White Ribbon Day: Shropshire partnership urges people to stand up against violence to women
To mark national White Ribbon Day today (Wednesday 25 November 2020), Shropshire Safeguarding Community Partnership are urging people to stand up against violence to women.
The White Ribbon campaign (known globally as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women), is aimed at encouraging men to take a proactive stance towards eliminating violence, both physically and psychologically, against women and girls.
Women are more likely than men to experience violence within the home or sexual violence in the community. Across the world, 1 in 3 women will experience either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime (UN Women). In the UK, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse and 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime. (Home Office:2019).
In rural areas like Shropshire abuse lasts on average 25% longer. Traditional communities in which men hold rural positions of power can make women more vulnerable to coercion and control, which prevents them from speaking out and accessing support. There is evidence that this is slowly changing, but more work is needed. To learn more about the National Rural Crime Network’s Captive and Control report, please visit: https://www.ruralabuse.co.uk/
The key root causes of violence include beliefs and behaviours reflecting disrespect for women, low support for gender equality, and adherence to rigid or stereotypical gender roles, relations and identities. There is no single cause for violence against women.
Harmful gender norms, shame or honour, and stereotypes of masculinity and sexuality, can act as barriers for men to feel able to change or challenge abuse or violent behaviour, or seek support themselves if they are victims of sexual or domestic violence. It can also cause other groups to be ‘hidden’, facing additional barriers to accessing support.
Accepting the status quo is the biggest barrier to change. People who do not believe men and women are equal are more likely to tolerate or excuse violence against women.
Change can happen when men think about their own behaviour and positively influence that of their friends.
Ivan Powell, Independent Chair of Shropshire Safeguarding Community Partnership, said:
“Women are more likely than men to experience violence in the home as well as sexual violence in the community.
“The partnership are committed to raising awareness of and tackling the issue of violence against women and girls.
“It is important that we all challenge any words or behaviour which undermines women and girls to ensure they are treated as equally as men, in our work with individuals and families, but also in our communities. Please make use of the support available in Shropshire and tell someone if you are experiencing domestic or sexual violence. You will be listened to.”
Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for with responsibility for safeguarding, added:-
“Now more than ever we are asking people in their communities, organisations and workplaces to come together and say ‘no’ to violence against women. At home, at school, at work, in social settings and across our community, we can address men’s violence against women and children, and put a stop to it.
“It is up to all of us to stand up for the equal rights of girls and women in our homes and communities, so that everyone can live without violence or the fear of it.
“As this year’s campaign has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking people to support the campaign on social media to sign the pledge online. Please do all you can. There is much work to do but together we can make a real difference.”
People can help support the campaign by making the White Ribbon promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women. You can follow the campaign on social media #WhiteRibbonDay #MakeThePromise #NoExcuseForAbuse
Please visit https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/ for more information and to sign the pledge.
There are a number of places that you can go to get further support if you are experience domestic or sexual violence.
- Women’s Aid have a free 24-hour helpline (0800 783 1359) and online LiveChat service if you are not able to talk on the phone. For more information visit: http://www.westmerciawomensaid.org/services/helpline. The Shropshire Safeguarding Community Partnership have produced a poster with a list of contacts and links for people experiencing or worried about someone who might be experiencing domestic violence and abuse.
- The Glade have a free 24-hour helpline (0800 970 0377) if you, a friend or family member have been a victim of rape or sexual assault and would like advice or to self-refer. For more information on all sexual abuse services available for Shropshire Residents please visit: https://www.theglade.org.uk/useful-links/
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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November) is led by the United Nations Women and is a day to stand against gender-based violence. The day marks the launch of 16 days of activism that concludes on International Human Rights Day (10 December). In the UK this day is often known as White Ribbon Day.