It’s a man’s world: White Ribbon Campaign to change male attitudes to domestic violence against women

Crystal Palace and Croydon Council are backing the White Ribbon Campaign’s goal to end to domestic violence against women by encouraging men to speak up.

Estimated figures show that in 2015-16 domestic abuse, rape and sexual assaults against women rose by almost 10% to 117,568, with stalking prosecutions rising by 7.1% to 12,986.

There were also more than 900,000 calls to police in England and Wales for help in 2015 -– that is roughly 100 per hour – and almost 70% of harassment and stalking cases brought to court involved new technology or the internet.

It shows men have found a new way to degrade women and there is a feeling in society that other men are often thought to turn a blind-eye when they see it happen.

But White Ribbon Campaign UK want to stop this by challenging men’s silence and ending the perception it is ok to say ‘it doesn’t affect me’ and move on.

Set up 10 years ago, WRC believe domestic violence is an act which concerns everyone, and stems from a long-held view that women only exist to satisfy men.

“This sense of entitlement is part of the problem, because it tends to legitimise male violence,” said David Bartlett, UK CEO of WRC.

“It is about challenging the sense of dominance that most men are socialised into from our early years.

“It is not about being anti-male – it is about supporting women and preventing the inevitable by developing a broad cultural shift.

“We are working with local authorities and other charities to encourage men to become ambassadors and speak out about violence against women.”

WRC in the UK have more than 100 ambassadors and are working with different organisations to develop male and female partnerships to achieve this equality.

“The role goes from getting them to raise awareness in the workplace, college or community to just being an outspoken role model for young boys to aspire to,” added Mr Bartlett.

“Our focus is getting men to make a stand because ultimately there is no other way than working in partnership with women.

“Women should not fight this in isolation – men should take responsibility and we want them to be more positive about this culture change.”

November 25 marked International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the start of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

It was also International White Ribbon Day in which the WRC specifically encourage men and boys to take a stand and wear a white ribbon for the week.

Croydon Council is supporting the WRC by taking a zero tolerance and working with schools, GPs and the Family Justice Centre.

A council spokesman said: “Domestic abuse has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime.

“Campaign activities aimed at challenging attitudes and promoting shared responsibility for addressing domestic abuse are helping to improve awareness across the borough.

“But it is still widely misunderstood.”

The council’s commitment to the campaign is also backed by the Crystal Palace FC Foundation who aim to change attitudes through ongoing sport and educational programmes.

While many have already started the process to overcome violent abuse from men towards women, there is still a long way to go and WRC hope that everyone – especially men – do their part to conquer this disease.

Feature image courtesy of Casey Muir Taylor, via Flickr, with thanks

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