- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Joyce Watson challenges men to never commit, condone or remain silent about abuse
More than half of Welsh university students have witnessed violence against women and more than a third have stayed silent about abuse. That is according to a poll conducted by Assembly Member Joyce Watson.
The Labour Mid and West AM carried out the research to mark International End Violence Against Women Day (25 November).
One hundred students from Welsh universities took part in the survey, with one in ten revealing they had condoned abuse.
Mrs Watson said:
“It appears there are stubborn pockets of misogyny and sexual harassment in our universities. By highlighting this issue and engaging students and universities I hope the majority of students will feel empowered to challenge unacceptable behaviour.
“Last week Cardiff University’s football team was banned from playing because one of its members allegedly made jokes about rape and domestic abuse. My findings suggest this sort of ‘banter’ is one end of a spectrum, violence is the other. That is why it should never be ignored or excused.”
The survey is part of two weeks of activity organised jointly by Mrs Watson and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes – Wales for the Not in My Name campaign.
Not in My Name recruits male ambassadors to urge people to pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. Men across Wales, from choirs to workplaces to sporting stars such as the Wales rugby squad, have signed up to the pledge.
Mrs Watson continued:
“I am campaigning with Aberystwyth University students to ensure that their union and university have a zero tolerance policy to sexual harassment and violence. The fact that so many student from universities right across Wales took the time to respond to my survey is very encouraging – I hope it can kick-start a Wales-wide campaign.”
Bridie Sedgebeer, Secretary of Aberystwyth University Labour Students said:
“The Society has always had a proud history of supporting women and making sure their voices are heard.
“We believe that in the 21st Century that two women a week should not die at the hands of their partners or ex partners.
“Aberystwyth University Labour Student’s welcome the Welsh Labour Government’s Respect campaign and we will be working closely with the Student’s Union and NUS to ensure that “Lad Culture” is stamped out of our campuses.”
Ann Jones, Chair of NFWI-Wales added:
“It is unacceptable that violence against women persists in today’s society and that one in four women in Wales will experience domestic violence at the hands of a partner their lives. It is vital that men speak out to help create a culture change where violence against women is not tolerated.”
People can still get involved by signing White Ribbon posters, organising or attending events, and by sending messages of support.