The numbers matter. Without clear and accurate data, women's experiences of violence are written out of the story on British crime, and policy decisions on how to respond to domestic violence are made based on only half of the picture. How do we develop appropriate and effective responses to a crime we do not fully understand? We need to get to the bottom of why in 2015 thousands of women and children are still being traumatised and brutalised in their own homes. We need to understand why women and children are still being killed and killing themselves to escape domestic violence.
In November, Sierra Leone was reporting 550 new cases of ebola every week. Today the number has slowed to seven new cases a week. Just a few weeks ago, the schools reopened. But there is still a long road ahead for Sierra Leone, and the brave women of West Africa who have already endured so much. I hope that next spring these tragic times will all be in the past, and Sierra Leone's future will once again look bright.
Rather than spending the next 40 years holding ticker tape parades and award ceremonies for every single woman who did not commit an act of violence in the last 24 hours, we could just point out the #BlameOneNotAll campaign, created by media company Mintified, is just another pile of misogynistic drivel
For centuries, we've been stuck with the status quo: in the corporate world, in international affairs, in education, sports, media and everything in-between. The present state of affairs is very evidently not working, and yet it endures. It's time to start saying, loudly, "this isn't good enough anymore."
If we look at the headlines or the latest horrifying YouTube clip, International Women's Day may seem a bad time to celebrate equality for women. But alongside the stories of extraordinary atrocity and everyday violence lies another reality, one where more girls are in school and more are earning qualifications than ever before; where maternal mortality is at an all-time low; where more women are in leadership positions, and where women are increasingly standing up, speaking out and demanding action.