Ruth Cross – Usdaw Equalities Officer says:
“The right to live a life free from violence is a basic human right that is being denied to millions of women and girls every day. At home, in work and in schools women are subject to verbal abuse, sexual harassment and physical assault.
“One in three women around the world have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. So we very much welcome the UN’s annual day for the elimination of violence against women, which starts 16 days of activism through to International Human Rights Day, and highlights the all year round work many organisations, including trade unions, are doing to tackle violence against women.
“Violence has a devastating impact on women’s lives, on our physical and mental health, on the lives of our families and children. Much of this abuse is hidden, taking place behind closed doors and we’re told to put up with it, we’re told to keep quiet and we’re told it’s just part of our job. This culture has silenced and marginalised the voices of women for years.
“When women do speak out, far too often we are not believed, crimes go unpunished and perpetrators of violence walk free. Our hope is that campaign days like today will be the start of a wider cultural shift, one that calls out abuse, effectively deals with abusers, protects women and girls, and supports organisations that help survivors of violence to rebuild their lives.
“While many shopworkers have seen a rise in customer abuse during the pandemic, for women this has often taken the form of sexualised and offensive remarks and so- called jokes about their appearance and bodies.
“Usdaw’s survey of members’ experiences found seven in ten women have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work. Young women are particularly at risk with 90% reporting sexual harassment in the last twelve months. Most did not tell their employer.
“Trade Unions can help women who struggle to make their voices heard. We can collectively challenge the structural and institutional power imbalances that permit and perpetuate violence against women. Together we can work to eliminate violence against women.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 370,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women: https://www.un.org/en/observances/ending-violence-against-women-day
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
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