Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Writing for Multimedia: Assignment Blog

A Day for Women?         
By Naomi Wilson
To imagine your country being on the brink of war, your town to be in demolished chaos and your community to be in total uproar is almost unthinkable.
But to see seven of your neighbours and friends brutally murdered by government officials is something else altogether.
Appallingly, this is what happened in the Ivory Coast this month. As the country rises in protest to President Gbagbo’s refusal to leave to power, violence has become widespread throughout the nation as rebels battle with the government’s military.
But when women decided to hold a peaceful protest in their community in Abidjan on 3 March- open fire, random shots and bloodshed were certainly not anticipated. The result; seven innocent women killed for their search of a voice.
The demonstrators were members of a women’s group who are in support of Ouattara, the politician recognised as the winner of the last election. They lined the streets of Abidjan to sing and chant to encourage Gbagbo to leave, believing that the power of a women’s march would be what the leader needed to take notice.
Instead, the demonstration descended to carnage as military jeeps rampaged onto the scene and began firing. As hundreds were injured and blood ran down the streets, seven women lay dying- one with her baby still tied to her back.
It easily shows the corruption of the Ivory Coast - but what makes this worse is that this violence was brought out on innocent women who were doing nothing but trying to speak up for their country.
Ironically, this comes within the very week of the 100th International Women’s Day - a day dedicated to listening to the voice of women and examining their rights across all nations.
The date saw many female demonstrations unfold across the world, as women spoke out against the discrimination they still face. In Egypt, hundreds of women held a protest against the sexual harassment that revolves in the country; though disgustingly, were rebuked, beaten and sexually abused by the 200 men who invaded the march.
Furthermore, with the sex trafficking of young girls in Thailand, the forced labour of women in the rural Congo and 1 in 4 women being victims of sexual abuse or remarks here in the UK, it is obvious that worldwide women’s rights are far from being achieved.
I do not think of myself as a die-hard feminist. I haven’t taken part in any bra-burning expeditions of female power. But it is things like this that cannot help but disgust me.
I just don’t understand how now, in the 21st Century, governments can condone women being treated in such inhumane and demeaning ways.  How can we even hope for global development when women are being bought, sold, beaten, raped and even killed for their beliefs?
So, as International Women’s Day enters its 101st year, what can we hope for in basic female rights? All I know is that as women continue to speak out in the Ivory Coast, protest in Egypt and search for equality worldwide, it seems like the search for global equality for women is far from over.
"Don't shoot us": The simple pleas of protesting women in the Ivory Coast.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Writing For Multimedia Assignment: News Story

Fears Continue to Rise Over Student Safety
By Naomi Wilson
Two weeks on from the alarming daylight attack on a student in Southampton fears for safety in the city are still heavily felt.
It was approximately 5pm on Tuesday 25th January when the woman was assaulted as she entered Palmerston Park after leaving Southampton Solent University.
The attacker - who is yet to be identified - grabbed the 25-year-old student from behind and covered her mouth before piercing her neck with a sharp implement. The victim managed to kick herself free and flee the park to make her way home. She was later taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries and the shock of the ordeal.
Though the attack was of an unusual nature, it proves to be just one of many regular assaults in the city centre.
Recent statistics released by the Hampshire Constabulary show the central Bargate area to be more dangerous than any other part of the city; with 225 incidents of violent crime having occurred in December 2010.
Such statistics prove a worrying trend, and as central Southampton hosts such a large student population it poses a question as to how safe young adults in the city are.
As a result, the Bargate region is now perceived as a dangerous and threatening place, where students cannot feel safe or protected.
Katy Kennedy, 21, a graduate from Southampton University said she never feels at ease when alone in the city.
“I don’t feel particularly safe. I seem to walk faster and avoid other people when I am on my own.”
Working for the University and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF), Kennedy understands that young adults are more likely to be the victim of assault.
“I think it is the time that students are out that makes them more vulnerable and susceptible to attack.”
She added: “Though, of course it’s not just students, I think it’s anyone between 16 and 25 years of age who are at risk.”
Kennedy also feels the council and other local authorities do not do enough to secure the Bargate area and advise young adults on staying safe.
“They seem to be good at creating a scare with police notices about crimes that have happened,” she said. “But you don’t actually see any advice.
“There should be more police community support officers out and about, because you don’t see them in the parks in the evening at all. The council could also provide some sort of a dial-a-ride service like they have for the elderly. It would make sure people got home safely.”
Despite this, Southampton Council member, Derek Stevens, claimed students to be safe from assault in the city centre.
He said: “I don’t think students are a target in terms of violence.”
Stevens, who works for the Safe City Partnership, had the opinion that students are, in effect, responsible for their own safety. He claimed: “They are a target in terms of theft. They have laptops, iPods and iPhones. They leave their premises wide open, with their doors unlocked and windows open.”
This comes as recently published reports show burglaries to have increased by 76.1 per cent in the month of January alone.
However, Stevens insisted that recent statistics do not provide a reason for fear among young Southampton residents.
“We have reduced violent crime by eight per cent and criminal damage by 18 per cent, and crime overall has fallen by 14 per cent.”
Nevertheless, these figures seem to offer little comfort. In a city where reports of crime against students remain at a high level it seems there will always be fear for safety in the area.