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FEATURES

Tuesday 17th November

Til Death Do Us Part?

Journalism student discovers the shocking truth about domestic violence Hayley Storrs Reporter On average, two women are killed by their current or ex-partner per week and one in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. With statistics like this, why has this issue taken so long to be taken seriously? Pop star Rihanna hit the headlines in February this year, after boyfriend and fellow performer Chris Brown beat her in his car after an awards party, making her a candidate to be the poster girl for Domestic Violence. In addition to this, an advertisement broadcast on television featuring actress Keira Knightley also sparked much controversy, with debates as to whether the advertisement was ‘too graphic’. The hard-hitting advertisement featured Knightley being punched and kicked repeatedly by a jealous lover. “I wanted to take part in this advert for Women’s Aid because while domestic violence exists in every section of society, we rarely hear about it”, said Knightley. Also in 2007, a much publicised press and poster campaign for charity Women’s Aid featured celebrities Jemma Kidd and

Becky Knowles Reporter

Students are renowned for being lazy, but how much laziness leads to a home turning into a hovel? When moving to university, most people start to realise how much their parents do and how easy they have had it before. I include myself when I say that the majority of students have done odd bits of housework here and there for their parents before university, but then reality hits them when they live in their

Anna Friel, made up to look as if their faces were covered in bruises from domestic violence. But it isn’t just celebrities who are beginning to take notice. Leeds Women’s Aid is a charity which protects women and children in Leeds from the damage that domestic violence can inflict on their lives. They believe that women

and children have the right to live their lives free from fear and harm. The group runs refuge for victims of domestic violence in the city and never turns anyone away. The manager of Leeds Women’s Aid, Rosie Robinson, oversees the running of refuges and safe houses throughout Leeds, which provide shelter and security for the victims.

Their definition of domestic violence is ‘physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse by a partner, ex-partner or family member, including forced marriages and forced prostitution.’ A lot of people presume domestic violence has to be physical, but this is certainly not the case, as emotional abuse can sometimes be just as

damaging as physical. Emotional abuse victims can become convinced that they are worthless and that no one else would want them. They stay in abusive relationships because they are so afraid of being alone, which is common with domestic violence cases. This type of abuse creates scars that are far deeper and lasting than physical ones. According to the Leeds Women’s Aid website, (www.leedswomensaid. org.uk) the signs of domestic abuse include pressure tactics. These can include disconnecting the telephone, lying to friends and family about you, disrespect by putting you down in front of people, not listening or responding to you , making threats, breaking trust, physical violence, denial and isolation. Even though not all forms of domestic violence, such as emotional abuse, are considered illegal, any type of abuse can have a severe impact on the victim’s well being. Criminal offences include assault, threat to kill, wounding, attempting to choke, harassment, rape and exposure. Men’s violence against women is the number one cause of injury to women,

surpassing even car accidents, yet less than half of these incidents are reported to the police. With shocking statistics such as these, we need to ignore this taboo and begin to take notice and give our support. Leeds Women’s Aid regularly run fundraising events and in 2007, the charity celebrated 35 years of protecting women and children from the damage violence can have on their lives, by organizing a galaball. The anniversary had a special message, as on average a woman experiences 35 violent assaults before she seeks help. The charity always welcomes volunteers and donations. For more information, visit the website, call 01132 460401 or email administration@ leedswomensaid.co.uk. We need to open our eyes to domestic abuse we cannot afford to close them. Anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse or is concerned about a friend or relative can call 01132 468377 24 hours a day, or visit the website www. leedswomensaid.org.uk, which contains instructions on how to prevent anyone from knowing you have visited the site. However, if you are in any immediate danger call 999.

carpets, then go on, get hoovering! I shouldn’t need to say this bit so I’ll keep it short, but wash your clothes... it’s just hygienic. Stay on top of your cleaning - create weekly rotas, have cleaning days. Look after your house- make it fun, make it clean, make it safe and

as I recently said and has been said before, home is where the heart is! For more information about keeping your house clean, visit www. channel4.com/4homes/ on-tv/how-clean-is-yourhouse -it tells you everything!

A Way to De-Hovel

university accommodation and realise how much housework needs to be- or rather should be, done every day. Over the past two years, I have been lucky enough to have amazing flat mates, who are also blessed with a cleanliness conscience. It is important to choose the right people to live with- make sure they are fun, but also have confidence that they won’t let your house be flooded with rubbish (like the streets of Leeds, thanks to the ongoing bin strike). Oh and girls, boys are not always as messy as they like to make out. Sometimes, a gentle push in the right direction, such as a sign simply stating, “wash up straight away or die” above your kitchen sink, can prove very effective (as I found out last year). They might

also surprise you with a sparkling clean kitchen when you come home after your day at university (it might have been to stop us whinging, but thanks boys!) Everyone has heard of and is aware of Salmonella (or should be) but generally I think that people forget how common and easy it is to get food poisoning. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) estimates that there are around 850,000 cases of food poisoning each year, in the UK alone. These cases can range from mild symptoms to fatalities. So how can you avoid them? Make sure your surfaces, cloths and sponges are kept clean (kitchen sponges are the number one source of germs in the WHOLE house, as germs a most likely to survive in wet conditions)

keep raw meat away from any other food and wash anything that touches itremember, that includes your hands and whatever they have touched afterwards. Another thing, always make sure your food is cooked properly. Due to the fact that the majority of houses in Leeds are well over a 100 years old, they are likely to have poor ventilation and old heating systems. As a lot of students don’t use their heating very often, as a way of saving money, dust can become excessive and prove problematic; especially in the current autumn/winter seasons. So if you sneeze as much as I do ( I can’t stop sneezing since moving in to my house) and you don’t want to get dust mites ( I really hope you don’t) which flourish in bed fibres, furniture and


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