Scotland: Men to speak out on violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights

Amnesty International Scotland will be holding an event in Dundee on Thursday 30 March calling on men and boys to help tackle violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. This is the start of a nationwide series of new events entitled Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights: Involving Men. The Dundee event takes place this Thursday at Dundee’s Westpark Centre, with further events in London (1 April), Belfast (3 April) and Cardiff (5 April).

This conference aims to provoke discussion and debate, and will explore the potential for setting up outreach and education projects in Scotland. It is organised in conjunction with Men’s Health Forum Scotland and hope to attract men who are influencers in their community or profession.

The conference will host four international speakers including: Patrick Lemmon, co-founder of Washington-based Men Can Stop Rape. The organisation works to empower young men and those that work with them to join with Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in preventing rape and other violence. Men Can Stop Rape has trained more than 6,000 youth workers across the USA and has conducted Awareness-to-Action workshops for more than 30,000 youth and youth-serving professionals. It also runs “Men of Strength” clubs in schools and colleges, and a successful media campaign using sporting figures to tackle macho imagery.

Michael Kaufman from Canada’s White Ribbon Campaign. In 1991, a handful of men in Canada decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out against violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. They decided that wearing a white ribbon would be a symbol of men's opposition to men's violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. The White Ribbon Campaign is an educational organisation that encourages reflection and discussion that leads to personal and collective action among men.

Lesley Ann Foster from Masimanyane in South Africa promotes the domestic implementation of international human rights standards by building the capacity of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and human rights advocates to claim and realise Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's human rights. This includes working with men to achieve their aims. Lesley Ann Foster has also been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her work combating violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

Monira Rahman, Director of the Acid Survivors Foundation, Bangladesh. Bangladesh has the highest worldwide incidence of acid violence and acid burns constitute 9% of total burn injuries in Bangladesh. Acid throwing is an extreme form of violence where the majority of throwers are men and the majority of victim-survivors Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. ASF provides medical and legal help for acid survivors as well as developing prevention strategies. This has involved a 5,000 strong all-male march against acid violence.

Amnesty International’s Programme Director, Scotland, Rosemary Burnett said: “Men’s role in tackling violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights is absolutely crucial – and this means more than just stopping the perpetrators.

“Many men are brought up to think that violence or control are appropriate male attributes. “We hope through these events to kick-start a process whereby people working with young men can start to address some of these attitudes.”

Research carried out for Amnesty International with men indicates that many feel they have little personal knowledge about violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. It is seen as a daunting, emotionally charged issue and therefore very hard to talk about ‘safely’ or meaningfully, and that there is a real sense of powerlessness, with men unclear as to what they can or should do about it. A survey showed that 74% men would call the police or RSPCA if they knew someone was kicking or mistreating their dog, while only 53% would report to the police if they knew someone was kicking or mistreating their partner (1).

Amnesty is hoping that social workers, youth workers and others who work or have contact with young men will attend the event. For more details contact Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International Scotland, scotland@amnesty.org.uk or to book a place at the conference, contact Men’s Health Forum Scotland: sarah@mhfs.org.uk or +44 (0)141 550 7515
ENDS

(1) BBC Hitting Home Research by ICM 2003
Interviews available, please contact below.
More press information: Amnesty International Scotland press office: Rosemary Burnett or Naomi McAuliffe: +44 (0)131 466 6200 Mobile: +44 (0)7818 453 070 Visit: www.amnesty.org.uk

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