Welcome to the V Word, where we talk about sexual and domestic violence, stalking, harassment and trafficking. We talk about what is going on in the community, what resources are available and what changes are happening to end violence.

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While American’s were enjoying a holiday weekend, Feminist activists in London were busy protesting budget cuts to domestic violence services. They dyed Trafalgar Square’s fountains red after hundreds of women marched through London’s West End in a noisy protest, chanting: “They cut, we bleed.”

Feminist activists styled their protest much like a funeral procession for the victims of domestic violence.The guardian reported that 500 women attended the protest, which started in Soho Square with a memorial service for women killed this year by domestic violence. The names and ages of victims were read out as protesters stood in silence with their fists raised. Following the memorial, they marched from Soho to Traflagar Square, blocking roads and stopping traffick.

Sarah Kwe, an activist and organizer from Sisters Uncut stated, “These cuts are going to affect women who are trying to flee domestic violence, through their benefits, their housing and their refuges. They are all being cut. We are taking direct action to say we are not going away. When two women a week are being killed by domestic violence, we can’t take it, we can’t accept it.”

Sisters Uncut, organized the protest in reaction to budget cuts announced on the Elimination of Violence Against Women Day, November 25th. Bad timing there, London.

Here in the states, we face the same issue every year. Advocates and activists in each state work hard to convince legislators of the need to keep funding going. You can add your voice to your state coalition to help them advocate for the necessary funds to keep rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters adequately staffed and functioning.

According to the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Surivivors of domestic violence who were staying in Virginia shelters responded to the question, “what would you have done inf the shelter had not existed? – 21% said they would have had to return to their abusers.”

Domestic and sexual violence impact our families, homes, communities, schools and workplaces on a daily basis. Domestic violence and sexual assault impact all socio-economic levels, cultures and religions.

The Governor’s office of Virginia, reported in 2012, at least 117 men, women, and children lost their lives to
domestic violence. Also in 2012, there were more than 67,000 calls to domestic and sexual violence hotlines
across the state.