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Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, on November 25, World Vision Ireland has stated that one in three women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. 

According to World Vision Ireland, an international aid charity, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday; while 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM).

“Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations globally, today.” Niall Mc Loughlin, CEO of World Vision Ireland, said. 

“It remains largely unreported due to the lack of support services, and the silence, stigma and shame surrounding it. Violence against women manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, including intimate partner violence – battery, psychological abuse, marital rape, and femicide; human trafficking; female genital mutilation (FGM); and child marriage.

"World Vision Ireland is working to raise awareness of these issues in Ireland and abroad. With international support, education and empowering women, we can reduce these figures significantly.”

The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

World Vision Ireland said that gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, but that some women and girls are particularly vulnerable, including young girls, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women living through humanitarian crisis.

“Violence against women is a barrier to gender equality, family development, education, child welfare, and human rights.” Niall McLoughlin said. “71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 of these women and girls are sexually exploited. With robust international peace agreements and supporting women in vulnerable communities, we can hope to tackle and correct these issues.”

According to World Vision Ireland, only 52 percent of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care. 1 in 2 women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family in 2017, while 1 out of 20 men were killed under similar circumstances.

For more information on World Vision Ireland’s work, go to www.worldvision.ie

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Diversity is merely one issue in a large spectrum of problems perpetuated by ITV2's hit reality show Love Island. 

It speaks volumes that Irish contestant Yewande Biala has already been racially abused by trolls only hours after she was announced as part of the cast.

The 23-year-old is among the 12 participants entering the Spanish villa for the summer, which sees the Islanders couple-up and compete for the cash prize.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The scientist, who is of Nigerian descent but is from Enfield in County Meath, has seen her friends leap to her defence after online bullies asked racist questions regarding her nationality.

One troll remarked that Biala is "far from Irish", while another said, "not Irish and never will be." *Rings bell* SHAME

Luckily, her fans leaped to her aid, saying, "“Born and raised here I’m pretty sure that makes her Irish.” Another wrote, "Just because she hasn’t got white skin doesn’t mean she’s not Irish. Small minded people.”

The Dubliner who is self-confessed unlucky-in-love has seen her Instagram followers increase from 3,000 to more than 21,000 in just one day.

"I don’t think there is a science to finding love and if there is then I have clearly been reading the wrong books," she said of her love life. Twitter supporters were over the moon to see representation onscreen.

One fan wrote: “Today has been a great day for black Irish women…A black Irish woman was elected to the Irish local council and a black Irish woman is gonna be on Love Island."

A Wakanda-level protection group has been made online: "Black Twitter listen the hell up. We are gonna support our queen Yewande Biala to the end no questions, no fuss.. it is what it is.”

“Officially announcing that I am apart of the Yewande Biala defence squad #LoveIsland," wrote another fan.

These ignorant scumbags who are targeting Biala are no match for her fan-base, and we are loving it. We stan an Irish queen.

Feature image: Instagram/@yewande_biala

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Mandy Moore has candidly opened up about her marriage to singer-songwriter Ryan Adams.

The pair were married for seven years, from 2009 to 2016, and Ryan has been the subject of claims of psychological abuse and sexual misconduct in a New York Times article that was published this month. 

Now Mandy has accused her former spouse of being psychologically abusive towards her while they were together. 

The 34-year-old opened up about it on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast which was recorded before the article and six other women had accused Ryan of varying degrees of abuse.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This is Us star said, ''I had no sense of self. I felt like I was drowning. It was so untenable and unsustainable and it was so lonely. I was so sad. I was lonely with him.”

She also said that he affected her career and that the relationship ''had an an entirely unhealthy dynamic”.

She said, ''I would do little jobs – it’s not like I completely stopped working. But it would become abundantly clear while I was working, things would completely fall apart at home.''

She continued, ''I couldn’t do my job because there was a constant stream of trying to pay attention to this person who needed me and wouldn’t let me do anything else.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mandy Moore (@mandymooremm) on

Mandy also took to Instagram to pen a powerful message.

She wrote, ''Speaking your truth can be painful and triggering but it’s always worth it. My heart is with all women who have suffered any sort of trauma or abuse. You are seen and heard. #sisterhoodforever.''

Her fans wrote messages of support and encouragement.

One said, ''You are a strong woman. The scary thing about an emotionally abusive relationship is that it takes self-esteem to leave…and that is exactly what your abuser has systematically broken down. Thank you for speaking up.'' 

While another wrote, ''Thank you for being an ally and a great example for your fans young and old. Beautiful and powerful inside and out.'' 

In the New York Times article, a 20-year-old female musician said Ryan had inappropriate conversations with her while she was 15 and 16 to which a lawyer for Ryan denies. 

