Joint statement by Merched Cymru and Women’s Rights Network Wales in response to statement by Welsh Women’s Aid

We are dismayed by the statement issued by Welsh Women’s Aid on 5 th October in response to unspecified comments by UK Government Ministers. Welsh Women’s Aid was established in 1978 with a specific focus on supporting local Women’s Aid Groups delivering single-sex services to
women experiencing domestic abuse and give those women a voice within the policy and law-making process.

It was set up by women, for women. It acknowledged that those services had to be exclusive of men, male adults, to allow vulnerable women and their children to break free from male violence and abuse and heal their trauma. Women’s Aid offered women a place of safety and sisterly support. This has worked for decades and has a strong evidence base. The unique value of single-sex services is recognised by domestic abuse survivors themselves, practitioners and by experts including the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls, Reem Alsalem. Continue reading “Joint statement by Merched Cymru and Women’s Rights Network Wales in response to statement by Welsh Women’s Aid”

Colabo needs your help!

Last year, Ali, one of our Executive Board members, did some incredible work on a cultural/educational exchange visit to Japan on behalf of FiLiA. She worked with women’s groups supporting women and girls exploited by the sex industry.

While there, she did some work with Colabo, a group that supports runaways and displaced teenage girls and young women in Tokyo to avoid or escape sexual exploitation, including pornography and prostitution. Colabo undertake difficult and often hostile work offering support, resources and a safe place to rest at their centre, outreach work in the red-light district and their innovative Tsubomi Cafe, a large pink bus offering teenage girls a free service including a friendly ear, clothing, food and ongoing support.

Ali saw first-hand the work they did in the café bus, and she walked around the red-light district handing out support packs with the workers. It was a difficult and emotional experience. Continue reading “Colabo needs your help!”

Every girl needs a best friend

Adolescence is a tricky period in a girl’s life. From rapid changes in your body to the prospect of adult relationships it’s a time of huge upheaval – all too often coming alongside exams and other academic pressures. Fortunately, girls are often surrounded by allies to help them through this passage of their lives: their friends. The friendships you form in your teens stay with you your whole life – it’s a deep bond, burned in deeper than your first kiss.

We turn to our friends when we need help in this period of our lives. Parents can be too busy, or too old, too tied up in their own problems. Teachers don’t always seem to have the time. And some things are just too embarrassing to talk about with an adult. They wouldn’t get it. But your friends do: they’re navigating the same sea, after all. Continue reading “Every girl needs a best friend”

Statement against violent protests in New Zealand

Statement by UK human rights, women’s rights, LGB rights and child safeguarding groups condemning violent protests preventing women from speaking in New Zealand

Women who speak out about women’s rights and lesbian rights are vilified and, increasingly, attacked not only verbally but physically. Many of us have experienced such extreme hostility, intimidation and violence. We stand with all women who speak for their rights.

Kellie-Jay Keen, a women’s rights activist from the UK, has been prevented by violent protesters from holding a public open-mic event, and has been assaulted and forced to cut short her tour of Australia and New Zealand. Continue reading “Statement against violent protests in New Zealand”

Sexual violence and the abuse of our girls

One thing I have learnt through working in this field for so long is that every act of VAWDASV (violence against women, domestic abuse & sexual violence), however small or seemingly inconsequential is linked. No act is an isolated incident, and in fact they often directly link with each other or are inter-related. Like links in a chain. Building one upon the other until you have a full chain of entrapment around you.

The level of harassment and abuse which girls face on a daily basis, in school and outside of it is staggering. I need to make it clear here that adults, whether parents, caretakers or teachers, really do not understand the scale of the problem. If you think you do. Double it. Treble it. Girls experience abuse, violence and harassment in ways unheard of in the previous generation. Social media and technology mean they are vulnerable and accessible to abusers 24 hrs a day. Continue reading “Sexual violence and the abuse of our girls”