2020 End Violence Against Women campaign
25 November 2020 saw the start of 16 days of activism to mark the Ending of Violence Against Women Day which is an annual event always on 25th November.
In 1994, the United Nations defined violence against women, as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.
Let’s all try to be ware of this and to raise awareness where ever we can and to listen and provide what support we can.
During this week our chair, Amanda Carter Phillpot attended a performance of Never Going to Beat You – Domestic Abuse in the Traveller Community on 23rd November hosted by Soroptimists International ST Albans. An absolutely gripping, disturbing performance by professional actors and the traveller community. Our chair is trying to negotiate to get it shown in Milton Keynes at some point during 2021. Watch this space.
Soroptimist International of Chelmsford & District are providing Anglia Ruskin University with e-posters about Ending Violence Against Women. The University have kindly agreed to circulate them via their various e-communications networks for staff and students.
White Ribbon Day – 25 November
25th November also marks “White Ribbon Day”. For those of you who are not aware of this movement, here is a brief potted history below.
The white ribbon has come to represent the movement to end gender-based violence. It is the designated symbol of the internationally observed 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which begins on November 25 and lasts until and including December 10, Human Rights Day. The date was chosen to draw an obvious connection between human rights and women’s rights.
This year is more important than ever, with a significant increase in violence, harassment and abuse towards women during the coronavirus pandemic. We urgently need to work together to prevent violence and make sure our communities and homes are safe for everyone.
The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is now a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls across 60 countries. and is the world’s largest organisation of its kind. Originally formed by a group of pro-feminist men in London, Ontario in November 1991 as a response to the École Polytechnique massacre of 14 female students by Marc Lépine in 1989.
It transpired that Lépine had been denied admission to the École Polytechnique and was upset women were assuming careers and areas of study traditionally dominated by men. His suicide note read: “Would you note that if I commit suicide today it is not for economic reasons… but for political reasons. Because I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker… I have decided to put an end to those viragos.” So the epitome of a misogynist!
One of the good things to come out of this tragedy was the White Ribbon campaign.
The campaign was conceived as an education and awareness-raising effort devoted to engaging men and boys to think about their attitudes and behaviour and challenge all forms of men’s violence against women. The campaign asked men to wear white ribbons as a pledge to “never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.” Hereafter known as the White Ribbon Promise.
In the words of founder Michael Kaufman: “Men have been defined as part of the problem. But the White Ribbon Campaign believes that men can also be part of the solution. Confronting men’s violence requires nothing less than a commitment to full equality for women and a redefinition of what it means to be men, to discover a meaning to manhood that does not require blood to be spilled.”
White Ribbon UK
White Ribbon UK act as a catalyst, encouraging people, and especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change behaviour. I must also mention, to my delight as a woman with disabilities, that White Ribbon UK has also earned the Disability Confident badge which is available to all organisations.
They are active on social media and Westminster working with MPs to bring about political change to support women who are experiencing violence and to promote a more equal society and my goodness do they have a lot of work still to do!
What you can do:
- Make the promise! https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/promise anyone over 14 can make it!
- 8th December – Engaging men in preventing violence against women with Dr Michael Flood. He will share his research and practical knowledge to address what men can do to prevent and reduce violence against women.