A call to arms for Scottish men..
Yes, the Scottish blog is back after a wee break. Sorry, there just haven’t been enough hours in the day (or days in the week for that matter).
One of the things that’s been keeping me busy is the launch of the exciting new interactive website for the White Ribbon Scotland campaign
The White Ribbon Campaign, started in Canada, is an international effort to give men a role in tackling violence against women, active in over 55 countries.
The timing of this new initiative couldn’t have been better, with new figures showing 1,000 cases of domestic abuse reported in Scotland every week. Domestic abuse, mostly involving men’s violence against women, but including violence against men and in same-sex partnerships, is a stain on Scotland’s character that a strong women’s sector and world-leading government policies are struggling to shift.
One problem is that the attitudes which underpin violence remain widespread – for example 74% of men would report a dog being beaten to animal welfare or the police, but only 53% would report domestic violence. Now most men aren’t violent, but we do tend to leave it to women to sort out a problem that men are at the centre of.
This is where the White Ribbon campaign comes in. Let’s face it, whatever sense women’s organisations might be talking, men on the whole are going to be more receptive and less defensive if the message comes from other blokes. Especially if it comes from blokes that they respect.
So it was that the launch of the new website was announced by a joint letter signed by a broad alliance of "leading Scottish men", including celebrities (Brian Cox, Christopher Broommyre), politicians (Alex Salmond, Iain Gray, Tavish Scott, Murdo Fraser, Patrick Harvie), church leaders (Cardinal O’Brien, Rev David Lunan), Celtic’s Gordon Strachan, Rangers’ Walter Smith and the usual suspects like, err, myself.
The site provides Scottish men with the chance to sign the White Ribbon Pledge "not to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women" and, perhaps more importantly, is geared towards follow-up action with a range of information and resources and suggestions of other actions that men can take.
So, non-violent blokes of the world, get yourselves over to www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk, sign that pledge and pass it on to all your non-violent mates. Women are welcome to sign up in support – but please send it on to the men in your life too.
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