We spend a lot of time blaming men (not without reason) for violence against women and girls – but they can be agents of change.
The coalition government is determined to tackle violence against women and girls in all its forms. These abhorrent crimes are not a women’s issue – they are everyone’s issue. And men can be central to bringing about cultural change.
In December last year, we re-launched the This is Abuse campaign which aims to prevent teenagers from becoming victims and perpetrators of abuse, encourage them to consider their views of abuse and the meaning of consent within relationships and signpost them to help and advice.
A significant focus of the campaign is targeted at boys and young men to help them identify and challenge abusive behaviour.
Just Google ‘this is abuse’ and you will see the campaigns from the Home Office. They are really potent. A while back I went into Channing School to talk to the sixth form and I asked who in the class had seen the This is Abuse campaign – and nearly the whole class had. It really reaches out to young people negotiating the difficult territory of relationships and what is ok and what is not.
The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) – which I wrote about yesterday – appeared in 1991 and has become one of the largest men’s anti-violence programs in the world. It has now spread to over 57 countries around the world.