A MARCH through Galashiels on Friday, March 18, will be one of the highlights of a programme of events organised by the Scottish Borders Violence Against Women Partnership, writes Andrew Keddie.
The evening march is part of the region’s belated contribution to a global campaign to eliminate violence against women.
The programme had been due to take place between two key dates last year – November 25, which was International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and December 10, which was International Human Rights Day.
“The idea was to make the link between women’s human rights and their experience of violence,” explained partnership co-ordinator Andrea Beavon. “But due to the bad weather in December, we were forced to cancel the majority of the events, so we are re-scheduling the so-called ‘16 days of action programme’ to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8.
Ms Beavon said the purpose of the initiative was to raise awareness of violence against women in the Borders and to get feedback from local communities.
“We also want improved opportunities for women and children in the Borders to seek safety and support, and for people to find ways of influencing and affecting change for the better.”
There has been a year-on-year increase in the number of domestic incidents reported to the police, with more than 800 reported in the region in 2010/11. The vast majority of victims were women.
“Domestic abuse is the most often repeated and least reported of all crimes, and the impact on children and the wider family cannot be underestimated,” said Ms Beavon.
“We want Borders to get involved in our days of action programme so we, as a partnership, can engage with people and make a real difference.
“We want to gain a sense of how people feel and what suggestions they may have for taking action. Violence against women is a real issue in the Borders and there is a crucial need to raise awareness and give a clear message to our communities that violence in any form is unacceptable.”
The full programme is as follows:
Monday, March 7 – Neil Whiting of Scottish Women’s Aid delivers a lecture entitled Separate Spheres, focusing on the way perceptions of the different roles of men and women were forged by 18th century writers and thinkers. 6-8pm. Heart of Hawick Auditorium. Call 01450 360688 to reserve ticket. Free.
Tuesday, March 8 – Lecture on internet safety for parents employed by Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders. 12.30-1.30pm. Committee Room 2, SBC Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve place.
Tuesday, March 8 – The Big Blether, supported by the Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre; a free event to chat about issues important to women in the Borders and to listen to readings from Through Survivors’ Eyes. 7-9pm. Moondogs Cafe, Channel Street, Galashiels.
Friday, March 11 – The Vagina Monologues; benefit production of Eve Ensler’s play by The Tingling Wilmas. Suitable for age 16 plus. 7.30pm. Heat of Hawick Auditorium. £7.50. For tickets call 01450 360368.
Saturday, March 12 – YWCA exhibition entitled 104 Pairs of Shoes, referring to fact that two women in Britain are killed each week by their current or former partners. 10am-4pm. The Lounge, Corn Exchange, Melrose. Free.
Monday, March 14 – Film: Trade (cert 15); the story of 13-year-old Adriana who is taken from the streets of Mexico City to be sold for sex slavery in the UK. 6pm. Heart of Hawick. Tickets on 01450 360688. Free.
Tuesday, March 15 – Lunch and Learn lecture on internet safety for parents (see March 8 listing above).
Wednesday, March 16 – Lecture: “What Are You Looking at?” by Jenny Kemp of Zero Tolerance; a critical look at how the media glamorises and condones inequality and violence against women. 6-8pm. Heart of Hawick Auditorium. Tickets from 01450 360688.
Thursday, March 17 – Creating writing workshop, entitled “Using words to say who we are”; open to women using support services, staff members and volunteers. 10am-noon. Borders Women’s Aid, 10 Exchange Street, Jedburgh. To reserve place contact Bernie on 01835 863514.
Friday, March 18 – “Reclaim the Right” march through the centre of Galashiels for equality and against sexual violence; refreshments available after march with his supported by the Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre. 8-10pm. Meet at Galawater Retail Park, Galashiels. Call 01896 661070 for further details.
Sunday, March 20 – Eildon Tree reading group hosts open mic session with live music. 2.30-5pm. Beanscene, Heart of Hawick. Free. to book a reading lost in advance, contact email@example.com