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Domestic violence survivors speak out in city rally

Men, women and politicians take to streets

Written by . Published on November 27th 2012.


Domestic violence survivors speak out in city rally

THE new police and crime commissioner for Merseyside, Jane Kennedy, has called for a fight against forced marriages in a rally to highlight domestic abuse and violence.

Sunday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and hundreds of women and men marched through Liverpool city centere from St Luke's "Bombed-Out" Church to Clayton Square.

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The event was organised by a number of groups involved in the issue - among them Beat Abuse, a group of young women formed after the murder of their friend Kelsey Shaw last year, at the age of 17.

“Cath”, from South Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service  acted as MC and was one of a string of speakers who included abuse survivors and politicians.

Among the shocking statistics, she reminded the crowds that 45 per cent of UK women experienced domestic violence, sexual abuse or stalking. At least two women were killed each week by a current or former partner, while at a global level, millions of women were “missing” because of sex selective abortion and infanticide.

Prevent

Assia, from SLDAS, spoke about women who were victims of trafficking, forced marriages, and female genital mutilation and highlighted the White Ribbon Campaign, started by a group of men in Canada to oppose violence against women.

Jane Kennedy said that domestic violence was a crime about which it was usually possible to predict both the victim and the perpetrator, so it should be possible to prevent it.

On forced marriages, she said that 35 phone calls on this subject had been made to Merseyside Police since last summer. "We must stand up and fight against it."

Ms Kennedy expressed regret that during the election campaign, another candidate had, she said, denied that domestic violence was a crime. "There are attitudes out there," she added.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool Sharon Sullivan announced that 104 balloons would be launched by the groups represented, in memory of 104 women killed in the UK by current or former partners in the past year. "We're here to show our intolerance" for such crimes, she stressed.

Jane KennedyJane Kennedy"Karen", a mother of two from West Derby, told how she was a victim of her ex-husband for seven years, the abuse being physical, financial and emotional.

She had thought she was the only one, but "I'm now a survivor and a happy one." She was proud that her children were now at university and in the RAF. She urged women to get help if they were going through abuse.

She said: “Before I met my ex- husband, I was working as cabin crew and I had a great life.

“After the first hit, there were sorrys and tears and he said he would never do it again. I believed him. Now I want to tell young girls not to take that first hit or slap, just to walk away.

"If I had gone somewhere like Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service, I could have left earlier. That is why it is so important for women to know there is help out there and they are not alone.”

Music

An encouraging feature of the march was the number of men who had come to show support for their partners, daughters, sisters or friends, and Councillor Sullivan highlighted this, saying that the White Ribbon Campaign was the first of its kind involving men taking responsibility for stopping violence against women.

Music was provided by members of the La Bomba women's drum troupe.

Speakers stressed that women could experience abuse regardless of ethnicity, religion, class, age, sexual orientation, disability or lifestyle.

It was also stressed that it was not an issue confined to heterosexual relationships but also occurred among the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered populations, as well as within families and extended families.

The info box

The following are telephone numbers of relevant groups:

ABC Domestic Abuse Project: 0151 482 2484

 Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service: 0151 263 7474

MRANG: 0151 708 6326

Rape and Sexual Assault Support: 0151 666 1392

Savera: 077 16266 484

South Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service: 0151 494 2222

Women's Health Information and Support Centre: 0151 707 1826

Worst Kept Secret: 0800 028 3398

Further information on services is available on Facebook, under "Liverpool Unite to End Violence Against Women."

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