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Anti-violence campaign goes live
A Wales-wide campaign that challenges the attitude of men towards women gets underway today Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant has announced.
The Violence Against Women campaign aims to stamp out unacceptable attitudes and behaviour towards women before it leads to more violent forms of abuse. It shows how seemingly innocent actions may be a step too far and lead to women feeling unsafe.
“Whilst the odd comment or gesture may seem harmless enough, to the woman on the receiving end they can feel threatening and abusive” said the Minister. “Any behaviour that intimidates a woman should not be tolerated. If the campaign makes people stop and think then it will have served its purpose.”
The advertising campaign is part of Welsh Assembly Government’s ‘Right to be Safe’ strategy which aims to tackle violence against women. The campaign has been welcomed by women’s support organisations and the police.
Wales Commissioner for the Women’s National Commission, Adele Baumgardt, says she is pleased that the campaign highlights the link between gender inequality and violence against women.
"Gender discrimination affects women in Wales daily and can leave them feeling intimidated and even frightened" said Adele. "We need to change how men perceive women, challenge inappropriate attitudes and show men how damaging these can be. I hope that this campaign will give victims the confidence to come forward and ask for help."
Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid, Paula Hardy said that she warmly welcomes this powerful new campaign and the commitment shown by the Welsh Assembly Government.
“Gender inequality is both a cause and a consequence of violence against women, including the domestic abuse that Welsh Women’s Aid’s groups throughout Wales deal with at a grassroots level every single day. Challenging widespread social attitudes towards women is crucial if we want to end such violence; domestic abuse kills 2 women a week in England and Wales.
“Violence against women cannot be understood in isolation from the norms. Social structure and gender roles within the community greatly influence women’s vulnerability to violence. As a movement, we strongly support this campaign and hope it encourages some debate about issues that are widely seen as normal, inevitable or unchangeable.”
Carl Sargeant added
“No forms of violence or abuse, be it verbal, physical or mental, should be tolerated. Everyone has the right to lead a safe and violence-free life and I am committed to doing everything I can to make this happen”.
Every year 1 million women experience at least one incident of domestic abuse.12,165 women were victims of rape with 19,740 being victims of other sexual assaults during 2008/9.There are an estimated 12 Honour murders a year in the UK.The Forced Marriage Unit helpline received over 1600 calls on suspected incidences of forced marriage in 2008