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March on White Ribbon Day to end violence against women

Demonstrators chanted from the city centre to Llandaff Cathedral for the yearly Light a Candle service

Members of Welsh Women’s Aid were among those who attended the march

A MARCH and church service have been held to highlight the issue of violence against women and commemorate victims of abuse.

The events were part of a series held annually to mark the UN’s international day for the elimination of violence against women, known as White Ribbon Day.

Men and women from across Cardiff, including members of Bawso, Welsh Women’s Aid and Women’s Voices Wales, marched from the city centre to Llandaff Cathedral yesterday, where candles were lit to honour female victims.

The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Dan De’Ath, spoke at the service. He said: “Together, we aspire to a society in which every woman and girl in our city has the right to live an empowered and positive life – a life free of violence and abuse.

 “We like to think that serious human rights abuses are something that happens in other parts of the world.

“But this is happening in our towns and cities. It is happening right under our noses, to women from all walks of life.”

The Lord Mayor added that it is vital to work with young men and boys in order to change a “toxic” male culture, urging men to stand up to one another whenever they witness misogyny.

The Lord Mayor of Cardiff and female survivors of abuse spoke at the service
Photo: Tracy Pallant

Among the demonstrators was Samsunear Ali, who works for Bawso to support victims of domestic abuse and other forms of violence, including forced marriage, FGM and human trafficking. 

Last year alone, the charity supported 6,745 ethnic minority people in Wales.

Ms Ali said: “A lot of people are aware of violence but sometimes turn a blind eye or don’t know what to do. They are unsure of how to seek help or even help somebody else that may be suffering.

“That’s why we want to publicise and mainstream the issue. It’s not just about individuals.

“On a policy level there is a lot being done, but the biggest gap is on the community level – how to stop perpetrators committing these acts, how to raise awareness and build resilience so that people don’t stand for violence and can break the cycle.”

The church service included included stories from survivors and a performance by the Oasis World Choir and band, which is made up of people from all over the world living in Cardiff.

Band member Tracy Pallant said: “It was a very memorable event.

“The band joined hands and then everyone in the audience – over 300 people, women and men, stood up, held hands and sang in support.”

Everyone at the service stood up to hold hands and sing together as the choir performed
Photo: Tracy Pallant

Globally, 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. This year in Wales, 10 women have lost their lives as a result.

Cardiff Council was first awarded White Ribbon City status in 2014, while the Welsh Government passed the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act in 2015.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, domestic abuse or sexual violence you can seek help and support from Bawso, on 0800 731 8147, or the Live Fear Free helpline, on 0808 80 10 800. Both are confidential and operate on a 24-hour basis.

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