This year marks the 21st year of the global 16 Days of Action Opposing Violence against Women. Violence against women is an enormous problem in Ireland with thousands of women experiencing rape, physical assaults, emotional and financial abuse and many other forms of exploitation every day.
In 1999, the United Nations officially recognised November 25 as the International Day for the elimination of violence against women.
Throughout Ireland, women’s domestic violence services, Rape Crisis Centres, community development projects, Family Resource Centres and other campaigning groups actively support the campaign. The creativity, energy and enthusiasm that drives the various events, whether putting on a play, organising an awareness raising session at a local school or hosting a concert or exhibitions, is unparalleled.
The aims of the campaign are:
To highlight the prevalence of violence against women.
To raise awareness of violence against women as a human rights issue at the local, national and international level.
To show the solidarity of women around the world opposing violence against women.
To work towards the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
To put violence against women on the political and media agenda.
In 2010 three leading national organisations, Rape Crisis Network Ireland, Safe Ireland and The Men’s Development Network, joined forces for the first time to rally Irish men to become part of the solution to ending violence against women. The alliance and campaign, under the banner The Other Half, believes that the work to end violence against women can only be tackled by harnessing the energy, support and understanding of the additional 50 per cent of the population.
In Mayo The Other Half/White Ribbon Campaign was launched in Castlebar by James Horan, Mayo football manager. The White Ribbon is an international campaign and was created by a handful of Canadian men in 1991 on the second anniversary of one man’s massacre of 14 women in Montreal. They decided that wearing a white ribbon would be a symbol of men’s opposition to violence against women.
This year Mayo Women’s Support Services, Mayo Rape Crisis Centre and Ballina Family Resource Centre will be hosting The Other Half White Ribbon Campaign in Ballina Family Resource Centre on Friday November 25 at 12pm.
Other events taking place during the 16 days include: a lilies ritual, where we remember the women who have lost their lives as a result of violence; a White Ribbon Campaign throughout the county in various Family Resource Centres; an information display in Castlebar Library and Mayo County Council; and a legal education day, focusing on family law, domestic violence legislation and mental health law.
For further information on any of the events during the 16 Days of Action Opposing Violence against Women please contact Mayo Women’s Support Services on 094 902 7519, Mayo Rape Crisis Centre on 094 902 5657, Ballina Resource Centre on 096 75573 or your local Family Resource Centre.