I can guarantee that near you, often in a secret location and always with nowhere near enough funds, women have been working for decades to keep victims of domestic abuse safe. They offer somewhere to flee for safety, working with women and their children as they rebuild their shattered lives. This is the face of charity we never see...
'...In the middle of beating her up, he picked up the pan of hot oil and poured it on her head, and that woman ... that Jat woman ... didn't let out a single scream, not a squeak.' That was a story I heard in my childhood, as the women gossiped and I, still young and childlike, shadowed my mother, nestling against her and absorbing, imbibing...
Vian has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year. I can think of no more deserving recipient of this award. And her people need the global awareness the award could bring. Maybe then the world will care enough to demand action. Please help spread the word about the genocide of the Yazidis and the continuing enslavement of Yazidi women and girls.
There is one thing I think that we women have that our brothers should envy and replicate - we have each other. The relationships I have had with women are life-changing. It is hard to put in to words the awesomeness of female friendship, many writers have tried to get the depth of women's relationships to leap off a page or transmit on to our screens.
One of the great achievements of the UK Parliament is the cross-party support for ending violence against women. The UK is considered a leader in the fight for women's rights on the world stage. In 2014, for example, the UK hosted three major international summits to highlight injustices against women: on FGM, sexual violence and forced marriages. Yet something is missing from the UK's claim as a major player in the fight for gender equality. The Council of Europe's Convention on Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (the "Istanbul Convention"), arguably the most progressive international treaty for women's rights, remains unratified by the UK.
My friend's signature goodbye greeting when I'm getting into a taxi after a night out is "text me when you get home". She always says this. I rarely ever do remember to text her, but when I do, it's just to keep her happy. She has never been bothered when I don't text, which is worrying in its own way I suppose.
The safety and welfare of children must be paramount: there can be no compromise on that principle. But in many cases, a child's welfare is best served by staying with its mother if she can be supported to parent well. Today Nicky Morgan announces a new approach to children's services. But if we really want to improve children's welfare, we need to make sure there is support available for mothers too.
I was half way across the world from my family in the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc two years ago. As a Filipina citizen it was hard to see the footage; to hear my family talk about the devastation and the people they couldn't get in touch with. In some ways it was even harder knowing what was going to happen next.