As a result of the recent self-promoting antics of a certain misogynist you will all know who we are referring to without having to even mention his name. We at White Ribbon Scotland Campaign share everyone’s distaste at the thought of his supporters meeting to reinforce his sexist and offensive teachings. We are pleased to hear that the meetings proposed in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been cancelled.
We know from our work with men across Scotland that by far the majority of Scottish men and boys would like to see an end to violence against women (VAW) in our society. For this to be achieved we must first change the attitudes which condone the lack of gender equality which in turn leads to an atmosphere in which VAW can occur.
To do this we call on all men to speak up and declare their opposition to VAW. You do not need to hold a seminar or a conference; it is much simpler than that. You simply need to speak to the people in your lives. Take the opportunity created by the current discussions to tell the women and men you know, live and work with that you are as appalled as they are when you hear sexist and misogynist language. Tell them you care that thousands (yes thousands!) of women every year are raped in Scotland and that you are opposed to the gender based domestic abuse which currently takes up 20% of Police Scotland’s time. Tell them that you will play your part in bringing up our sons to respect girls/women as equal partners in society and move away from the traditional stereotypes of men and women, which suggest one group has all the power and must demonstrate it; sometimes even violently.
Think of the effect of having those short conversations. Women in your life will realise that the silence of men which left them thinking they had to defeat this evil themselves can be lifted and their male allies intend to make a difference. Men will realise that they are not alone in thinking something needs to be done and your conversation will release them from the peer pressure, which has them thinking they should remain quiet for fear of other men thinking they are somehow less masculine – just because they want to see an end to violence against women. (Yes, that is as daft as it sounds!). Perhaps most important of all, children (boys and girls) will realise that the strength they thought lay in your outward masculinity actually lies in your confidence to speak out and your reassurance that they will live in a different society.
Hold these conversations and you will make a huge difference. You can also contact us via our website, www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk, and sign up to the white ribbon pledge ‘never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women’.