End violence to all women

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IN these supposedly enlightened times, it is a shameful admission of failure that the world needs to declare this the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Many would have thought that the days of raising a fist or lashing out with a boot at women were things of the past.

Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. For it seems that ever more women are suffering the cuts and bruises – and worse – of abusive relationships. Today we publish figures which show that South Yorkshire has a woefully grim record of violence against women and girls.

In a 12-month period to March this year, South Yorkshire Police attended no fewer than 23,000 claims of violent behaviour towards women. Shamefully, 9,282 of those were in Sheffield.

A third of the calls were from women who had previously appealed for help after suffering abuse and violence of one kind or another.

This is a damning indictment of thousands of individuals who turn too readily to hate-fuelled violence to settle their differences.

And there is a fear that this situation could grow even worse.

Christmas and New Year are traditionally times when relationships come under extreme stress and pressure. It is meant to be a time for families to be together and too many overcome the tide of conflict and put on brave faces to avoid spoiling everyone else’s fun.

But, where these relationships are damaged, this is the time when they are in grave danger of falling apart completely, sometimes violently.

The recession also brings a heavy toll on family life as people lose jobs and their self esteem is diminished accordingly. That can lead to violent confrontations within families and women, as is too often the case, feel the pain as a consequence.

But it does not always have to be this way forever.

There is a movement growing in influence and power which is determined to change this state of affairs.

And The Star is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the growing number of organisations who today support the Day For the Elimination of Violence Against Women by wearing white ribbons.

It is a symbol of hope that the unacceptable level of intimidation with which too many women and girls live will one day become a thing of the past.

And it is also a glowing emblem that reminds victims that they need not suffer in silence.

For one of today’s aims is to also show that there are many places where women can seek refuge or advice which will help them live their lives in safety and security.

Play your part today. Wear your white ribbon to show you care.