Sixteen days of action to end violence against women

Today is both the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and White Ribbon Day – which mark 16 days of action against gender-based violence.

Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS) has the theme “Reclaim” for the 16 days and is calling on people to join them “reclaiming the right of women and girls, from all walks of life, to live free from sexual violence, on our streets and in our homes.”

The organisation says over the past year there has been an eight per cent increase in recorded sexual offences, with the highest number of recorded rapes ever – according to research by the Office for National Statistics.

CEO Claire Bloor says urgent change is needed to “address the epidemic of violence against women and girls.”

White Ribbon Day is led by White Ribbon UK – a leading charity engaging with men and boys to end violence against women.

The campaign is calling for people in their “communities, organisations and workplaces, to come together, and say ‘no’ to violence against women.”

The message this year is #AllMenCan which was developed for the campaign in March – following the murder of Sarah Everard which brought women’s experience of men’s violence to the forefront.

The charity says it wants “as many men as possible to think carefully and make the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.”

Bristol City Councillors pledged to restore the city’s White Ribbon status at a full council meeting on 9 November – which lapsed in 2015, two years after the city became part of the accreditation scheme.

Tonight a Reclaim the Night march is planned to take place in Bristol starting on Queens Square – part of a national movement protesting against gender based violence and gender inequality.

Throughout the 16 days SARSAS is holding sessions on instagram https://www.instagram.com/sarsasupport/ and will be holding a Facebook Live on Tuesday 7 December at 6pm with CEOs from the Bristol Sexual Violence Alliance.

 For more information about SARSAS or to get support visit www.sarsas.org.uk, call 0808 801 0456/0808 801 0464 (Mon and Fri: 11am – 2pm and Tue, Wed and Thurs: 6pm – 8pm) or email support@sarsas.org.uk There is also live chat available Tues and Thurs: 12noon – 2pm and Wed: 6pm – 8pm.

To find out more about White Ribbon UK visit www.whiteribbon.org.uk