We’ve all been shocked by the news over the last few months. Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa’s tragic cases have shone a light on the issue of male violence against women and sparked much needed debate and discussion.
But more debate, and critically, more action is desperately needed.
Yesterday, 18 year old Bobby-Anne-McLeod was found dead with two men arrested in connection with her murder. And this follows the death of an unnamed women at her home in King’s Lynn, Norfolk on Tuesday.
The UK statistics are truly frightening:
- Every year, 85,000 women experience rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.
- Only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence report to the police. 5.7% of reported cases lead to convictions.
- One in three teenage girls has experienced some form of sexual violence from a partner.
- 97% of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed.
- A woman dies at the hands of a man every three days.
And even more frightening is that things are getting worse, not better. We are also seeing a rise in both domestic abuse cases and rape cases yet a fall in convictions for both.
So, what can we do as individuals, businesses and across society more widely?
The only way to answer this question is to change it.
What can men do as individuals, in the workplace and in their communities to stop make violence against women and girls? Male violence can only be stopped if men challenge and act.
Just like in this video. https://fb.watch/9vgUv8yyxN/
Globally, most men say they support gender equality and believe they are contributing in meaningful ways. Most men believe they are a “good guy”.
But in reality, few are being true allies by becoming courageous watchdogs for equity, dignity, respect, and fairness in the workplace and in their communities.
It’s no surprise then that 77% of men believe they are doing all they can to support gender equality, while only 41% of women agree.
The burden of this issue has been carried by women for too long. It’s time for men to step up and take action – and here’s why:
- Firstly, women who call out bad male behaviour aren’t being listened to.
- Secondly, when a man confronts bias or sexism, other men are more likely to be persuaded.
- Thirdly, quite often, men fear they’re the only guy in the room who objects to inappropriate actions or language (though evidence shows lots of men are offended) and speaking up can enable other male allies to find their voice. Like a domino effect.
Men must be the ones to stop violence against women and girls. And there are twelve things that men can do right now to support wider, social change:
- Recognise that violence against women is every man’s responsibility.
- Speak up. Don’t be a silent bystander.
- Challenge men who use sexist language and make degrading jokes about women.
- Ask women about how the threat of violence impacts their life. Listen to and learn from women.
- Think about the attitudes and everyday language that contributes to these problems.
- Call 999. Violence against women is not a private matter – it’s a crime.
- Recognise that the objectification of women (in pornography, or degrading images in the media) are inherently linked to male violence
- Boycott the outlets that dehumanise women in this way
- Teach boys and young men about healthy relationships
- Seek help if you are emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive
- Join other concerned men and women to address gender violence through groups such as the Fawcett Society
- Support ending male violence against women campaigns in your community.
To raise awareness of the issue CCgroup is supporting White Ribbon Day. The day is all about people in their communities, organisations and workplaces coming together and saying ‘no’ to violence against women.
Today we held a session, to create a safe space for the team to open up about the issue. We discussed what more we can do collectively as a workplace - and individually to make a change. And it was great to see my male colleagues “Make the Promise” to end male violence against women and girls.
There are steps that businesses can take to make sure staff feel as safe and comfortable as possible. For example, CCgroup has introduced a policy which allows staff to get home via taxi, avoiding journeys and walks which pose threat. We also have a company-wide WhatsApp Group for evening work events and socials, so we can all keep each other updated with progress of our journeys and confirm when we’re home.
But one of the most important things that needs to change, is that we normalise men speaking up and challenging other men. As the following video shows, you don’t want to be “that guy”.
I’m an ally. Are you?