ORGANISERS hope more than 300 people will march to Llandaff Cathedral later this month to raise awareness about violence against women.
The Light a Candle event, to be held on White Ribbon Day, November 25, has been running for over 10 years and last year attracted 300 participants.
It is organised by Bawso, a charity supporting more than 6,000 women from minority groups, in partnership with Welsh Women’s Aid, Safer Wales and other charities.
Deputy CEO for Bawso, Samsunear Ali, who has been with the charity for 20 years, said: “Llandaff started off as a place where we could come together with all faith leaders under one roof and try to engage and empower everyone from policymakers to practitioners to community members and service users.”
The march sets off at 9am from Llamau Office, Cathedral Road to Llandaff Cathedral.
“It is a symbolic event, we bring plaques and signs and we chant along the way,” said Samsunear Ali.
“Then we have the Light a Candle service where we hear faith leaders from many of the main world religions where explain how no religion condones violence of any kind against women.”
The service, from 10.45am until noon, will include speeches from AM Carl Sargeant, the Cabinet Minister for communities and children, and Rhian Bowen-Davies, first national adviser for Violence against Women.
Every year a survivor of violence also speaks in the Cathedral.
“It can show women they’re not the only ones, that there are others who are suffering, but we are fighting the case and hopefully one day violence against women will be eradicated,” she said.
From midday, Llandaff Rugby and Football Club hosts a lunch to raise money for a project for women who are affected by violence but have no access to public funds.
Since Bawso’s formation in 1995, it has expanded to have 135 members of staff across Wales and £3 million of funding, which Ms Ali believes shows the growth of awareness about violence against women.
“Wales is proactive with policies and we are part of influencing and implementing those policies,” she said.
“I feel like I can make a difference and these events help us grow and expand the organisation, helping women become aware of their rights and the services available to them.”
- In Wales, over 47,000 incidents of domestic abuse were reported to police in 2014- 15.
- Over 3,000 people in the UK are thought to be victims of modern slavery (2015).
- Every year there are an estimated 140 victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) a year in Wales.
- In the UK, in a street made up of 100 houses, 20 women who live on that street will have been the victim of a sexual offence.
- In a single year, there are 1,220 possible cases of forced marriage in the UK (2015).
- In 2014-15, women exploited through street based prostitution reported 78 violent attacks.
Sources of these facts are provided by BAWSO and come from: Crown Prosecution Service, Forced Marriage Unit, UK Home Office, Safer Wales, Welsh Women’s Aid.