23 February 2019 12:30 ~ A Different Approach – Campaign To End Leeds Sex Trade – Leeds

Until 16:30 GMT @ Civic Hall, Calverley Street, Leeds LS1 1UR

Campaign To End Leeds Sex Trade, SPACE International and Build A Girl proudly presents ‘A Different Approach’, an exploration of leading exiting strategies, activism and abolition.

The event will bring together women from across the globe to discuss their experiences in prostitution and of frontline service provision to women in prostitution, and their collective opposition to the global sex trade.

Speakers include: Ally Diamond; Vednita Carter; Bridget Perrier; Rachel Moran and Fiona Broadfoot, Chaired by Cllr Sarah Field.

More details to be announced soon.

Tickets £5 – register online @ https://www.facebook.com/events/268949060450486/

January 14, 2019

Free Periods: ‘period poverty’ activist and campaigner launches new legal campaign for free menstrual products in schools

Amika George, Founder of Free Periods and ‘period poverty’ activist, has announced a new legal campaign to provide free menstrual products to all schoolchildren.

The campaign launches with a Crowdfunding drive to raise funds for exploratory legal work and in support of the broader legal campaign, with the requirement that £10k must be raised in 30 days for any of the pledges to be collected.

The Free Periods campaign, in partnership with the Red Box Project and supported by The Pink Protest, seeks to ensure that menstrual products should be freely available in schools to all children who need them. Access to education is a fundamental human right, and Free Periods believes that no child should be forced to miss school as a result of not being able to afford pads or tampons.

This new legal campaign follows the one year anniversary of the Free Periods protest to end period poverty, where over 2,000 people gathered outside Downing Street to call out the UK government’s failure to take action against period poverty.

In the UK, 49% of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period, whilst 1 in 10 young women (aged 14-21) have been unable to afford period products. In London alone, 80,000 young women 1 and girls are affected by period poverty.

2018 saw significant progress for the cause in Britain, with the Scottish government becoming the first national government ever to provide free access to menstrual products in all schools, colleges and universities, whilst in Wales, the government pledged £1m to address period poverty. In England, we still have no policies in place.

To support the campaign visit the Free Periods crowdfunding page: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/freeperiods/

Full article and more information about the campaign at http://redboxproject.org/2019/01/08/free-periods-amika-george-teenage-period-poverty-activist-and-campaigner-launches-new-legal-campaign-for-free-menstrual-products-in-schools/

January 14, 2019

Women’s reproductive lives are being interfered with on a large scale – new study

Reproductive coercive control is where a woman’s decisions about contraception and pregnancy are interfered with. The concept was first described in 2010. We wanted to update the evidence to 2017 and widen the range of control activities to include family pressure and criminal behaviour, such as sex trafficking. We found that up to one in four women at sexual health clinics report coercion over their reproductive lives.

How men control women’s reproductive lives

Women being coerced are often put under pressure to get pregnant. Men sometimes use emotional blackmail, saying things like: “You would have my baby if you loved me”. But the behaviour can be more extreme, such as threatening to starve their partner, threatening to take her children away from her or even harming her. It can also include rape.

Control may include trying to dissuade a partner from using contraception, showing a lack of effort to use condoms or stopping their partner ordering more of her contraceptive. More extreme contraceptive sabotage includes puncturing condoms, throwing away contraceptives, secretly removing a condom during sex (a practice known as “stealthing”), and ripping off contraceptive skin patches and pulling out vaginal rings or intrauterine devices.

How some women respond

Women’s responses to reproductive control include, at the extremes, giving in to the controlling man or ending the relationship. But the man may retaliate with increased control or violence in response to being rejected.

Some women manage the situation by getting a hidden form of contraception, such as injectable contraceptives (which are truly invisible), implants (which cannot be seen but can be felt just below the skin), intrauterine devices (threads can be cut short so they cannot be felt), or by being sterilised (this leaves small abdominal scars but they tend to fade over time).

A woman who tries to have an unwanted pregnancy terminated may be thwarted by the man. On the other hand, usually as part of violent abuse, women may be forced into terminating a pregnancy. Occasionally, men have spiked a woman’s food or drink with abortion-inducing drugs. In the few known cases where this has been reported, the man has received a prison sentence.

Part of a longer report by Sam Rowlands, Bournemouth University at https://theconversation.com/womens-reproductive-lives-are-being-interfered-with-on-a-large-scale-new-study-109375

January 14, 2019

Over 85% of households hit by the benefit cap are single mothers – DWP figures

The vast majority of households affected by the UK Government’s controversial benefit cap are single parents, according to statistics revealed by the Labour Party.

Analysis of official data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that more than 85% of capped households are single mothers, leading to accusations the UK Government are failing to properly assess the impact of its policies on low-income families.

The benefit cap limits the amount households can receive in social security benefits to £23,000 a year in London or £20,000 in other parts of the country, and is supposedly designed to incentivise work.

But opponents say the cap is pushing low-income households into poverty, with single parents among the hardest hit because their situation means they have greater barriers to employment than other unemployed people.

The statistics show 134,044 households had their benefits capped up to August 2018, with 120,297 of these being single claimant mothers with dependent children. 13,743 single claimant men also had their benefit payments capped.

Part of a longer news report at https://welfareweekly.com/over-85-of-households-hit-by-the-benefit-cap-are-single-mothers-dwp-figures-reveal/

January 14, 2019

Depression linked to social media twice as high among girls – new research

Girls are twice as likely to show signs of depressive symptoms linked to social media use compared to boys at age 14, according to new UCL research.

The paper, published in EClinicalMedicine, is the first of its kind to look at associations between social media and depressive symptoms and analysed data from nearly 11,000 young people from the Millennium Cohort Study.

The participants completed information on their social media use, online harassment, sleep patterns, self-esteem and body image – all of which are potential pathways to having depressive symptoms; additionally, they completed a Moods and Feelings Questionnaire – a widely validated internationally used screening (not diagnostic) tool for depressive symptoms. The questionnaire has 13 questions and asks young people about whether, in the previous two weeks, they have felt miserable, cried a lot thought they could not be as good as others, found it hard to think properly or concentrate (for example).

The researchers found that 14-year-old girls were heavier users of social media with two fifths of them using it for more than three hours per day compared with one fifth of boys. Only 4% of girls reported not using social media compared to 10% of boys.

The findings also showed that 12% of light social media users and 38% of heavy social media users (five or more hours a day) showed signs of having more severe (clinically relevant) depression.

When the researchers examined the underlying processes that might be linked with social media use and depression they found 40% of girls and 25% of boys had experience of online harassment or cyberbullying and 40% of girls compared to 28% of boys said their sleep was often disrupted. When it came to body image, self-esteem and appearance – while more girls were affected, the gap with boys was not as great.

Researchers found the most important routes from social media use to depressive symptoms were shown to be via poor sleep and online harassment. Social media use was proportionately related to less sleep, taking more time to fall asleep and more disruptions during sleep. In turn, depressive symptom scores were higher for girls and boys experiencing poor sleep.

Time spent on social media was related to involvement with online harassment which had direct and indirect associations (via sleep, poor body image and self-esteem) with depressive symptom scores. The pathways from social media to depressive symptoms were the same for girls and boys

The study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Read the full press release at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2019/jan/depression-linked-social-media-twice-high-among-girls-0

January 14, 2019