‘Valentine’s Day’- the one day of the year to celebrate your love for another. Some choose to give gifts such as, flowers, chocolates or jewellery (the latter if you’re lucky); others prefer hitting, slapping or kicking. Each to their own, I suppose. On Thursday 14th February marches and events took place all over the world in support of ‘One Billion Rising’, one billion being the estimated number of women around the world to have survived abuse. Balloons were released into the air to signify the 109 women in the UK in 2012 who sadly didn’t survive violence form male perpetrators.
These shocking figures triggered a debate in the House of Commons regarding the education system’s approach to sex and relationships. Of course, respect and moral relationships should be taught in the home and in most cases, via parents, but if this vital and socially fundamental behaviour lacks within a household, it therefore does within a child. As children we attend school to be educated on the subjects of our world, human equality and justice is a significant subject and recurring issue that fails to be addressed nor resolved.
We equip students with equations and language that lead to careers that save lives; we must expand in the ways we do this, through ethics and morals too. Surely a simple and effective method to increase awareness and knowledge in violence and abuse is through schooling and the education system. If this lesson were integrated through schools across the nation, then this in itself would sponsor human equality. The devastating facts on injuries and deaths prove the transgression of domestic violence and abuse against women remains insufficiently dealt with- we must learn from these prior generations to better the next.
One Billion Rising is a campaign initiated by acclaimed activist and author of ‘Vagina Monologues’ Eve Ensler, in attempt to raise awareness of sexual and domestic violence against women. Last Thursday marked the 15th anniversary since the ‘V-Day’ movement was put in place. Ensler was honoured by the acts of support displayed all over Europe, Asia and Africa, most noticeably in India marches, debates and dances rippled throughout the cities involving tens of thousands of men, women and children. As expected, widespread rage and disruption echoes relentlessly for the life of the 23 year-old woman from New Delhi who was recently gang-raped, and for the many other tragic cases.
In 2012 Justine Greening’s speech on ‘Eliminating violence against women and girls’, stated that ‘up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16’ This staggering amount urges me to affirm that awareness of violence and any range of abuse must be integrated into the education system, victims and their perpetrators have to be educated in human rights. At the age of sixteen and the start of further education, students are offered subjects such as Psychology and Sociology which encounter domestic violence and violence against women. However, these are not compulsory subjects, further education is not always an option and this knowledge is unavailable until the age of 16- for some this may be too late.
During the House of Commons debate Dr Eilidh Whiteford argues that 20 years ago domestic violence was a ‘taboo subject’, it occurred within the household and stayed there. luckily we have progressed from there- that does not mean the problems have stopped! She continues to theorise that violence against women is underpinned by ‘inequality between women and men’ and ‘unacceptable abuses of power’- this too can change. Campaigns and activists such as One Billion Rising and those involved collaborate to stamp down on human rights impediments to create a world with justice.