Pictured: The Ness Bridge in Inverness City Centre lit up orange to mark the global 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
Highland Violence Against Women Partnership, along with other organisations across the Highlands and Islands, are urging communities to take a stand against gender-based violence during the 16 Days of Activism (25 November – 10 December).
The campaign group, which includes 13 organisations who work together under the umbrella of the Highland Violence Against Women Partnership (HVAWP), are calling on the public to take a pledge and share what they will do to help end violence against women and girls using the #WhatWillYouDo hashtag on social media.
Today (25 November 2021), the Ness Bridge will be lit-up in orange, the colour of the global 16 Days of Activism, to launch the campaign and shine a light on the often-hidden issue.
Other light-up events will be taking place throughout Scotland, including at St. Magnus Cathedral in Orkney.
This is the second year that these organisations have come together to jointly campaign for 16 Days.
Last year, the group aimed to show the impact of gender-based violence in our rural communities and asked people to share what they would like to see change.
This year, the group are calling for people to be part of creating the change.
“Violence against women and girls is absolutely everyone’s business.
“We believe that everyone has a role to play – whether it’s challenging harmful behaviours and attitudes, supporting survivors, or holding perpetrators to account”, says James Maybee, Principal Officer for Criminal Justice Services for Highland Council and Depute Chair of the Highland Violence Against Women Partnership.
“We are therefore asking for people to declare what they will do to help end violence against women and girls by sharing their #WhatWillYouDo message on social media and encouraging others to do the same.”
In Scotland, at least four out of five incidents of domestic abuse recorded by Police Scotland have a female victim and a male accused.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by domestic abuse, sexual violence, and other forms of violence.
Yet, violence against women has too often been regarded as a problem for women to solve.
Prevention messages that focus on women’s behaviour are not only ineffective, but contribute to harmful beliefs that victims are somehow to blame for what happens to them.
Mr Maybee adds that:
“Men can make a difference by changing the way they talk about women and talk to women.
“The recent ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ campaign (external link) provides a powerful message for men to look at their own actions and how they can hold each other to account and prevent abuse.”
It is estimated that domestic abuse costs the Scottish public purse £2.3 billion and VAWG costs Scotland £4 billion. Gender-based violence can also have devastating and life-long impacts on survivors and their families.