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19 December 2013
Side By Side!

A huge thanks to all who took part and turned out for the first Side By Side event in Scotland!

With support from Scottish Women's Aid, Hollaback! Edinburgh, Zero Tolerance and Amina - Muslim Women's Resource Centre, the first 3-legged 'walk for equality' was a great celebration of the work women and men have carried out together in tackling violence against women over the years.

We met up at top of the Royal Mile at midday and, after coupling up, began the race to Dynamic Earth!

        

 

Marco Biagi MSP and Christina McKelvie MSP ably lead the way....

 

 

 

The end is almost in sight!...

 

 

Everyone's a winner as we have a team photo at our final destination.

 

 

We then had the priviledge to hear from our panelists who paired up to discuss their own experiences. Chaired by Heather Coady from Scottish Women's Aid, we were treated to very personal and warm accounts from men who have been involved in the feminist movement.

 

 

We heard from DCI Kenny Gray about how the police response has improved towards perpetrators of domestic abuse over the years, and about the effects that reading cases has upon an individual. He was joined in conversation by Callum MacPherson of Hollaback! Edinburgh; Callum explained that he is new to the movement and looks forward to campaigning against street harassment and all forms of violence against women, and to educating student colleagues on the importance of being an active bystander.

 

 

We were then treated to another fascinating conversation between Marco Biagi MSP, long-time male feminist and gay rights campaigner prior to his Parliamentary role, and Rory MacRae who worked for over twenty years developing a programme for men convicted of domestic violence related offences. They quizzed each other on their successes and failures over the years in overcoming resistance to their work, and followed this with a discussion on whether men could call themselves feminists.

 

 

What was particularly enjoyable about the conversations was the honesty from four men who didn't claim to have all the answers - even when questioned by the audience! We can only prevent violence against women in the future by listening to those who have experienced sexism and abuse first or second hand, and it was great seeing an audience and panellists enjoy this shared discussion.

We then heard from Vali Hussein of Amina on the work being carried out by You Can Change This to engage muslim men as change makers, willing to speak out against those who would condone violence against women within the muslim community.

 

 

White Ribbon Scotland's Callum Hendry delivered the final presentation of the day, an account of his own personal and professional journey as a male tackling violence against women. Callum closed by thanking everyone who had presented at and attended the event, and to all those who have supported White Ribbon Scotland and the feminist movement. Women and men have come so far working together, but there remains significant challenges ahead. What gives us hope is that we have so many dedicated individuals who keep striving for a world free of sexism and violence. We enjoyed the event and will continue to keep working together, side by side.

Photos by Mark Davison, ProLensPhoto Agency

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26% of Scots surveyed in 2007 thought that a woman bore some responsibility for being raped if she wore revealing clothing

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