Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Not in my Name Campaign

A blog post by Ann Jones, NFWI Trustee and Chair of Federations of Wales Committee

25th November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  It is also recognised as White Ribbon Day; a day when men and boys across the world pledge their support to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
Since 2008, the WI has been campaigning to end violence against women with a focus on awareness raising and combating stereotypes about violence against women. It is shocking to note that up to three million women across the UK experience rape, domestic abuse, forced marriage, stalking, sexual exploitation and trafficking, female genital mutilation or so-called ‘honour’-based violence each year. As highlighted by the independent research commissioned by the NFWI in 2009, violence against women is a hidden issue happening in towns and cities across the country.  A survey of members undertaken back in 2008 found that nearly half of members surveyed had experienced violence themselves or knew of someone who had experienced some form of violence.

A culture change is needed so that violence against women is unacceptable and is not tolerated by society. Engaging with boys and men is crucial in challenging the inequalities and attitudes that cause violence against women.  Education and prevention must start at an early age and schools have a significant role to play. By addressing these issues from an early age it is hoped that children and young people will grow up in a culture of respect and equality.

The Welsh Government’s draft Gender-Based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill is currently being scrutinised by the National Assembly for Wales.  In our response to Stage 1 of the consultation process, we highlighted our disappointment that education was omitted from the face of the Bill and emphasised the importance of education and prevention in schools. We called for high quality and consistent educational and preventative initiatives on violence against women and girls and healthy relationships to be delivered across all schools as a compulsory element of the National Curriculum.

In 2012 we joined up with Joyce Watson AM, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales to establish the Not in my Name Campaign which involves the recruitment of male ambassadors to make a stand against male violence against women. Over the years, the campaign has secured the support of a number of high profile clubs and groups including the Cardiff Devils Ice Hockey Team, the Welsh Rugby Union, Only Men Aloud, NFU Cymru, Farmers’ Union of Wales, the Wales YFC, Wrexham FC and Newport FC. This year, we are delighted to have the Cardiff Blues rugby club supporting the campaign. Sportsmen are role models for the future generations and their support has an important part to play in challenging those attitudes that persist.

WIs have engaged many local groups such as male voice choirs, rotary clubs, local football and rugby clubs and businesses to pledge their support. By using their strong links in the community, they have been able to raise awareness about violence against women and gather the support of men in publicly condemning such behaviour.

To help spread the message that violence against women is unacceptable, we have set up a Thunderclap message to enable ambassadors to pledge their support to ending violence against women. At midday on 25th November, a Thunderclap message stating that violence against women will not be tolerated will be posted on supporters’ Facebook and Twitter accounts if we get 100 supporters signed up.  

Please do support the Thunderclap at and encourage others to do so also.

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