We applaud Mandy for being so raw and honest about what she went through and hope that anyone in an abusive relationship has the strength to seek support. 

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Women's Aid have launched a new guide on safety orders for young women who are experiencing abuse in their relationships, due to new laws being introduced.

The legislation brought in at the beginning of this year allows women who are going through dating abuse to apply for Safety and Protection orders.

Women's Aid are instigating the guide on Valentine's Day as part of the #TooIntoYou campaign to emphasise the darker side of love.

RTÉ's Can't Stop Dancing presenter Bláthnaid Treacy is also urging young women and men to "know the signs of dating abuse", especially because 60 percent of abuse in relationships begins before the age of 25.

Women's Aid are a national organisation which provides vital information and support to women experiencing dating abuse and domestic violence. Their #TooIntoYou campaign aims to spread much-needed awareness on the topic.

#TooIntoYou uses social media and poster advertising to strive for the spread of information from February 14 until March 8 (International Women's Day).

New laws brought in at the start of 2019 under the Domestic Violence Act 2018 allow women to apply for important Safety and Protection laws.

However, the organisation believes that many young women are still in the dark about the change and how to get the necessary protection, which is why Women's Aid ae bringing in the 'Guide to Safety Orders in Dating Relationships' online today.

Spotting the 10 key danger signs of dating abuse and providing information to combat online stalking and digital abuse is of imperative importance for women in Ireland today.

Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid says:

"1 in 5 women in Ireland experience abuse in relationships and in a national survey on domestic abuse in Ireland, almost 60 percent of those who had experienced severe abuse in intimate relationships first experienced it when they were under the age of 25."

"A stark reminder of this risk is that 1 in every 2 women, aged between 18-25, killed in Ireland since 1996 were murdered by their boyfriends or exes," Martin concluded.

The campaign is being launched on Valentine's Day to highlight the hidden reality of many young women's relationships, despite the fact that today is traditionally associated with love and romance.

Martin's goal for today, is to ask the hard questions; "We are clearly asking – what part of love is abuse?" She spoke directly to victims and survivors; “You are not alone in feeling something isn't right with your relationship."

Visit the #TooIntoYou website here for more information, or call the Women's Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline at 1800 341 900.

Feature image: Instagram'/@womens.aid

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R&B singer R. Kelly has just announced a worldwide tour, despite the extensive abuse allegations against him going back three decades.

The world's most notorious musician's alleged predilection for engaging in sex acts with underage girls is the subject of a new documentary, Surviving R Kelly.

The series has rocked the entire world, watching the sheer scale of claims made against him over such an extended amount of time.

Kelly has consistently denied all the accusations of sexual misconduct, rape, emotional, physical and sexual abuse and holding women captive in a sex cult. He has also threatened to sue Lifetime for airing the docu-series.

The singer has an album, Trust, coming out soon and has dropped new music for his 'Day One Fans' on January 1.

Streams of his music has shockingly increased since more allegations were released to the general public, with numerous celebrities slamming his actions and treatment of black women.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by R Kelly (@rkelly) on

R Kelly's alleged abusive treatment hasn't been a secret for the music industry; he even went on trial for child pornography back in 2001 but was acquitted of all charges despite a large amount of evidence against him.

It was also rumoured that he physically abused R&B singer Aaliyah, and it's been reported that he married her when she was just 15-years-old by forging legal documents.

Time will tell whether the tour will sell tickets, but reactions have been incredulous;

 Disbelieving social media users are wondering how this will pan out, after all the drama that has recently erupted.

Blood is boiling, according to one woman:

Other women were downright outraged:

More details have yet to be announced, but we're sure they'll hit the headlines when they do.

Feature image: algoafm.co.za

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If you are unfamiliar with the term 'reproductive coercion', it's essentially when another person has more control over your reproductive health than yourself.

Hilary Freeman of The Guardian is now reporting that more women than imagined have no idea that reproductive coercion is a form of abuse.

Studies have revealed that a shocking one-in-four women who attend sexual health clinics report coercion over their reproductive lives, including 'contraceptive sabotage', such as covert condom removal.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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According to BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, available evidence about the abusive behaviour needs to be updated to 2017 and widen the spectrum of activities involved to include familial pressure, criminal activity and exploitation within sex trafficking.

As well as not being able to choose contraceptives to use or take control of their own reproductive health, reproductive control takes the form of contraceptive sabotage, such as convert condom removal or needling a hole in a condom. 

Not being able to decide whether to start or continue a pregnancy is a major factor, research shows, and the concept of reproductive control (especially over women's autonomy) by others was first described in 2010.

