Today saw the launch of Durham Women Rising – a new awareness raising organisation which has grown out of One Billion Rising – the global campaign to raise awareness about violence against women and girls.
One billion women in the world will be affected by violence in her lifetime – just for being a woman. That’s injustice on an industrial scale, and Durham is absolutely no exception – it happens here too. But the tide is turning. On the last of 16 International Days of Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women, a new local group is standing up to make a difference.
Durham Women Rising is a consortium of individuals and organisations committed to empowering women and girls in County Durham & Darlington. And a huge part of this means tackling the culture of violence that stands in the way of genuine equality for women in our society. This is because gender-based violence has reached epidemic levels:
- 1 in 3 women in the world will experience some form of violence in her lifetime;
- 1 in 4 women in the UK experience domestic abuse;
- 10 domestic homicides were recorded in the County Durham and Darlington Police and Crime Commission during 2011/12 and the first two quarters of 2012/13.
Happily, Durham Women Rising are not alone. Tuesday 10th December is also the day that the 3 Police and Crime Commissioners of the North East publicly launch their Strategy to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls and one of the key pledges is concerned with addressing the ways in which our culture enables such outrageous levels of gender-based violence.
Sue Robson, Coordinator of the North East Women’s Network, says, “North East Women’s Network is extremely encouraged by the launch of Durham Women Rising, particularly as it coincides with the launch of the Police and Crime Commissioners Strategy. We are looking forward to working collectively with Durham Women Rising and other groups of women in the North East to end all forms of violence against women and girls – together we are stronger!”
Whilst Durham Women Rising are pleased to welcome Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, to their launch event, it is also significant that the event will be hosted by Durham University’s Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA).
Our local university and the various voluntary sector organisations who make up Durham Women Rising, all serve to act as a ‘critical friend’ to the Police and Crime Commissioner in addressing this important issue.
Durham Women Rising burst into life on Valentine’s Day 2013, staging an event in Durham City Market Place that engaged with over 500 people, as part of a global movement known as One Billion Rising that was started by American playwright Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues.
Events already planned for 2014 include touring exhibitions, play-readings, women’s testimonies, music, poetry, a youth dance project, women’s comedy nights, Suffragettes, a Reclaim the Night march, women in enterprise, lectures, debates, policy forums and discussion panels…. the list goes on and the festival is still seeking proposals from other women and organisations concerned to redress the balance in our society.
Durham Women Rising is now seeking funding to help bring its festival plans into fruition and is thrilled to have the support of County Durham Community Foundation as a fund-holder for grants, donations and sponsorship.
We hope YOU too will support this important new initiative by spreading the word. For further information please contact:
Lisa C Davis
Co-ordinator, Durham Women Rising
Managing Director, Changing Relations