From today people across Perth and Kinross will be taking part in an international campaign to tackle gender-based violence.
‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ is an annual event that aims to raise awareness and encourage individuals and organisations across the world to call for the prevention and end of gender-based violence.
This year’s campaign kicks off this morning (November 25) – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and runs until Human Rights Day on December 10.
In support of the campaign a series of events have been arranged throughout Perth and Kinross to explore the various forms of gender-based violence and raise awareness of the issue.
The theme of this year’s events in Perth and Kinross is “Protecting People”.
The start of the 16 Days will be launched at 11am at Perth Concert Hall by deputy first minister and MSP for Perthshire North John Swinney, along with a performance by Rock Choir.
Other events will include a ‘Reclaim the Night March’ through Perth to show solidarity with women, an art display by Perth Women’s Collective, a seminar on “transforming” the response to abuse, and much more.
Reclaim the Night March organisers RASAC PK – a charity which offers free and confidential support to woman and young people who have experienced sexual violence – said: “Every year we organise the Reclaim the Night March in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council and the Violence Against Women Partnership.
“This year we are once again excited to see this march happening on December 1 across Perth city centre.
And although we have a different starting off location, we will have all our wonderful banners, placards and fairy lights ready for you, your family and friends.
“All you need to do is bring your voices along so we can let everyone know that the streets are for everyone, and that women and girls should be able to walk the streets, day and night without fear of harassment and violence.
“You can of course make your own banners and bring them along.
“The more banners, placards and signs we have on the march the more impact we make.”
The march will take place on Thursday, December 1 and meets at St Paul’s Church Square at 5.30pm before leaving at 6pm.
MSP Swinney said: “I am pleased to launch this year’s campaign and to lend my whole-hearted support to preventing and eliminating gender-based violence.
“It is important that we all continue to send a clear and unequivocal message to perpetrators that such abuse is unacceptable, whilst also highlighting that there are avenues of support available for victims.
“I am thankful for the efforts of all those involved in organising this year’s campaign, and I commend them for the important work they are doing to help address an issue that plagues the lives of too many people.”
Prior to this, yesterday (November 24) the film ‘Our Ladies’ was shown at Perth Theatre by Perth Film Society.
The Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy is hosting a gathering called ‘The Universal Story of Violence Against Women and Girls’ at 2pm this Saturday (November 26).
The safe and welcoming space for women is hosted by Lubna Kerr and includes afternoon tea, and performances of poetry, spoken word, true life stories and comedy.
Tickets are free and can be booked via the Birks Cinema website.
An interactive screening of the film ‘Consent’ will be held in the Brahan building at Perth College UHI on Wednesday, November 30 from 1pm-4pm.
The film is a mock trial made up of real-life solicitors, judges and a jury, with the witnesses, plaintive and accused played by actors.
Artwork commissioned by Perth Women’s Collective will also be projected onto the walls of St Paul’s on December 2 and also December 4-7, following workshops with local women discussing their ideas of safety.
And on December 5 at 10am, a Perth Theatre seminar will be held on ‘Transforming the response to the domestic and intimate abuse of older people’, with further events to follow.
The council’s housing and social wellbeing committee convener, Councillor Tom McEwan, said: “I’m delighted to see the support for this important cause in Perth and Kinross and pleased that we’re once again joining organisations across the area to tackle gender-based violence.
“Our programme of events over the 16 Days of Activism will play an important part in highlighting the different issues surrounding abuse and how to recognise the signs of gender-based violence.
“We want all victims to be aware they are not alone and there is help available.
“It is possible to break the cycle and start to build a better future for themselves.
“I encourage anyone suffering from abuse to get in touch with support agencies that will be able to ensure they get the help they need.
“Call our Customer Service Centre on 01738 475000 for advice and to be put in touch with the relevant support agencies.”
To find out more information on the upcoming events go to www.pkc.gov.uk/article/23008/Events-for-16-Days-of-Activism-Against-Gender-Based-Violence and the RASAC PK website.