I can already hear some people say it: here she goes again. And yes, this isn’t the first time I will be writing some of the below.

Those that maybe read it back when I started writing this column in January 2023, will maybe remember that the very first I wrote was about Andrew Tate who, at the time, had just been detained in Romania.

Back then I talked about the guy (obviously), his influence, his hateful, misogynistic comments, the issue that was developing across UK schools, how all of it is linked to gender inequality in society. Then came International Women's Day, and I used the space to share my thoughts again. Whenever I see comments, not just on my work but other, similar pieces, I often pick up on what seems to be a sense of fatigue. People going: "Things are not that bad" or "that’s just the way it is" or "women just have to accept some responsibility for themselves".

Even when it came to thinking about whether I should write the column you are reading now, I had a whiff of it myself (although I could never quite agree with all the above feedback). But I did think: Have I not said all of it before? And the answer is: yes. Yes, I have.

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But this Saturday, November 25 – which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – is the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which will run until December 10, Human Rights Day. Organised by the UN since 1991, it sees individuals and organisations around the world call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

Violence against women and girls (VAWS) is the wider term used to cover a variety of abuses against women and girls, such as physical abuse – domestic homicide, domestic abuse, sexual assault, honour-based abuse, stalking – but also non-physical manifestations such as coercive control and behaviour.

Numbers alone unfortunately continue to show the prevailing need for such campaigns. Even just taking one of the manifestations of VAWS, they are harrowing. According to figures published on the website of Zero Tolerance – a Scottish charity working to end men’s violence against women by tackling gender inequality – there were 65,251 domestic abuse incidents recorded by Police Scotland in 2021/22. They say that “around four out of every five of these incidents (80%) had a female victim and a male accused”.

Aside from this, the 16 days of Activism once again are happening with way too much backdrop in the form of current events that exacerbate the campaign’s need. For one, due to the chosen date, the campaign always happens in November, a winter month.

Last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data on the perceptions of personal safety and experiences of harassment based on certain characteristics during winter. When it came to female perceptions, the survey found that women felt less safe than men in all settings after dark; 37% of women questioned had stopped walking in quiet places such as “parks or open spaces” after dark in the last month because of feeling unsafe (versus 24% of men) and women aged 16 to 34 years felt the most unsafe of any age and sex group using public transport alone after dark.

Then there are the current events, one being the sentencing of the murderer of Ashling Murphy, the 23-year-old Irish school teacher murdered by now convicted Josef Puska in January last year. Only a few days before, another case of femicide made headlines again, as the murderer of 35 year-old aspiring lawyer Zara Aleena had five years knocked off of his sentence. Both were two of the over 100 women killed by men in the UK that year.

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The timing of both cases, so close to the campaign to end VAWG, feels sinister but it is important to remember that these are real-world events and – as I would assume anyone that has read the absolutely heartbreaking victim impact statements from Ashling’s family and boyfriend from last week – that they are absolutely heartbreaking. Just as important to remember is that VAWG happens all year round and in so many ways.

Only a few months ago, in another piece I wrote, I wrote about how I found it hard to stomach the murder of 12-year-old schoolgirl Elianne Andams, who had been fatally stabbed on her way to school, with the alleged attacker being a 17-year-old boy and some reports saying that it was the boy’s retaliation against being rejected by one of the schoolgirl’s friends.

Yet, despite this harrowing example – despite the evidently growing incel culture online, despite the warning of teachers and parents of the rising issue of misogyny in schools, despite they themselves labelling violence against women and girls a “national threat” – the UK Government has refused to take on recommendations from a report by the Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee that included engaging boys in sex education and relationship lessons while at school and making it compulsory from a certain age.

It isn’t that they have done nothing. The Online Safety Bill now includes measures to tackle sexual violence online. Still, it feels a very wish wash response to a pressing issue – one that hits hard, given that this year’s theme of 16 Days of Activism is “Unite! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls.”

Again, this happened last week. Extend the timeline of my current events research, and there is so much more. Go back a few weeks and we have the Russell Brand allegations; go back a few months we have Met policeman David Carrick who admitted 85 attacks against women.

So yes, I want to talk about it again. I want to talk about all of the above and how VAWG needs to stop. I want to talk about the fact that we need education from a young age. That we need commitment from those in power to tackle VAWG. I want to talk about how VAWG is seen – that so many treat it as inevitable when it is anything but. I want to talk about how we talk about – how so often victim blaming narratives prevail in our justice system, media reporting, and everyday conversations.

I want to talk about the fact that aside from violence, so many people face everyday sexism and gender inequality – which is at the root of so much of this – every day. I want to talk about how women are more likely than men to leave work to take on caring roles. How they are demonised when not fulfilling this societal expectation. How a shift towards more equality is by so many men viewed as discrimination against them.

The campaign will turn 32 this year. It has been around longer than I have been on this planet. The reason it continues is because VAWG and gender discrimination are real and continuing issues. Not recognising this – not talking about it – is a disservice to all that are out there whom this affects.

Thirty-two years and counting. How long will it take for the message to truly sink in?