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WI urge men to ‘step up and speak out’ against violence towards women

A SENEDD Member is working with the WI to change attitudes to male violence against women.

Joyce Watson MS and The National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI)-Wales are calling on men and boys to make a stand against male violence towards women and girls, ahead of the launch of their 2021 Not in my Name campaign.

The annual Not in my Name campaign recruits male ambassadors to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence against women. It asks them to make the White Ribbon promise to ‘never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women’. 

This year’s Not in my Name campaign will be launched on Monday 18 October with an online event about the impact of gender-based violence on children and young people. 

Other events include a Senedd vigil on Monday 22 November and Joyce Watson leading a candlelight vigil in Haverfordwest at 3pm on Saturday 27 November.

Anti-violence campaigner Joyce Watson MS said: 

“Now more than ever I urge men to step up and speak out.  

“Sarah Everard’s killer displayed abhorrent behaviour long before her murder. Though many tried to act on this, he was still able to continue down his path.  

“And that act was not isolated. At least 112 UK women have been killed by men so far this year.1  

“Male ambassadors are playing a huge role in changing attitudes and I urge more to come forward to help tackle violence against women and girls.” 

Joyce Watson MS established White Ribbon campaigning in Wales 17 years ago, recruiting former Welsh International Derwyn Jones as the first Welsh ambassador in 2008. In 2012 she joined forces with the WI to set up Not in my Name, which has gained the support of male choirs and sports clubs across Wales, the Welsh Rugby Union, Glamorgan Cricket, Olympian Christian Malcolm and many others. 

Eirian Roberts, Chair of NFWI-Wales said: “Violence against women is endemic across the world. Tragic events, such as the recent murders of Sabina Messa and Sarah Everard, have highlighted that much more needs to be done to end violence against women so that women are able to live their lives free from the fear of violence, harassment, and abuse. 

“Men must be part of the solution. Engaging men and boys is crucial in challenging the inequalities and attitudes that contribute to violence against women. Men can be agents of change and play a part as positive role models to help us achieve a culture change where violence against women is not tolerated by society.” 

The 2021 campaign is delighted to have secured the support of the Cardiff Devils, who have pledged their support over previous years, including attending the campaign’s launch event in 2012 and raising awareness at their home games.    

Todd Kelman, Managing Director, Cardiff Devils said: “The prevalence of violence against women is alarming and unacceptable. The Cardiff Devils are pleased once again to pledge their support for the Not in my Name campaign and to call for an end to violence against women.”

To mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which runs from 25 November to 10 December, a cross-party stakeholder event will take place online on 22 November. This will be followed by a 6pm candlelight vigil at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, to show solidarity with victims of violence against women across the world.