A series of East Ayrshire events aim to raise awareness of gender based violence during the international 16 Days of Action to Eradicate Gender Based Violence campaign, which launches today, Friday 25 November.
Supported locally by the East Ayrshire Violence Against Women Partnership with its many partner agencies, the 16 Days of Action campaign calls for an end to violence against women. The theme of this year’s 16 Days campaign is ‘What next?’, ensuring a focus on the work still to be done in East Ayrshire and across Scotland. The programme of events will mark the campaign, running through to Saturday 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
Highlights will include an annual conference, arts performances, training opportunities and organised walks such as the popular Reclaim the Night walk on 6 December. East Ayrshire will also light the Kilmarnock viaduct orange, joining a national ‘light up’ to place a spotlight on the issue of violence against women and girls.
Marion MacAulay, Head of Children's Health, Care and Justice Services and Chair of the East Ayrshire Violence Against Women Partnership, said: “The past few years have seen COVID-19 increasing the risk of violence against women and girls. This will now be further impacted on by the cost of living crisis, which will disproportionately affect women experiencing violence.
“This is why the 16 Days campaign continues to be so important. It brings people together to work towards eliminating gender based violence. I would like to thank all our partner agencies who have developed this year’s programme of events, providing lots of opportunities in East Ayrshire for both organisations and residents to take part in.”
The campaign launch also coincides with White Ribbon Day, an initiative that involves men to tackle violence against women. Councillor Jim McMahon is East Ayrshire’s White Ribbon Champion, and he said: “White Ribbon Day acknowledges that while most men do not commit violence towards women, the stark reality is that in the majority of domestic abuse incidents reported, men are the perpetrators. The initiative sends a clear message to men and boys that they have a crucial role in addressing gender based violence in all its forms, whether that be physical, controlling or coercive behaviours. We can’t leave it to someone else; we all have a responsibility to challenge damaging attitudes and behaviours towards women and girls.
“We will be encouraging delegates at this year’s Violence Against Women conference to support the White Ribbon Scotland pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women in all its forms.”