2021 - 16Days Placards
16 days is the annual period of activism against gender-based violence, running from 25th November to 10th December. As the specialist organisation in Caithness and Sutherland addressing men’s violence towards women, 16 days is really important time on our annual calendar. Alongside providing direct support to women, children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse, another core role for our organisation is to raise awareness, educate and prevent. Consequently, 16 days is important to CASWA.
We strive to find ways to engage our community and include them, but this isn’t always easy. Men’s violence towards women and domestic abuse admittedly are not easy topics and it really isn’t an easy topic to discuss this at a local level when we are talking about it happening here, in Caithness and Sutherland. But it does happen here. And we need to talk about it. And we need to recognise the role we all play in addressing men’s violence towards women.
In 2020 we joined forces with a number of other Highland-based partners (https://www.changeherstory.co.uk/contact-us) to deliver the #changeherstory campaign (https://www.caswa.org.uk/blog/change-her-story-campaign-wrap-up) The aim of this campaign was to extend an invite to the community to consider and reflect on the question “What would you like to see change for women and girls?”. We reached out to our community, inviting them to participate in this campaign by completing and posting placards on social media. We were blown away with the response from the Caithness & Sutherland Community. https://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/campaign-to-raise-awareness-of-gender-based-violence-has-exceeded-expectations-says-caithness-and-sutherland-womens-aid-220845/
This year, for 16 days, we joined forces with our Highland-based partners again to further the campaign (www.changeherstory.co.uk) by turning thought into action, changing the question from “what would you like to see change for women and girls?” to “what will you do to change the story for women and girls?”. During a very difficult, harrowing year where community awareness of men’s violence towards women increased due to significant press exposure, so did calls for action and change. Throughout 2021 CASWA used our online platforms as a rallying cry, reaching out to the community to raise awareness, educate and inform pleading with them to pay attention. Consequently posing the #whatwillyoudo question with action at its core was so important this year for those of us working in the sector.
Asking yourself what you will do is a HUGE question to consider. We know how much has to be done and how far we have to go. However, we were very keen to plead a case for small, everyday actions leading to the ripples for change… Actions such as:
- Following and sharing content from local specialist organisations such as CASWA J
- Spending a wee bit of time educating yourself to become better informed
- Starting conversations with family and friends when you hear problematic, victim-blaming language such as “why doesn’t she just leave” or “what was she wearing”
- Taking steps to promote inclusion and equality with your family by sharing household tasks and parenting responsibilities
- Being a visible, active ally to survivors standing in solidarity with them
- Advocating and pushing for change with decision makers
- Being the person who says, “that isn’t funny” to the inappropriate, sexist joke
- Challenging gender norms, roles and stereotypes within your family and social networks
- Leading by example…
“It is often the very small actions that create the ripples for change” - CASWA
The core message of this campaign was that we can all play a role in eliminating violence against women and girls. We were encouraged again this year by the local engagement in this campaign, many members of the community accepting their responsibility and taking time to participate and consider what they can and will do. See the gallery below to hear what members of our community will do: