‘All day, everyday’: where is the protection against violence in schools and universities?
Women all over the world have used human rights law, whether domestic or in the international treaties, to challenge their Governments when they were not recognizing and respecting women’s human rights. Women lawyers have over decades used the core human rights treaties creatively to show governments that women’s bodies, freedom and dignity are as entitled to protection as men’s. The standards and precedents set by this agenda-setting work have benefitted millions of us.
In 2014, the UK-based End Violence Against Women Coalition, a group of more than 70 organisations including many who provide frontline support services to women and girls facing abuse in the UK, decided it was time to use these standards directly to challenge the abuse experienced by girls and young women in our education system. Women’s groups in the UK have campaigned for years for better policy and practice in our schools to both protect girls at risk of physical or sexual abuse in the home, FGM, sexual exploitation and more, and as a key way of disrupting attitudes that condone abuse in later life before they set in. But we felt there was a brick wall facing us as many of those in power insisted that what was in place to protect all children was enough.
This article first appeared in open Democracy. It is part of a series curated by Liz Kelly for the 16 Days of Activism to End to Gender-based Violence.
Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.
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