Bristol Women's Commission announce 16 days of activism

28 November, 2023

Bristol Women's Commission has written a letter to local media announcing 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, from November 25th until December 10th. The letter - to which Voscur CEO Rebecca Mear is a signatory - reads:

"Dear Editor,

Bristol Women’s Commission brings together partners from the council, police, NHS, universities, colleges, schools, charities, voluntary sector organisations and business to identify and address issues that have an impact on women and girls.

We have made a lot of progress locally with a wide range of issues over the last ten years but as we all know we live in a time where an epidemic of male violence continues to take a heavy toll on the lives of women and girls in Bristol, the country and across the world, causing long-term harm and standing in the way of equality.

Gender-based violence is a global public health, equality and human rights issue. It remains a systemic crisis, affecting one in three women worldwide.

During 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (November 25 th - December 10 th ) we are calling on all city leaders, organisations and the people of Bristol to take further action to tackle male violence in line with this year’s theme: UNITE! Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls.

1. Be active bystanders: Call out misogynist attitudes and behaviour that underpin male violence
2. Tackle misogyny within your organisations through investing in training and appropriate policies, developing reporting processes and taking action to tackle perpetrators
3. Listen to women, believe women
4. Understand the different forms male violence and abuse can take
5. Look out for women who may be suffering domestic or sexual violence or abuse
6. Support interventions and campaigns to tackle male violence and abuse
7. Increase funding, where possible, for services supporting survivors
8. Invest, where possible, in accredited programmes proven to be effective with perpetrators
9. Recognise that some groups of women may find it more difficult to get their voices heard (e.g. adolescent, black and racially minoritised women, older and disabled women)
10. Signpost to specialist support where available
11. Enhance women’s safety by working with gender equality experts when planning public and office spaces
12. Follow and support the work of Bristol Women’s Commission

To our colleagues in the wider media we ask for:
● More balanced coverage in the media
● An end to victim-blaming
● Labelling male violence as male violence when men are the perpetrators (e.g. drink spiking)

Make it your business to tackle male violence, abuse and harassment of women and girls. Together we can make a difference.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Gane, Chair of Bristol Women’s Commission
Joanne Hall, Assistant Chief Constable at Avon & Somerset Police
Cllr Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Integrated Care System, Women and Women’s Safety at Bristol City Council
Amanda Coffey, Deputy Vice Chancellor at UWE Bristol
Judith Squires, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost at University of Bristol
Joanne Ward, Vice Principal Corporate Services and External Relations at City of Bristol College
Rebecca Mear, CEO of VOSCUR
Claire Bloor, CEO of SARSAS
Sandra Gordon, Director of Bristol Women in Business Charter CIC
Katy Taylor, Director of Bristol Women’s Voice
Kaye Palmer Greene, CEO of Northstar Academy
Cllr Lisa Stone, Green Party councillor for Bristol City Council
Cllr Kerry Bailes, Labour Group Women’s Officer at Bristol City Council
Diane Bunyan, Co-Chair of BWC’s Women and the Economy Task Group
Sue Cohen, Co-Chair of BWC’s Women and the Economy Task Group"