In memory of Cassandra Hasanovic

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Posted by Picture Me Director Tess Garrett on February 28, 2014

In a week's time we celebrate International Women's Day...we have come a long way ...and there is much to celebrate in Fahma Mohamed success in persuading Michael Gove to write to schools in England to ask them to help protect girls from female genital mutilation (FGM).  This will bring strength to the campaign to end violence against women...

However there is much to mourn in the wake of Cassandra Hasanovic killed by her former husband on her way to a women's refuge.  The Guardian headline yesterday revealed that more then 10,000 vulnerable women and children are living at high risk of being murdered or seriously injured in domestic violence (DV) by current or former partners according to police assessments. 

Women's charities like One in Four, Solace, Eaves and many others are treating the after effects of DV every day in women's centres, refuges, hospitals, surgeries, clinics.  In Picture Me workshops we too have been part of that process.  Many organisations are giving women and their children space to live away from violence, make sense of what happened, become empowered and enabled to heal, move on, create a new sense of how they want to live...

As a society we are treating the after effects and not the cause. 
How do we educate our children to understand that violence is unacceptable?

It's not on the school curriculum...maybe Fahma Mohamed is on to something here...

On one level it is simple - violence is not acceptable...however it is more complex than that, as people are often stuck in cycles of violence themselves, where they give out what was given to them.  For some it seems acceptable or inevitable that violence accompanies relationships...however if asked I believe most people nowadays would say that it isnt and never has been acceptable.

We need to educate our children in our schools and our communities to understand that all violence is unacceptable.  We have to treat and heal our whole society, change our belief systems.  We need to challenge GM and educate about DV.  We need to talk about violence against women, we need to tell our stories...be listened to  and believed when we report violence.

It needs to be taken seriously and it is a problem for our whole society to take responsibility for.
We need to educate that violence is wrong and unacceptable...and then maybe our women and children can start to feel much safer...

So on International Women's Day this year lets remember Cassandra Hasanovic and celebrate Fahma Mohamed ...and women like them.