Violence Against Women: Young people call on ‘Men of Harlech’ to speak out

Pupils from Ysgol Ardudwy led a march through Harlech town centre on Friday (24 November) to mark White Ribbon Day.

The students were joined by Assembly Member Joyce Watson, local Women’s Institute members and chairman Meinir Lloyd Jones, as well as Welsh Government representatives. Starting at Bron y Graig upper car park, the group walked with a ‘respect’ banner to the castle. There was also an evening candlelit vigil at St Mary’s Church, Dolgellau, organised by Meirionnydd WI member Christine Hemsley.

The events were part of the annual Not in my Name campaign to recruit men to sign up to the White Ribbon pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about male violence against women, which Mrs Watson and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes in Wales started in 2012. The international White Ribbon campaign starts on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and continues for 16 days of activism.

Mrs Watson said:

“Every year I ask schools in my Assembly region of Mid and West Wales to support the White Ribbon campaign. Ysgol Ardudwy has gone above and beyond, organising today’s march.

“Straight off, the school – staff and pupils – understood that White Ribbon is about respect between men and women, girls and boys, an issue that has been very much in the news recently.

“Sadly, domestic violence is still a big problem in our society. Already this year, more than 100 women in the UK have lost their lives and one in four women in Wales will experience violence at the hands of a partner during their lives.

“Ending this violence cannot be an issue for women to face alone. If we want to achieve real and lasting change, men must take a stand too. That is why events like today’s in Harlech and Dolgellau are so important – young people calling on the Men of Harlech to speak out against male violence against women.”

Mrs Watson visited the school in September to talk about the campaign, after which staff and pupils organised last week’s show of solidarity. Speaking after the September meeting, head teacher Tudur Williams said:

Mr Williams said:

“Ysgol Ardudwy already recognises the importance of including drawing attention to domestic violence in our current Personal and Social Education Programme. We are delighted that we will promote this issue further by being part of the ‘White Ribbon’ campaign this year and look forward to our pupils participating in the special event in Harlech to mark the International day in November.”

For information about Joyce Watson AM’s work contact Aaron Francis in her office on 0300 200 7092 or visit her website: http://www.joycewatson.org.uk/