Women's experience of interference with their autonomy goes back centuries, arguably, but research indicates that younger women are particularly vulnerable, as well as those in the black community and racial minorities.

The practice is scarily common, with women having decisions taken away from them by partners, exploiters or family, invalidating consent.

One-in-four women attending sexual healthcare clinics are reporting persuasive methods, emotional blackmail, threatened or actual infidelity and physical violence predominantly perpetrated by male partners but also criminal gangs.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Other examples of contraceptive sabotage include; partners lying about having a vasectomy or sterilisation, refusing to wear condoms, forceful removal of condoms, not using the withdrawal method properly, piercing barrier contraceptives or throwing away contraceptive pills.

Condom removal during sex is referred to as 'stealthing', and is now classified as sexual assault. Spiking drinks or food to induce abortion also was mentioned as occurrences.

The consequences are often emotionally difficult to bear; unintended or unwanted pregnancy, higher abortion risk, higher STI rates and emergency contraceptive usage.

Women in violent, abusive relationships prove especially vulnerable to reproductive coercion, but many are unaware that they are being subjected to reproductive control.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marie Stopes Australia (@mariestopesaus) on

"The degree of control that a male partner can have will vary from mild to extreme. Milder amounts of control may not be perceived by the victim as unhealthy or abusive."

"Women in a long term relationship may become inured to significant levels of reproductive control," the study's authors write.

The study calls on healthcare professionals must play a crucial part in noticing and preventing this horrifically controlling behaviour.

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R&B singer R Kelly is now facing a criminal investigation over allegations of sexual assault, rape, abuse and paedophilia after the airing of explosive documentary Surviving R Kelly.

The six-hour docu-series premiered on Lifetime and shocked its audience with its graphic and emotionally harrowing stories from dozens of accusers.

On-camera interviews with women who claim to have been held captive in incredibly abusive situations with Kelly provided upsetting testimonies, and now an investigation will officially take place.

TMZ reports that Georgia investigators received hundreds of calls once the episodes started airing in the US on January 3, and they are still aiming to speak with accusers.

The district attorney's office has yet to publicly comment on its investigation, but in Illinois, State Attorney Kim Foxx urged members of the public to come forward with relevant information.

Despite this, she stopped short of opening up her own criminal investigation, but said in a press conference that; "Listening to survivors and giving survivors a platform to tell their stories was heartbreaking," 

She also told reporters that she was "sickened" as both as a mother and as a prosecutor by the sexual abuse allegations made.

Kelly's manager has shockingly been accused of threatening the parents of Jocylen Savage, one of the alleged predator's abuse victims, in an attempt to dissuade them from appearing in the documentary.

Timothy Savage told an officer the day the series aired that Don Russell, the R&B singer's manager, texted him to say it would be best for his family if the documentary never aired.

Savage claimed himself and his wife were both involved with Lifetime's harrowing series.

Surviving R Kelly was created by feminist author and filmmaker dream hampton, and also includes celebrity appearances from John Legend and Chance the Rapper, who said collaborating with the Ignition singer was a "mistake."

Chance came under fire for admitting that he didn't listen to the women's testimony or value their stories "because they are black women".

A BBC Three documentary about the singer is also available to stream now. R Kelly has strenuously denied 30 years of abuse allegations made against him, including those made in the latest miniseries.

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Call the Midwife actress Jenny Agutter has sparked MAJOR controversy for her interview with the Radio Times, where she made some highly polarising comments about the #MeToo movement.

She said she can't "fully understand" why actresses who are allegedly victims of the #MeToo movement would meet with male industry figures alone.

The British actress said;

“In the States, there were occasions when you might be asked to go to a private screening or someone’s place and you just didn’t do it – unless you found the person very attractive, in which case you did do it.”

The BBC actress continued; “But if they’re not really attractive, there’s nothing to be gained from it, because it’s obvious what you’re indicating by going.”

“It’s terrible that anyone would use their power in that way. That’s wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong – no question about it," she added, which was a bit of a paradox if you ask us.

The fact that you can't meet with a male figure alone is problematic enough, whether you want to sleep with them or not.

The power planes are also massively different if you have the ability to become the woman's boss, such as a production or directorial role.

“What is sad is to be in a situation where you have to negotiate it: you shouldn’t have to do that. I was very lucky never to have to.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Agutter moved to Hollywood decades ago to pursue her career, and explained that her relationship with a producer at the time allowed her to be "a little bit protected,"

“No one was going to hit on me, with him there! It was a bit like having the Mafia around you,” she said, adding that if she had ended up in such a complex position, she would be “back out of the door rather fast”. 

