Leeds continues fight alongside White Ribbon Campaign
Leeds leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to eradicating the city of violence against women, with men at the forefront of the pledge.
Working alongside the national White Ribbon Campaign – an initiative engaging men in campaigning against domestic violence – the city’s council leaders met at a round-table discussion last week.
As well as discussing ways to continue working on the issue, the council was awarded a special plaque from the charity for its work so far, having become the first White Ribbon City in 2010.
Chris Green, director and founder of the campaign, said the city had already done ‘large amounts’ to combat violence against women but asked for ‘even more support and ambassadors’.
There are currently 70 ambassadors in the city, and Mr Green explained why men were being asked to take up the positions.
“There are three reasons why we want men to be ambassadors,” he said.
“Firstly, we are the ones responsible for around 90 per cent of the acts, secondly women organisations are supportive of this philosophy, and lastly, men listen to other men.
“We want to create a culture where violence is not accepted and that includes things such as emotional as well as physical abuse.”
Mr Green was joined as a speaker on the day by a number of councillors, including Garforth and Swillington Labour representative, Cllr Andrea McKenna.
A victim of domestic violence previously, Ms McKenna’s experience was shared to the room before all those in attendance signed a ‘pledge’ signalling ways they will commit to supporting the campaign.
Imam at the local Makkah Masjid, Qari Asim, said the event was important to show support for the victims.
“According to White Ribbon statistics, 45 per cent of women will suffer some sort of domestic abuse in their lives,” he said.
“It is only through raising awareness through campaigns like this that we can collectively say the abuser should be ashamed of themselves, not the victim.”
Mr Asim added that the role of faith institutions is also an important one.
“All faith institutions have a part to play on both sides of the story here,” he said. “We have a duty to raise awareness of the issue and how the actions are not acceptable whilst also supporting the victims.”