- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
10th anniversary of White Ribbon events in Wales
A local AM is marking the annual day to say ‘no’ to violence against women (25 November).
Local campaigner Joyce Watson AM is organising White Ribbon events including a candlelit vigil.
She will mark International White Ribbon Day at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay with the WI, and will speak at the Carmarthen vigil on 26 November.
Mrs Watson began White Ribbon campaigning in Wales ten years ago, organising the first service at Llandaff Cathedral before she was elected to serve Mid and West Wales. She said:
“It is now ten years since we began the White Ribbon campaign in Wales, and it is gratifying to see how far it has come, yet the statistics tell us that we have a long way to go to change attitudes and behaviour.”
In the ten years since Joyce set up the first White Ribbon event, thousands of people and many organisations have been involved in the campaign. She has recruited male ambassadors to speak out, and joined with the WI for a Not in my Name campaign to build on this work, She has organised services at Brecon and St David’s Cathedrals, encouraged student vigils at Aberystwyth University and other sites, to keep the message going.
This year Wales passed a law to protect women and victims of sexual violence, and appointed a National Adviser to support this.
The Senedd events will include music, speakers and a candlelit vigil to promote the White Ribbon message – to never commit, condone or stay quiet about violence against women.
There will be a lunchtime debate, then at dusk a candlelight vigil on the steps of the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay.
The lunchtime event, chaired by Mrs Watson, will hear from the Minister for Public Services, the newly appointed National Adviser for Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence, a survivor of domestic abuse, and the Chair of NFWI-Wales, with a performance by Llamau Choir.
At dusk a local school band will entertain supporters, who will then gather on the Senedd steps. Speakers will include Rachel Williams, who survived shooting and now campaigns through Welsh Women’s Aid, the First Minister of Wales, and representatives of the four Welsh political parties.
Ann Jones, Chair of NFWI-Wales, will address the stakeholder event and the candlelight vigil about the activities of WIs over the last four years in recruiting male ambassadors from their communities in speaking out against violence against women. Those recruited have ranged from male voice choirs, sports clubs and sixth formers to businesses, young farmers’ clubs and rotary clubs; all of whom have joined other men across the world to pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
Ann Jones, Chair of NFWI-Wales said:
“One in four women in Wales will experience domestic violence at the hands of a partner during their lives, and 150,000 women will suffer some form of gender-based violence. This cannot continue. Men must be part of the solution in challenging the attitudes and behaviours of a minority of men who use or condone violence against women.
“The candlelight vigil is an opportunity for the people of Wales to make a strong stance against violence against women and to demonstrate that it is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
The Not in My Name campaign runs during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence which starts on 25 November (White Ribbon Day) and ends of 10 December (Human Rights Day).
Joyce thanked Thompsons Solicitors for sponsoring the evening event in the Welsh Assembly.
For further information on Joyce Watson’s work, go to https://www.joycewatson.org.uk/