Exactly one week after you read this message two women in the UK will be murdered as a result of domestic violence. 42% of women murdered in the UK are as a result of domestic violence.
International Women's day was celebrated last week and it was an opportunity for issues like domestic violence to be talked about. Despite the Immature feelings of some about the insignificance of international Women's day, the importance of marking the day overwhelmed social media, topping the trending list.
International Women Day inspires women, celebrates their achievements and gets conversations started on topics affecting them in these times. One of the events I attended on International Women's Day was in the Houses of Parliament involving discussions mainly on domestic violence and Female Genital Mutilation.
ABOVE: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY AT THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
Hearing the stories first hand from women who had experienced domestic violence and FGM was extremely moving. It made me think of an old friend who opened up to me about her domestic abuse and having to move hundreds of miles away to protect her and her children, only for me to find out that she made up with her abuser and he had moved back in with them. As hard as it is for me to realise why she took him back, I have to come to terms with the fact that the emotional ties are still there between them and that she sill loved him very dearly.
The BBC documentary Behind Closed Doors gives an insight into domestic abuse, following the stories of three women over the course of 12 months to show how terrifying it can be. The feelings that the women still had for their abusers just showed how difficult it can be for someone to exit a toxic relationship.
A hot topic of the evening was on the role of religious leaders and institutions on lacking to make a difference in this area. A number of comments were made on religious figures condemning women for leaving abusive relationships and cases where the religious figure is doing the abusing themselves.
I'm not one to say that people don't deserve second chances but, how easily is the advice available to young women on how to deal with domestic violence? The organisations that support women who are abused should be visiting schools and distribute more information on targeted websites on the Internet in a form that is relatable to the young people of today. Until this happens how will we save them from abusive relationships that they believe that there is no way out of?
The award winning BBC Documentary Murdered by my boyfriend was a step in the right direction, taking a real story and portraying it to a young audience in a way they could relate to and understand.
It's good to celebrate International Women's Day once a year but it shouldn't be just one day that we get a massive response form people recognising and talking about issues like domestic violence, FGM, child brides etc. Instead the day should be a catalyst in igniting ongoing conversations on issues that affect females in today's society.