Kickstarting action to end violence against women
TODAY – November 25 – kickstarts Turning Lives Around’s 16 Days of Action to end violence against women to mark White Ribbon Day ’21.
Colleagues across TLA offices and residential accommodation will be donning white ribbons to show their support for the day, which also coincides with International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Earlier this year, the UK was shocked by the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard by an off-duty police officer as she walked home on a March evening from visiting a friend. It brought to the fore the level of risk and the perceived threat still facing women and girls as they go about their daily lives in 21st century Britain.
It also prompted calls for more to be done to safeguard women from male violence, not least the need to educate males from an early age to change attitudes and stop men from perpetrating violence.
The theme of White Ribbon Day ’21 is #AllMenCan, with the message that all men can take a stand against violence towards women and make the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.
TLA’s support for White Ribbon Day is being led by their Domestic Violence Abuse Group. Almost all members of the group are already White Ribbon Ambassadors, and they are keen to encourage both male and female colleagues to follow suit.
“Over the next 16 days, we will be focussing on getting more men to stand up and be at the forefront of the fight to stop gender-based violence,” said DVA group leader Mia Cameron.
“Men in our DVA group will be sharing why they are speaking out and becoming role models, and we will be sending round to TLA locations information on what they can do to get other men on board.”
The focus won’t only be on raising awareness amongst colleagues. It is also hoped that male clients will be encouraged to get on board with white ribbons being made available to them as well.
“We appreciate that domestic violence isn’t only directed at women, but with two women a week being murdered in domestic abuse situations and more than a million women a year experiencing violence in the home, there are far more female victims than males, and this is largely due to the way society treats women,” Mia explained.
“We need to be challenging society’s attitudes and behaviour towards women. Making men, in particular, aware that misogyny, making jokes against women, making them feel inferior, discriminated against or threatened, is not ok.”
Traditionally the emphasis has been put on the actions of women. What they supposedly do to ‘invite’ threatening attention and how they should be changing their behaviour to limit the risk to their safety. What’s really needed, said Mia, is to be talking to men about what is expected of them.
“We want to be having daily conversations with our clients about what constitutes healthy male / female relationships. Often these work best male-to-male in a non-threatening way where they highlight and celebrate those aspects of masculine behaviour which is non-violent and supportive of women.
“It’s only by leading by example and creating peer awareness that you don’t have to be derogatory towards women to be ‘one of the lads’ that we’re going to bring about the change in attitude and behaviour that’s needed to end men’s violence against women,” said Mia.