Sheffield White Ribbon Day 2021: Campaign launched to combat sexual violence against women
As a growing number of businesses in Sheffield declare a zero tolerance towards sexual harassment to help making workplaces safer for women, more action is being called for in the city.
To mark International Day to End Violence Against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day, today (November 25), people in their communities, organisations and workplaces are urged to come together and say ‘no’ to violence against women.
White Ribbon Day sees people wearing white ribbons to raise awareness of a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls.
The movement was formed by a group of men in Ontario, Canado, in November 1991 in response to a massacre of female students in a college two years earlier.
According to the Know The Line movement – a South Yorkshire group set up to campaign against the sexual harassment of women and girls in public places – individual action can make a big difference.
Christine Rose, chairman of Know The Line, said: “Everyone has a role in making this happen...individual actions can make a big difference.
“You can call out unacceptable behaviour and challenge 'banter'. You can show your support for someone by believing them when they describe what happened.
“You can ask your workplace to promote their policy on how to tackle sexual harassment at work.”
White Ribbon Day forms part of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, which ends on December 10 to coincide with International Human Rights Day.
‘Time to speak out against all demeaning and abusive treatment’
In Sheffield, dozens of businesses have signed up to pledge zero tolerance towards sexual harassment at work since Know The Line launched a campaign on May 17.
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, who is spearheading the campaign in the city, stated that it is time for the public to speak out against ‘all demeaning and abusive treatment of women and girls’.
He said: “Violence against women and girls has been highlighted by some shocking murders. Lockdowns saw an increase in domestic violence, and too many women experience sexual harassment as part of everyday life. We need to challenge all demeaning and abusive treatment of women and girls.
“In Sheffield, we've got a great campaign against sexual harassment in the hospitality sector and today, on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we are asking customers to get involved by calling on their favourite venues to pledge zero tolerance against sexual harassment.
“The recent spate of spiking incidents highlights the pressing need to tackle violence against women and girls, and this campaign can make a difference.”
Wear a white ribbon in solidarity
Walkley councillor Ben Curran has also pushed for White Ribbon Day to be recognised in his effort to raise awareness about male violence against women amid recent drink-spiking attacks in hospitality venues across the city.
Sheffield’s White Ribbon Day kicks off 16 days of action, including a ‘Reclaim the Night’ march and a vigil, organised by Our Bodies, Our Streets, IDAS and Women's Equality Sheffield.
Know The Line is also running a Twitter campaign for 16 days specifically on sexual harassment at work.
To pledge zero tolerance against sexual harassment at work, visit: https://zerotolerancesheffield.com/campaigns/