Today (25th of Nov) marks the international day for the elimination of violence against women. Violence in all its forms is something that effects women (and often their dependents) of all races and backgrounds across the globe. Up to 70% of women experience violence in their lifetime, according to research conducted by the UN. They also note that between 500,000 and 2 million people have been trafficked into slavery and prostitution, of which 80% are women. It is estimated that 130 million women and girls alive today have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
In Britain, violence against women as gone up 8% between 2011 and 2012, while organisations which support women fleeing domestic abuse, sexual violence and trafficking face uncertain futures regarding their funding because of severe budget cuts to central and local government funding. Between 2010 and 2012 31% of the local authority budget for these organisations was cut, and charities have reportedly had to turn many women away, almost 9% of those seeking refuge women as they haven’t the resources to support them. This has meant that support workers have had to suggest other places for women to sleep, such as A&E departments and night buses. To make matters worse, shady security firm G4S have been given the contract to run two Rape Crisis centres in Birmingham and Walsall. These organisations should be state run, and should not be used for private profit.
The YCL wholeheartedly condemns violence against women and girls. We understand it not as naturally occurring phenomena but as being linked to women’s marginalised roll in class society. As communists, we see the oppression of women as both a function and product of class society. It is linked materially to the process of class exploitation as well as operating at a ‘superstructural’ level through oppressive ideologies which serve to maintain class rule by dividing the exploited. The left must work hard to raise the issue of violence against women, set in the context of women’s economic and social subjugation.