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One Billion Rising flash mob in Ipswich highlights scale of domestic abuse in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 19:51 14 February 2017 | UPDATED: 19:51 14 February 2017

Suffolk Feminist Society has organised a 'rise' flash mob at the Giles Statue for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk Feminist Society has organised a 'rise' flash mob at the Giles Statue for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk Feminist Society took to the streets of Ipswich on Tuesday morning in a stand against the exploitation of women worldwide.

Suffolk Feminist Society has organised a 'rise' flash mob at the Giles Statue for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. Picture: GREGG BROWNSuffolk Feminist Society has organised a 'rise' flash mob at the Giles Statue for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The flash mob was held by Giles Statue as part of the international One Billion Rising – a campaign recognising the statistic that one in three women globally will be beaten or raped in their lifetime – the equivalent of one billion people.

Hundreds of demonstrations will be taking place across the world this week, with this year’s rising marking solidarity against the exploitation of women.

Helen Taylor, chairwoman and founder of Suffolk Feminist Society which organised the Ipswich gathering, said: “We had about 12 of our members come along and we had some other supporters who came along too.

Suffolk Feminist Society has organised a 'rise' flash mob at the Giles Statue for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. Picture: GREGG BROWNSuffolk Feminist Society has organised a 'rise' flash mob at the Giles Statue for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“We had quite a few people stop and asked us why we were doing it, which is fantastic.”

The society performed the ‘Break the Chain’ dance and spoke to people about how much of an issue domestic violence and exploitation is in Suffolk.

“I don’t think people realise how prevalent it is, and when you read some of the statistics they are really quite incredible,” Ms Taylor said.

Suffolk Feminist Society has organised a 'rise' flash mob at the Giles Statue for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. Picture: GREGG BROWNSuffolk Feminist Society has organised a 'rise' flash mob at the Giles Statue for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“One in three women in Suffolk will experience some form of domestic abuse aged 16-59 – we are higher than the national average of one in four.”

The issue is also one that increasingly affects men too – with gender stereotypes around masculinity often preventing male victims to seek support, the feminist society said.

The society has called for the government to stop considering policy proposals for relationship education as “a joke” and help organisations such as Suffolk Rape Crisis which helps victims with more funding.

Suffolk Feminist Society has organised a 'rise' flash mob at the Giles Statue for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. Picture: GREGG BROWNSuffolk Feminist Society has organised a 'rise' flash mob at the Giles Statue for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ms Taylor added: “I think it is primarily about education. Getting children when they are in their formative years in primary school and teaching them about healthy relationships and what that looks like, as well as sexism and gender stereotyping.

“We try to chip away at the little things like talking about gender stereotypes and the language that people use.

“Sometimes people say to us that we should be looking at the bigger issues but it’s the little things that underpin the big issues and creates these perceptions and prejudices that are causing harm.”

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