She finished: “Because there isn’t any part that’s worth that – and I think there’s an arrogance in me a little bit as well, which is, ‘If you’re not casting me because I’m right for the part, then why are we in this situation?’”

Her comments seemed to divide the public, with some parties agreeing with her and others claiming that you shouldn't need protection from a man to navigate a job industry. 

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A Moroccan television station has been forced to apologise for broadcasting a makeup tutorial which encourages women to conceal injuries acquired through domestic violence.

Daytime TV show Sabihayat and its network 2M faced major backlash online after last week’s airing of the controversial segment which offered “beauty tips” to those who wish to “camouflage traces of violence”.

2M has since released a statement through its Facebook account admitting that the feature was “completely inappropriate” considering “the gravity of the subject of violence against women”.

Thousands of people signed a petition on Change.org calling for “severe sanctions” to be brought against the show for attempting to normalise domestic abuse.

“Do not cover domestic violence with makeup, condemn the aggressor,” wrote the page’s founder.

While the model used for the programme’s demonstration wore fake bruises, Twitter users were offended by the suggestion that victims of violence should hide the work of their abusers.

“Instead of giving women makeup tips to hide evidence of #domesticabuse, please teach men how not to abuse women,” wrote one woman.

“Host spends more time talking about the best brand of makeup to cover domestic violence bruises than the actual issue of domestic violence,” said another.

 

 

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Former X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson was in tears today as she admitted in a live broadcast that she was sexually abused as a child.

Appearing on ITV's Loose Women, she told the panel that she was just eight years old and living in a children's home when the abuse took place.

The 30-year-old mother-of-three revealed: "I've never said this – this is really weird," before adding: "I've never spoken about it. I told one friend, but – as I've launched a website – this is the perfect place to speak about it.

"That is what I'm trying to do, make a safe place where women can speak about their problems."

Rebecca continued: "It affects your esteem – how you allow yourself to be treated by men, how you feel about yourself and what you expect to be treated like."

The singer, who finished in the runner-up spot during the 2010 series of X Factor then revealed that it's taken her "years" to build up her self-esteem and she "didn't receive any counselling".

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If news of the divorce and alleged affair wasn't enough to contend with this week, reports are now emerging that Brad Pitt is under investigation after becoming verbally and physically abusive with his children.

According to TMZ, Brad's conduct during a flight last Wednesday was the catalyst for Angelina's decision to file for a divorce.

Speaking to the website, a source close to the high-profile family revealed that Brad became intoxicated while on a private jet and began screaming and manhandling his children.

Reports claim that the 53-year-old actor did not calm down upon landing and continued his tirade on the tarmac before attempting to leave in one of the airport's fuel trucks.

It is understood that an individual who witnessed Brad's behaviour contacted the L.A County Department of Children and Family Services who have since interviewed Brad and Angelina in connection with the incident.

Commenting on the reports, a source close to the actor insists Brad understands the severity of the situation.

"He takes the matter very seriously and says he did not commit any abuse of his children," they explained 

Defending the star against media backlash this week, the insider added: "It's unfortunate that people involved are continuing to present him in the worst possible light."

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It’s well known that wedding guests are generally not supposed to wear white to the occasion, but are there other major no-nos when it comes to how guests dress?  And do other guests have the right to enforce those restrictions?

These are questions being asked by a New Zealand woman this week after she was abused by other guests at a wedding she attended for wearing a short peach-coloured bandage dress.

In a post which was shared on radio station The Breeze Waikato’s Facebook page, a friend of the woman explained: “A friend wore this dress to a wedding in the weekend and got targeted big time.”

“She got treated rudely by other women at the wedding who saw her as a target for wearing this dress.”

“A woman came up behind her and slapped her on the bum and said it was on a dare from a group of other women who were watching and snickering.”

“Someone else seemingly purposely spilt a beer on her.”

“She's amazed that grown women could be so immature and such bullies.”

“She wants to know – Did she bring ANY of this on herself by wearing this dress to a wedding?  Your thoughts?”

As anyone who’s familiar with the web’s infamous comment sections would expect, the post received a mixed response, with some people praising the woman’s confidence, while others suggesting she should have covered up.

One Facebook-user wrote: “The other women are just jealous. Personally I'd never wear a dress like that, simply because I don't have the figure for it and definitely don't have the confidence to wear it. But if she's got it, why not be proud of it. Least she's not wearing white and trying to upstage the bride!”

But another said: “Too slutty for a wedding… that sort of dress is ok on a date night or for the bedroom but NOT for a wedding. Its bad form to outshine the bride."

While it's never okay to abuse someone for what they wear, are there limits to what wedding guests should wear?

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