A local MP is calling for all his colleagues to back White Ribbon Scotland, a charity who aims are to end gender-based violence.
Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has written to every Scottish MP to ask them to make the White Ribbon Pledge, and to become ambassadors for White Ribbon Scotland.
White Ribbon Scotland is a charity focused on engaging men to campaign, speak out and take action to end gender-based violence, including signing the White Ribbon Pledge to never commit, condone, or excuse gender-based violence.
White Ribbon Scotland engages and works with education establishments at all levels, sports clubs, faith groups, organisations, companies, and key individuals to highlight the importance of men and boys taking responsibility for their actions and calling out unacceptable behaviour by colleagues, friends and family.
Newlands, who is a White Ribbon Scotland Ambassador sent the letter as part of his activity for the global 16 Days of Action campaign to end violence against women and girls, which White Ribbon Scotland is heavily involved in.
Recently Newlands also spoke at Paisley’s Reclaim the Night March and chaired the all-party group meeting on the White Ribbon Campaign during the 16 Days.
Photo: Gavin Newlands and other supporters of Paisley’s Reclaim the Night march down Paisley High Street
The letter from Newlands calls on all Scottish MPs to sign up as White Ribbon Scotland ambassadors to help grow the charity. Newlands was the first MP to become an Ambassador and hopes that many of his fellow Members of Parliament will also sign up.
After sending the letter, Newlands, said: “I have been a White Ribbon Scotland Ambassador for some time now, and as chair of the White Ribbon All Party Parliamentary Group in Westminster, I continue to do what I can to champion the campaign among my Parliamentary Colleagues. Regardless of gender, Parliamentarians can use their influence affect meaningful changes in attitudes in their constituencies.
“But men in general also need to realise that they are the most powerful force in tackling the sexist attitudes that other men have towards women. They can challenge gender based violence by leading by example and by calling out these attitudes whenever and wherever they see them.”
White Ribbon Scotland will be vital for the eventual elimination of gender-based violence and sexist attitudes across our country.”
Full text of letter:
I am writing to you in relation to the outstanding work carried out by the White Ribbon Scotland Campaign, which seeks to bring an end to gender based violence. This is work that is put in year-round, but is of particular note during the global 16 Days of Action to end violence against women and girls. Across the world, 1 in 3 women will be subject to gender based violence, and in the UK, 20% of women will suffer sexual assault. Make no mistake, this is a scandal that we should be utterly ashamed of.
Men have the most important role in ending this kind of abhorrent violence. They can change their own behaviour, and push other men to do better by calling out the sexist language, humour, and attitudes that support gender based violence.
If you are a man, I ask that you sign the White Ribbon Pledge to never commit, condone, or excuse gender based violence. You can do so on the White Ribbon Scotland website, and I would encourage you to reach out to other men in your constituency to ask them to sign the pledge too.
As Members of Parliament, we can use our profile to help create social change; and there is more that you can do beyond signing the pledge like becoming an official White Ribbon Ambassador. Ambassadors for the campaign are expected to raise awareness of the campaign and its goals of equality and ending violence against women, encourage others to participate in the campaign and sign the pledge, stand up as a role model for men acting as allies, and influence members of organisations they are involved with to embrace White Ribbon activities and speak out against gender based violence.
As a man, I recognise that my gender inflicts tremendous pain every day on women and children across the world, and the best thing we can do as individuals and as a country to end this is to lead by example. The biggest benefactors of this change will be future generations.
Let’s make 2019 a year we take steps forward towards a world that is safer, more inclusive, and more equal. Please sign the White Ribbon Pledge and become a White Ribbon Ambassador.
MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North
Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the White Ribbon Campaign