From 25 November until 10 December, we will be supporting United Nations ‘International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls’.
During this time, some of the region's most iconic buildings will be illuminated in orange, including Merseyside Police Headquarters in Canning Place, Liverpool Town Hall St George’s Hall, the Cunard Building and the Steve Prescott Bridge.
Orange is the official colour of the UNiTE campaign, symbolizing a brighter future free from violence against women and girls. The buildings will be lit up from Fri 23 Nov until Sunday 25 Nov, between 28.00 and 22.00.
According to the United Nations, 1 in 9 women in the UK annually suffer from domestic violence and two are killed each week.
The U.N. has called on international support for their UNiTE campaign which will end after 16 days of action on 10 December, Human Rights Day, which celebrates the signing of the famous U.N. charter in 1948.
Last year, as part of the initiative hundreds of activities took place in over 90 countries, and 177,000 tweets and Instagram posts with the hashtag #orangetheworld from 84,500 different users reached 311 million unique Twitter and Instagram users across the world. This year people are asked to also use the hashtag #endvaw
The UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Towards Women and Girls is also marked by the White Ribbon campaign, which was started by men to show their support in eradicating violence towards women.
What to do if you are facing abuse
If you feel that you are in an abusive relationship, it is important to know what steps to take in order to protect yourself from further harm.
The following are steps to take if you believe you are in an abusive relationship;
- Be willing to walk away from the relationship if there is a need.
- Do not blame yourself for the actions and choices of your abusive partner.
- Tell someone you trust like a friend, family member, counsellor or co-worker.
- Decide if you are in immediate danger. If you feel that your partner might harm you, go somewhere safe immediately. If you cannot get away, inform a friend or family member, or call the police.
- Identify safe areas in the house where you can go if your abuser attacks you or starts an argument. Be careful to avoid small enclosed spaces or rooms with tools that could prove dangerous (e.g. kitchen or store-room)
- Have important documents ready, such as birth certificates and bank records, which you can access easily should you need to leave.
- Plan an escape route. This would involve having somewhere safe to go, such as the house of someone you trust or a women’s shelter.
Sexual violence can be committed by an intimate partner or by a total stranger.
The following are steps to take if you have been a victim of sexual assault;
- Do not change out of your clothes as clothing may be used to collect forensic evidence.
- If you are injured, seek medical attention in an emergency room as soon as possible. Doctors may administer a rape kit in order to preserve any forensic evidence.
- Decide if you want to report the incident. Should you decide to report it, go to the nearest police station where the officers will take your statement.
- Get medicine to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies.
- You may need to seek support from trusted individuals, a counsellor or a hotline.
What to do if someone else if being abused
When someone in your life is the victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, it is important to be supportive and attentive to their needs.
The following are some ways you can help someone who you think is experiencing violence.
- Try to have an in person private conversation with them. Avoid texting, calling or leaving a voice message as this could put them in danger.
- Listen respectfully to what they have to say. Do not press for details or ask them why they did not leave. If the person does not want to talk, simply say you will be there should they need you.
- Before you speak to them, find services nearby that you can direct them to.
- Offer practical support, such as accompanying them to appointments or calling a helpline.
- Respect their decisions.
- Never confront an abuser or do anything that may compromise your safety.
- You may need to seek support for your own feeling through a trusted individual or a counsellor.
For help and information or to find an organisation that offer support, please visit www.VictimCareMerseyside.org.