Rape victim Rebecca, 21, urges fellow Dundee women to fight back against domestic abuse

Domestic abuse survivors and campaigners in Dundee have urged women and girls suffering violence or abuse at the hands of partners to get behind a global call to action.

Next month marks the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a yearly campaign shining a spotlight on violence against females.

The Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership is supporting the initiative with a series of events highlighting different forms of abuse and discussions over preventative steps.

The events run every year from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10 which is Human Rights Day.

A spokeswoman for the partnership said: “Our aim is to prevent domestic abuse and sexual violence from taking place and ensure that women feel safe both at home and within the wider community.

“Every year the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership delivers a number of awareness-raising events as part of this campaign.”

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith, 21, was the victim of a violent sexual attack when she was raped by a boy she had befriended.

Earlier this year she took the brave decision to speak out publicly about what happened to her in a bid to encourage other women to do the same.

Rebecca, from Lochee, threw her support behind the campaign, saying it was important women knew what help was on offer.

“I found it very hard to find the courage to speak out,” said Rebecca.

“I also found it hard to ask for help. But help is there and women shouldn’t be afraid to take it.

“The events planned by the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership are a marvellous opportunity for other women to go along to find out what help is available.”

Last week Ash Mullen created the Facebook group Let’s Talk Tayside, encouraging people to talk about issues that had a major impact on their lives.

She said the page had been inundated with stories from women who had been violently and sexually abused.

She said: “We have had more than 3,000 people join our group in just a week.

“This shows that women, and in some cases men, are needing somewhere to go to talk about their concerns.

“The days of activism are also a great opportunity to do this.”

The campaign will kick off in Dundee on November 27, with a lunch at Dundee International Women’s Centre in Dundonald Street. Guests will enjoy a vegetable curry before watching a short film and discussing issues related to gender-based violence.

Marlyn Glen

On November 29 at Dundee City Council’s committee room, activist and women’s rights campaigner Marlyn Glen will lead a discussion on prostitution from a feminist perspective, and the steps government could take to end prostitution and protect women.

Ash Mullen of Lets Talk Tayside
Last years Reclaim the Night march

Events will continue with the Reclaim the Night march organised by Dundee Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre on December 1.

An event is also aimed at educating people about workplace abuse. The spokeswoman said: “This will remind us of the harassment, bullying, intimidation and dangers women experience in work environments.”

A domestic abuse trauma seminar will also be held.

Visit Dundee Community Safety Partnership’s Facebook page for further details.

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