Kickboxing Against Violence in Hong Kong

Why hold a walk-a-thon to raise money for women's rights when you can break a kickboxing world record? Global Fund grantee, The HER Fund in Hong Kong, is hosting such an event to raise funds for their 88 Day Campaign - which is named for the number of days that fall between International Human Rights Day on December 10th and International Women's Day on March 8th.

Global Fund adviser Lin Chew sent us this article on the event:

her_poster Domestic violence in Hong Kong hit the headlines again last month when national and international media reported on the increase of incidents by 79 percent last year, prompting calls for concerted government action to halt the trend. Police figures revealed 4,704 "domestic violence" cases in 2006 compared with 2,628 the year before. A majority of the cases involved heated "disputes" or a "breach of peace", but 1,811 were classified as crimes, including nine murders, nine rapes and 137 cases of injuries. The sharp rise in domestic violence cases comes after chief executive Donald Tsang pledged to make tackling the phenomenon a policy priority in his policy address speech last year.

The rise in domestic violence cases comes at a time when Hong Kong's economy is booming but the gap between the wealthy and the poor is widening rapidly. The city's obsession with wealth and pressure on the young to perform is seen as one of the major factors causing breakdowns in family communications that then trigger these violent incidents. Those who have been following the issue for years however also attribute the problem to prevailing society's low attitude towards women, the elderly and the children - who comprised most of the victims of domestic violence. Some studies have also pointed at the rising social tensions in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover from British to Chinese rule, with a growing number of marriages between Hong Kong men and women from mainland China failing. Growing awareness and sense of empowerment among local women to report abuses that might otherwise have gone un-noticed may have also been a factor in this increasing visibility of the problem.

Women's groups are campaigning for the establishment of a domestic violence court and updating of existing laws for better protection of the victims.

What you can do

Assistance available to victims of violence in the family remains limited. There are only four shelters in Hong Kong, providing around 170 places, which is a starkly inadequate number for a population of 6.8 million. Victims of domestic violence complain of inadequate legal and psychological support from government's social services units and often feel isolated and confused. The heavy workload and increasingly limited resources of government social workers affect their ability to respond effectively. Private resources, such as those from women's advocacy groups, have attempted to fill the gaps. However they are hampered by a lack of funding. Philanthropic institutions in Hong Kong do not typically fund specifically women's concerns, except in the case of basic needs, such as alleviation of poverty and child care.

HER Fund strives to strengthen women's resistance to violence

This is a young fund that was set up on March 8 2004, in order to support the work of women's organisations in Hong Kong, which strives to address the issues around violence against women. There are many forms of violence that are directed towards women, especially those in maginalised sectors of the society, for example, migrant women, domestic workers, sex workers and lesbians, and the factors which contribute to incidences of a specific form are various.

Next to the necessity to address the general root causes of violence in the society, HER Fund believes that the most effective way to reduce violence against women is to make women stronger and more able to resist violence. Therefore HER Fund also supports women's organisations that work to strengthen women to participate in the economic, political and social life of the society. In order to do this, women (and girls) need access to education, work and health.

FUNDRAISING: KickStart her Strength in Motion

In order to fulfil this mission, HER Fund strives to raise resources from individuals, foundations and corporate companies within and outside of Hong Kong.

Every year, during the 88 days between December 10 (International Human Rights Day) and March 8(International Women's Day), HER Fund carries out her main fundraising activities, under the motto: " $88 for March 8".

This year, the theme of HER Fund's 88 Days Fundraising Campaign is "Stop Violence Against Women." The highlight of this year's campaign is an event to set a Guinness Book Record for the largest number of people "kickboxing " at the same time. The event is co-organised together with a professional kickboxing studio called "KickStart" whish will provide instructors to lead the actual exercise, and teach participants the basic movements of kickboxing.

Visit the HER Fund website for more information.


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