Renfrewshire MP Gavin Newlands has called for this year’s White Ribbon Day to mark the beginning of action to tackle male violence against women.
White Ribbon Day is marked around the world and is the largest global initiative to end male violence against women by calling on men to take action to make a difference, and signaled the beginning of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, a UN initiative with events across Scotland and world.
The Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP has chaired the cross-party parliamentary group on White Ribbon for some years and marked the day in a debate held in Westminster on Thursday.
The White Ribbon campaign aims to sign up men and boys across Scotland and the UK to a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women in all its forms, with thousands having already signed the pledge.
Gavin said: “It’s easy to think changing men’s behaviour is someone else’s problem – but it’s up to all men and boys to hold our peers to account when we see attitudes that are damaging to women and girls.
“92% of defendants in domestic violence court cases are male and 84% of victims of sexual offences are female. These statistics should be shocking, but they seem to be accepted as part of the society we live in. That can’t go on.
“As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on White Ribbon UK, I’ve worked with a range of organisations and individuals to get the message across that stopping violence against women and girls isn’t an abstract concept or campaign – it’s in our daily lives and that’s where we need to root it out.
“Parliament also chose White Ribbon Day as the day of a debate on International Men’s Day. I was pleased to take part in that debate and set out how and why male behaviour toward women and girls has to change for all our sakes.
“Toxic masculinity of the kind that leads to violence against women won’t be stopped overnight – but each of us can play our part in chipping away at its base by taking responsibility for our own actions and those of us the people around us.
“I would encourage every man and boy across Renfrewshire and beyond to visit the White Ribbon website at whtieribbonscotland.org.uk and sign up to the pledge to speak out against violence against women and play our part in tackling this injustice.”