On Friday 19 March 2021, the NFWI calls on WI members to show their support and solidarity with all women who have experienced abuse and harassment.
Between 6pm-7pm, we would like WI members to safely join our ‘WI Walk with Women’, in accordance with social-distancing rules. Together with members of your household, in your support bubble or with a fellow WI member within your local area, we are asking WI members to join us by walking down your street; using candles, lanterns or your phone’s flashlight, to show your support.
Please note, the following actions must be taken in accordance with Government guidelines on social distancing, and within Covid-19 restrictions.
1. Join our ‘WI Walk with Women’, and between 6pm-7pm walk down your street with candles, flashlights, lanterns etc.
You can ask members of your household and support bubble to join you. You can also liaise with a fellow WI member in your local area and walk your street together. Please note, social distancing rules must be upheld and please wear a face covering if you are able to.
2. Create a sign for your walk, and share photographs on social media using the hashtag #WIWalkwithWomen and tag us at @WomensInstitute
We have signs available for members to download and use. Please visit the Public Affairs section of My WI.
Use our campaign name ‘No More Violence’ for your sign and fill in the gap – e.g. No More… Inaction/ No More… Misogyny, etc.
3. If you are shielding or unable to take part in the ‘WI Walk with Women’, you can still take part from your front door, holding a sign and/or a candlelight vigil in your window, to show your support.
4. We would encourage WI members to involve the men in your family, household and bubble to take part and show their support, by joining the walk and holding up signs to share on social media. The White Ribbon campaign has highlighted the role men have and can play in tackling violence against women, as well as the importance of educating men and boys on this issue.
5. Involve your community by sharing details of the ‘WI Walk with Women’ on social media and through your existing networks. Everyone is welcome to take part, and we would like to see WI members encourage other members of your community, men and women, to get behind this, spread the word and show their support.
In more detail:
Violence against women is endemic in the UK and across the world. Tragic events in the last week must be the beginning of the conversation about women’s safety and right to live in a world free from the fear of violence, harassment and abuse. We’ve seen women courageously share their harrowing stories of abuse, harassment, and countless microagressions. It is wrong that women are told to protect themselves from the threat of violence from a young age, as well as the ‘invisible safety work’ women do in their daily lives. Enough is enough.
Tackling violence against women has been a longstanding concern for the WI, and whilst work has already started through our Not in My Name and No More Violence campaigns, we acknowledge that more needs to be done to eradicate all forms of violence, harassment and abuse against women. Today and every day, the WI stands in solidarity with all women.
We need to:
- Stop normalising violence by men against women.
- See firm commitments and concrete solutions from politicians that target the behaviour of perpetrators, not those which focus on the actions of women who are attacked.
- Ensure that the Government’s upcoming ‘Tackling Violence against Women’ strategy improves systems of reporting, and leads to prosecutions and convictions, thereby increasing women’s confidence in the justice system.
- Include recognition of misogyny as a hate crime before the Domestic Abuse Bill achieves royal assent next month, to ensure all incidents of violence and abuse against women and girls are recorded.
- Ensure that all men and boys are educated on this issue and encourage male peers to speak out against it.
Further action WI members can take:
1. Share your views and experiences to help inform the Government’s next Tackling Violence against Women and Girls Strategy.
The Government has reopened their nationwide Call for Evidence to inform their next Tackling Violence against Women and Girls Strategy. This Call for Evidence would like to hear the views of as many individuals as possible who have either lived experience of the issue, or expertise in working with victims and survivors and providing services. The survey closes at 11.45pm on 26 March 2021 and can be accessed here.
2. Use our template letter to write to your MP on this issue. Email the NFWI Public Affairs team at firstname.lastname@example.org for your copy.
3. Sign the Women’s Aid’s online petition, requiring local authorities to fund specific domestic abuse services for women.
5. Continue to support survivors in your community by attending one of Women’s Aid’s upcoming webinars on responding to domestic abuse in your community.
6. NHS Wales has developed an online training module on violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence. The 45 minute on-line module helps people recognise the signs of violence and abuse and to know how they can safely help. The training can be accessed here.
Further guidance & support:
Click here for the latest Government guidance on Covid-19 restrictions.
Click here for domestic violence information about support services.