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The advent calendar that could help save a woman’s life

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#RefugeAdvent is this month’s crucial campaign to raise awareness and support for survivors of domestic violence

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By Zoë Beaty on

What did you find tucked behind the little door of your advent calendar this morning? A chocolate treat, perhaps. Maybe a glib joke. Or, if you splashed out this year, some make-up or a candle. What if, instead of a treat, your advent calendar could help you save a woman’s life?

The Refuge advent campaign is aiming to do just that. Each day from December 1 to 25, the alternative advent doors – find the calendar here, online – will open up 25 conversations about violence against women and girls, via 25 facts, stories and ways to help. If you’re thinking that it’s not exactly full of traditional Christmas cheer, that’s exactly the point.

Refuge saves lives, but it can’t continue to stay afloat – or provide crucial support and protection for women in the UK – without public donations

As the run-up to Christmas takes hold of everyday life, it can be easy to forget that abuse doesn’t take a break for the holidays. While we might wake up surrounded by family on Christmas morning, thousands of women will wake up fearing violence from abusive partners, as they do every other day of the year. Others will wake up in a refuge – but, should government proposals to change funding and housing benefit go ahead, many of these safe places are under threat of closure. So, the choice for abused women becomes narrower still: stay and continue to face violence, or leave, with nowhere to go.

Women’s lives are, unquestionably, under threat. Research from Women’s Aid found that the government’s cuts could cause half of all refuges to close, or at the very least vastly diminish their services. On average two women per week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales, and already, according to Counting Dead Women, 106 UK women were killed by men from January to September this year. Without awareness and support, that number is certain to rise.

Which is why this is perhaps the most important advent calendar you will open this year. Refuge saves lives, but it can’t continue to stay afloat – or provide crucial support and protection for women in the UK – without public donations. So, set a reminder in your phone to visit #RefugeAdvent, click on a door each day and see what you could do to help. It’s the season of giving, after all.

@zoe_beaty

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Photo: Stocksy
Tagged in:
domestic violence
violence against women and girls
gender equality
Christmas

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