Domestic violence

Speaking up about what I went through as a child took a lot of courage. I never thought that I could one day be so open about it and share it in my music. Today I had a radio interview for East Side 89.7fm and spoke about it further. Sometimes, it takes speaking about what goes on behind closed doors to truly make a difference. I feel that its important to ask questions like “what do children need?” I know the answer from my own childhood, and it was to have a safe and secure home, free of violence and abuse, and a father that loved and protected me. But unfortunately, for too many children (boys and girls) home is far from a safe haven. Every year, hundreds of millions of children are exposed to domestic violence at home, and this has a powerful and profound impact on their lives and hopes for the future. These children not only watch one parent violently assaulting another, they often hear the distressing sounds of violence and abuse far too early on in age.

Violence against women and girls continues to be a global epidemic that kills, tortures, and maims physically, psychologically, sexually and economically. It is one of the most pervasive of human rights violations, denying women and girls equality, security, dignity, self-worth, and their right to enjoy fundamental freedoms.

Violence against women is present in every country, cutting across boundaries of culture, class, education, income, ethnicity and age. Even though most societies proscribe violence against women, the reality is that violations against women’s human rights are often sanctioned under the garb of cultural practices and norms, or through misinterpretation of religious tenets. Moreover, when the violation takes place within the home, as is very often the case, the abuse is effectively condoned by the tacit silence and the passivity displayed by the state and the law enforcing machinery.

The global dimensions of this violence are alarming, as highlighted by studies on its incidence and prevalence. No society can claim to be free of such violence, the only variation is in the patterns and trends that exist in countries and regions. Specific groups of women are more vulnerable, including minority groups, indigenous and migrant women, refugee women and those in situations of armed conflict, women in institutions and detention, women with disabilities, female children, and elderly women.

My radio interview specifically focused on domestic violence, the most prevalent yet relatively hidden and ignored form of violence against women and girls. While reliable statistics are hard to come by, studies estimate that, from country to country, between 20 and 50 per cent of women have experienced physical violence at the hands of a man. This is such a massive number of women and another reason why I feel so strongly about speaking up against it.