teased, called names, tripped over in corridors and ostracised. To it's credit, my school dealt with this quite well; the girl were excluded, separated from their friends and the threats sunk in.
It is everyday terrorism against women, but it is not recognised as such because the targets are women, and the perpetrators are the very people who claim to love us. While many of us have been directly harmed by male violence, the threat alone is enough to keep women as a class in a state of fear, controlled, pliable. Yet when reporting on male violence, mainstream media neglects to call it what it is, with headlines often stating the sex of the victim while downplaying the sex of the perpetrator, if even mentioning him at all... I am tired of being polite. I am sick of trying to convince men of women's basic humanity. I am tired of asking men nicely to stop raping and killing us.
Ridding the world of gender inequality will, I believe, curb the increase in intimate abuse. I want to live in a world where no one is shamed because of their body, the money they earn or their perceived gender. The Istanbul Convention is the vehicle for tackling gender inequality, and that's why I support it.
Specialist women's centres are a vital resource for women often when they are at their most vulnerable and most in need of support. It is possible to realise lasting positive change for the thousands of women experiencing multiple disadvantage. But that can only happen if the existing organisations, those already providing holistic women-centred services, are able to survive.
Fear of sorcery also often prevents women and girls from speaking out about violence. 'They believe that if they accuse someone of violence than they will go to a marabout, a local witchdoctor, and they will do a spell against them,' says Kouyakaba. Girls therefore often choose to remain silent about violence they have experienced.
I want to help these women and the women here in the UK at the same time. Hence, I have organised the #SheInspiresMeDance fundraising event, which will take place on Jan 25th at The Cafe de Paris, London. I am excited to bring together dynamic women to experience the adrenalin boost and feel good factor of this night of self expression.
How do you grieve for something that's not a physical being? You haven't lost a relative or friend, or your dog that you've had in the family since you were small. You don't get the usual 'I'm sorry for your loss', because have you actually lost anything? For anyone who's been through or going through this then of course the answer is yes.
Alex Chalk, MP submitted a Private Members Bill to Parliament and this week the House of Lords approved it. The Government was defeated on Monday as peers passed a Policing and Crime Bill amendment, which was tabled by Labour's Baroness Royall and supported by crossbenchers, Tories and Liberal Democrats. This is a great step forward.
In June 2012, the UK government signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention. But years later it still has yet to ratify the convention, which would bring into legal force measures, among others, requiring the UK to protect from and prevent violence against women, and to prosecute perpetrators who are nationals or resident in the UK - wherever they commit the act of violence... The longer the government drags its feet on ratifying the Istanbul Convention, the longer it seems to send the message that it is happier to pay lip service to the problem than actually taking concrete steps to solve it.
This Christmas potentially millions of girls living around the world will be facing the risk of sexual violence and exploitation. But putting an exact number on just how many is impossible. The problem is often hidden and concrete figures are hard to come by. These are invisible girls - children who fall through the cracks, who are frequently barely noticed and can face horrific sexual violence.
As the world marks the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, I stand with millions of men and women around the world to say NO to violence! We will not accept that violence is a part of culture. We reject any suggestions that women and girls are mere possessions to be used and abused.