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White Ribbon Campaign at Astbury Mere

Congleton Town Council’s White Ribbon Group had a stall at Astbury Mere recently, encouraging walkers and leisure-seekers to chat about the White Ribbon Campaign and make their White Ribbon Promise.

The White Ribbon Campaign engages men specifically to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that lead to men’s violence against women.

Congleton Town Council is a White Ribbon Accredited organisation. Its White Ribbon Ambassadors ask people to make the promise “never to commit, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women or any gender-based violence and abuse”.

Ambassador Cllr Mark Edwardson manned the stall, chatting to people as they passed. He observed “We spoke to some people who had personal experience of violence and abuse, and were very happy to see us there. One even volunteered to help out. Most of those we spoke to agreed to make their promise, which was great.”

White Ribbon Ambassadors encourage men and boys to challenge harassment, cat-calling and other behaviours that normalise sexism and the belittlement of women. The Congleton White Ribbon aim is to ‘eradicate men’s violence against women and all gender-based violence and abuse’.

Ambassador Stuart Neild also helped. He said “The Mere is a lovely spot because it is away from the busy town, but that means it can be isolated and there is no CCTV here. We have heard that women have occasionally felt unsafe due to poor behaviours, so felt it would be a good idea to have our stall here for the day and show that harassment and abuse will not be tolerated anywhere in Congleton.”

Congleton has an instance of domestic abuse reported to the Police every day, on average, and of sexual violence weekly, but arrest rates in the town are going up, in part due to the White Ribbon campaign.

Supt Claire Jesson, Cheshire Police’s Force Lead for the Safer Streets programme recently told the Community Committee of the Town Council that the White Ribbon campaign was a wonderful way to send a clear message that violence against women and related behaviours will not be tolerated.

The White Ribbon Group consists of Town Councillors, Council officers, and volunteers from the community who are White Ribbon Ambassadors.

The Group delivers workshops with local high schools and is happy to give talks at sports clubs, businesses or any other organisation that is interested.

Individuals can make their promise at any time online at www.whiteribbon.org.uk. If any charity, club or business is interested in becoming a White Ribbon organisation, please contact the team via info@congleton-tc.gov.uk and a member of the White Ribbon Group will get in touch.