Whilst that is understandable to an extent, there is also a danger that the personalities involved become a distraction from the wider horror of what we are actually talking about here: an abuse of power that can go to even deeper and darker levels of control and violence.
This year part of that campaign has been to look for male role models to take a stand and act on behaviours that can ultimately become something far worse. It makes a simple pledge to “Never commit, excuse or stay silent about male violence towards women.”
The hope is that by recognizing and standing up against any form of gender-based violence against women we can effect a shift in attitude that helps prevent all kinds of violence against women and helps to reduce the escalation of such behaviours in abusive relationships to the point where women are killed.
The most recent statistics I could find – by The Femicide Census – cites a total of 936 women killed by men in England and Wales over a six-year period from 2009 to 2015.
The report also found women are at the most significant risk of deadly violence after separating from an abusive partner. Around three-quarters of women killed at the hands of their ex-partner or former spouse died within 12 months of that separation.
Women’s Aid, a charity, last week obtained data it says shows that around 200 women and children fleeing domestic abuse are turned away from refuges every day in England. They warn that the government plans to place councils like ourselves in charge of funding for emergency accommodation will only intensify the pressures and push things towards breaking point.
Women talk to other women about these issues. But not enough men are talking about this with their friends, colleagues and staff.
Surely the time has come now for a new level of commitment across the board. We need to ensure domestic violence victims get the full support they need from police, refuges and local councils – and that we also have a culture where it is the norm for anyone and everyone to speak up against sexual and domestic violence. If you wish to sign the pledge you can do so here.
Whilst the White Ribbon Campaign – which started on November 25 and lasts for 16 days – focuses on male violence against women, it is equally important to note that domestic violence can also be perpetrated by women against men and in same-sex relationships.I
f you are an Oldham resident and are affected by any of these issues you can find out more about the local help available here on the Oldham Council website.