Gender based violence has a high cost. It is estimated that domestic violence and abuse costs Bristol £41,309,806 each year. This includes costs of physical and mental healthcare.
The evidence of the need to address domestic abuse is telling.
Based on a population of 432,500 (ONS 2012 Mid-Year Population Estimate), the Home Office estimates that 14,273 women and girls aged 16-59 in Bristol have been a victim of domestic abuse.
Women in Bristol are not sitting quiet. Organisations like Bristol Zero Tolerance and Bristol Women’s Voice are a force in combating the issue.
On International Women’s Day they protested outside the Mariott Hotel in the city centre against an event hosted by American boxer Floyd Mayweather jr.
Nicknamed “pretty boy” the convicted boxer has numerous offences relating to abuse against women.
Charlotte Gage, from Zero Tolerance, believes that the boxer should not be held in high esteem.
“Floyd Mayweather has to go”
Armed with a megaphone and their voices, over 40 campaigners chanted: “Domestic violence we say no. Floyd Mayweather has to go.”
There were tension filled scenes as people could be heard saying: “shame on you!”
Their voices could be heard from neighbouring streets.
Since 2002 the boxer has been accused of violence against women. In 2011 he spent 90 days in jail for battery domestic violence and harassment.
During his boxing career the 39-year-old boxer has won 15 titles and has never lost a professional fight. But these protesters were ready for the fight.
Bristol Women’s Voice had sent an open letter to the Marriott, alongside SARSAS (Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support) and many more local organisations, asking the Marriott to reconsider hosting the event.
Matt Hollimshead who was one of the five men to attend stated:
“I’m a feminist. I was raised by feminists. I show up to these things because they matter. It’s a bit sad that there aren’t more men here.”
Nationally, at least 29.9% of women and 17% of men in England and Wales have, at some point, experienced domestic violence and abuse.
According to Bristol Zero Tolerance gender based violence can not only result in emotional distress but could potentially result in a loss of life.
Women are ‘chalking’ the street
While the voice is a powerful source, words are equally emphatic.
For friends Dawn, Rosyln and Julie they have a unique way of celebrating the power of women. They ‘chalk’ the pavements with uplifting messages.
Armed with song sheets and chalk in hand, they’ve kept up with a tradition they started in 2009.
Women passing by were urged to pick up a piece of chalk and write down their own message.
The three friends felt compelled to do this, when they supported a student who had challked, ‘buildings go high, wages go low’
Roslyn and Julie commemorate two other special days of the year: International Worker’s day and International Emancipation day.
Dawn sang and even remixed notable tunes to suit the occasion.
Changing the infamous lyric “If you’re happy and you know it? to “If you’re proud to be a woman? stomp your feet”