Kingston Council pledged to White Ribbon UK to encourage men to stand up against male violence against women, during a public consultation on November 25 – White Ribbon Day.
The council organised the pop up public consultation with local police and supporters of the white ribbon scheme to increase public awareness about male violence against women, outside the council.
White Ribbon Day is a globally recognised day to tackle violence against women. The White Ribbon scheme aims to bring men into the conversation and help end violent acts committed by men against women ranging from verbal abuse to sexual assault and murder.
Kavitha Ramakrishnan, violence against women lead for Kingston Council, said: “It is time for men to become allies. We know it’s not all men but women and especially men need to make [a] cultural change and shift the discussion to call out misogyny. All of us need to create collective change, and boys need positive male role models.”
“We are working with night time businesses, we did training for [Kingston nightclub] PRYZM and with pubs and restaurants. We taught what to look out for and what to do to keep women safe on nights out,” said Ramkrishnan.
PRYZM general manager Stephan Currie said the training was excellent and went down very well with the team.
Kingston Council also made a white flower for each of the 120 women that have died at the hands of a man this year. The flowers were placed outside the entrance to the council halls. There was a flower for Sabrina Nessa and Sarah Everard, whose deaths were highly publicised in the media.
Ramakrishnan said they had displayed the flowers to show that these women’s’ deaths were not just another statistic, and to highlight the impact of male violence on women.
A key focus of the White Ribbon scheme for Kingston Council has been to recruit male ambassadors, who will become positive examples for boys and men and call out worrying or misogynistic behaviour from other men.
Male ambassador Howard Greenoff said: “Male violence is outrageous. We need to come together and learn and make cultural change.
“This violent behaviour is learnt and seen in the media. It may come from insecure men who feel they need to dominate women. People shouldn’t use the dominant force of their personality to control someone else, so they feel they cannot enjoy the simple things or feel safe.”
Greenoff, who is married with three sons and a granddaughter, said: “Men should feel proud to pledge and helping by calling out men’s behaviour.
“We are more socially aware than in the 60s and 70s. We males should recognise us as the problem. We should have awareness of self and realise that our action can make females feel threatened.”
A member of the Metropolitan Police, Kingston Branch said: “Violence against women and girls has been ongoing for a long time and that should be the main focus. Men need to step out and be apart of the conversation and to recognise their actions to help end male violence.”
“A lot of women don’t report acts of violence from men. They see it as part of normality, but we take these issues seriously.”
The newly formed Women’s Policy Party, in Kingston, are supportive of the White Ribbon Scheme. They are keen to help and see life improve for women in work, education, childcare and see reduced violence against women.
Treasurer for Women’s Policy Party Deborah Olszewski said: “We need to work at it [ending male violence against women] as we could go backwards if we’re not careful. These issues need to be moved up the agenda.
“It is good if other men are encouraged to step up. It should be an issue for men and not left up to women to stop men committing violence. Time for men to tell each other when they are being out or order.”
If you would like to take the White Ribbon promise, you can do so on the make a promise page on their website.