At least 1 in 2 women experience Gender-Based Violence and 1 in 4 are affected by domestic abuse in their lifetime. Today marks the start of the 16 Days of Action against Gender-Based Violence, a national campaign to break the stigma surrounding violence towards women. GBV has many faces, from toxic boyfriends to slutshaming, medical violence and workplace discrimination. We want to take action to help stop the violence against women by fundraising for Edinburgh Women's Aid and standing with Back Off Chalmers, a campaign to create buffer zones around Edinburgh's sexual health clinics.
TW: abuse, gender-based violence
“My last relationship was so toxic”, “I had sex with someone and they took the condom off halfway through”, “This guy called me a slag because I didn’t want to go on a date with him” Ever heard these words before? These are all signs of abuse. When we think of gender-based violence or domestic abuse, these are not the kind of statements that spring to mind – yet that's what abuse sounds like. Today marks the start of the 16 Days of Action against Gender-Based Violence, a national campaign to break the stigma surrounding violence towards women. Too often, we sweep these topics under the rug because they are uncomfortable or “controversial”. However, at least 50% of women have experienced gender-based violence in their lifetime – a quarter of the world population.
You shouldn’t have to change who you are for the sake of your date or your relationship. There is a clear line between the normal compromises made in a healthy relationship and unreasonable sacrifices done for the other person. Controlling, coercing, blackmailing, gaslighting (making you doubt yourself constantly), repeatedly asking until you say yes just to make it stop isn’t love. It’s not normal.
If you are in this situation, there are people you can turn to for support. Edinburgh Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis, or even the Wellbeing Services and the Advice Hub. You don’t have to be a rape survivor or tick this or that box to reach out to them. They will be able to give you confidential support to get you back on your feet, emotionally and practically. Remember, there is no such thing as “not bad enough”.
If you want to help make things change, there are things you can do. Challenge toxic behaviour when you see it (but make sure you always put your own safety first). Encourage your (male) friends to educate themselves on GBV. Donate if you can – this year, we are raising money for Edinburgh Women’s Aid, a local charity that does amazing work with women and children. Just £3 or £4 can help someone escape a dangerous situation by paying for a SIM card or a bus ticket!
Sign the petition
Donate what you can
HWU x EWA Fundraiser
Back Off Chalmers Petition
White Ribbon UK
Edinburgh Women’s Aid
Edinburgh Rape Crisis
Scottish Borders Women’s Aid
Women’s Aid Orkney
Student Wellbeing Services
Student Counselling Services
HWU Consent Video