Check out Freedom Without Fear Platform’s public meeting on Women resisting the racist ‘security’ state on 3rd July at Birkbeck, University of London from 6.30 - 8.30pm.

More information here.

Women’s voices on health: addressing barriers to accessing primary care

Maternity Action and the Women’s Health and Equality Consortium have released research into the barriers to accessing GP services faced by women.  It found that 69% of the women who had experienced domestic violence did not seek help from their GP and there was little confidence in the GP’s ability to help.

The report is available to download here.

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The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Ms Rashida Manjoo has today called for "urgent action to address the accountability deficit and also the adverse impacts of changes in funding and services"

Ms Rashida Manjoo has now finalised her two week country mission. Today she presented a nine page press statement which offers an initial, but comprehensive, overview of the UK’s approach and performance on violence against women and girls.

During her mission Ms Manjoo gathered information from Government, a number of NGOs and other stakeholders across the UK. At a session, hosted by Imkaan, women had the opportunity to discuss issues affecting black and minority ethnic (BME) women and girls in England. In a session for young women, Ms Manjoo was provided with insight into the specific challenges many young women face including their concerns about media representation and peer on peer exploitation.  We note with gratitude, that Ms Manjoo’s statement has taken many of those concerns into account.

Imkaan warmly welcomes Ms Manjoo’s statement. Reflecting on what it means for black and minority ethnic women and girls, Marai Larasi of Imkaan states, 

“It is rare to find comments within a ‘mainstream’ document, which skilfully addresses issues affecting black and minority ethnic women and girls without essentialising whole communities or minimising violence. Issues affecting black and minority ethnic women and girls are fully integrated into the statement at each stage and are commented on with rigour, care and nuance.” 

Ms Manjoo has reminded the Government that despite welcome developments, there are still significant shortfalls, all of which have specific implications for BME women and girls.

We particularly welcome Ms Manjoo’s critique of the problematic narratives surrounding violence against black and minority ethnic women and girls and her recognition that this violence is often decontextualized from wider patriarchal structures. We also reiterate her acknowledgement that current approaches to funding and welfare reform are having a disproportionate impact on BME women and girls and the specialist services that support them.

Imkaan has appreciated the opportunity to participate in this process and to reflect on progress made, and challenges faced, on addressing violence against women and girls the UK.  We thank Ms Manjoo for her sensitivity, and scrutiny.

We urge the Government to take into account the Special Rapporteur’s statement. It is essential that the Government works in a meaningful way with frontline, specialist women’s organisations, including BME expert NGOs to take immediate action in line with the recommendations.

As Ms Manjoo notes, there have been positive developments in this area; but eliminating violence against women and girls should not be left to "isolated pockets of good practice, which depend largely on the personal commitment of individuals and some authorities, but…not applied consistently throughout the country".Professor Manjoo’s press statement can be read here.

Imkaan’s submission can be read here.

Imkaan hosts dedicated meeting with UN Special Rapporteur on VAW and the BME women’s sector

Imkaan was delighted to host a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo, and the BME women’s sector, during her first official visit to the UK at the end of March.

The event brought together more than 30 BME women from across the country, and provided a dedicated space to highlight and discuss the specific context of violence against BME women and girls in the UK. Imkaan would like to thank all the women who contributed, and we give special thanks to Akima Thomas, for chairing the meeting.

Between 31 March and 15 April, Ms Manjoo will assess the manifestations of and response to violence against women and girls in the UK and will share her preliminary findings at a press conference in London at the end of her visit.   Her final findings and recommendations will be presented at a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council.

Imkaan submitted a briefing paper to Ms Manjoo in advance of her visit, informed by our members and outlining the key issues for the BME women’s sector.  The paper will be available online soon.

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Internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Diana King lends her efforts to eliminating violence against women and girls

On 25th November 2013, Imkaan came together with the Pacific Islands Safety and Prevention Project (The Project) in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to reiterate our call for equality and for the elimination of violence against women and girls. We have chosen to use Purple Butterflies as the symbol of this collaboration.

Imkaan’s Executive Director, Marai Larasi shared this via her Twitter page, and internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Diana King watched our videos discussing the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Following this, Diana has chosen to donate her song “Bruises" from her latest album "Agirlnameking" to Imkaan and The Project, as a way to support our cause. She says:

"As an artist, you live for those moments when your soul speaks and there’s no questioning why you are about to do something. This was what happened when I visited Imkaan’s website through a post on Marai’s Twitter page. I watched the videos discussing the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and immediately something ignited in me because this cause is also my cause. I have 9 sisters who are now women, and all of us have suffered violent abuse as girls. Sadly it continues among more than a few of us. The wounds left never seem to heal and affects our self worth daily. I wanted to do something and it’s an honour to contribution my song "Bruises" written for an abused friend. This is one of the most natural things I’ve ever done. It simple just felt good and right. Elimination is better than cure."

The staff at Imkaan and The Project are truly honoured, inspired and overwhelmed by Diana’s generosity and commitment to equality. 

Big up Diana King! 

Listen/purchase: Bruises by Diana King

Click here for a bit more information.