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# AllMenCan …make a difference and prevent violence against women and girls

We began the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence with a talk from Anthea Sully, CEO White Ribbon UK. She started by giving us the following statistics:  

1in 4 women will experience domestic abuse

1in 2 women have experienced harassment in the workplace

86% of women are harassed in public places

9 in 10 girls experienced sexist name calling or sent explicit videos in schools

Almost 1 in 2 women and non-binary people reported experiencing online abuse during lockdown

120-150 women killed by men a year

Anthea described violence as including: domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, rape and sexual offences, prostitution, human trafficking, child abuse, pornography, coercion and control, harassment, online abuse and threats. 

White Ribbon have been using the campaign message # AllMenCan …make a difference and prevent violence against women and girls. Their recommended approach is that men should be placed at the forefront of preventing violence, that workplace cultures are changed and that it is important to listen to women. Ultimately we need to ensure people know where to get help. Anthea suggested that there should be a focus on ‘calling out’ the smallest thing e.g.  catcalling and wolf whistling, which are often brushed aside but may later lead to greater abuse. Teaching sons, fathers and brothers to respect women and girls is to be encouraged as well as ‘learning not to be violent is not enough’ i.e. men need to be actively working against violence. White Ribbon have a Promise to ask of men in which they pledge to: “Never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.”

They work with a variety of groups of men such as: footballers, police officers, rugby players, students, bikers, gym instructors, faith leaders, school students and firefighters etc. Women are important part of this. Recent research by Dr Stephen Burrell (a White Ribbon trustee) was mentioned. His research covers men learning about not being violent and listening to women. More about this research can be found here: Women have a part to play in this and they become White Ribbon Champions, bringing men on board. The following report was recommended in terms of actions that men can take to end violence and abuse against women in their everyday lives: Give your time and money and votes See report: Men Speak up (Flood 2011)

There were a wide range of participants attending the meeting. These included Lisa Herrington from the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner in Surrey, Michelle Blunsom MBE, CEO East Surrey Domestic Abuse services, Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid workers, Man & Boy staff and volunteers. There were  a number of Soroptimists from Clubs within Southern Region and beyond.

Some very interesting questions were posed to Anthea. One of the topics raised was about how young people are being bombarded about sex and relationships through the technology they are using and a question was asked about how we can support them through this. Here is Anthea’s response:  

Man & Boy stated that it was important to keep talking to young people about these issues rather than prevent them from speaking about it. As adults,  it is very easy to close down these conversations and not give them the priority they deserve.

We hope to continue to work with White Ribbon and other organisations in tackling violence against women and girls. We will report on this in due course. To read about some of the work we have already been involved with, click on this link :Violence Against Women and Girls