In the lead-up to Friday 25 November – International White Ribbon Day – there has been, and will be, a hive of activity to help raise awareness; here are some highlights of what is to come in Norwich.
Creating a big white ribbon
Working together with an impressive range of organisations, groups and individuals, Norwich City Council and the Norfolk Federation of Women’s Institutes (WI) have been creating a big white ribbon to be unveiled on Friday 25 November at the Forum.
Scores of individual white ribbons, each with positive messages about relationships, are being made to add to a 10 foot totem structure, which will be striking when finished.
After making its debut at the Forum, the ribbon will be taken on a tour of the county.
Friday 18 November – ‘Sew’ your support
There’s one last opportunity for individuals to make their own white ribbon to add to the giant totem on Friday 18 November from midday until 4pm at the WI office, 45 All Saints Green, Norwich, NR1 3LY.
Book a slot by calling the WI office on 01603 624 580.
Monday 21 November until Wednesday 30 November – help fund lifeline services
From Monday 21 November, white ribbons will be available from the reception desk of City Hall for a donation. All funds raised will go to local refuges, which provide invaluable support and a haven for people experiencing abuse.
Wednesday 23 November until Wednesday 30 November – Flying the flag
City Hall will be flying the white ribbon flag and bear a white ribbon on its front.
Friday 25 November – Big white ribbon launch event and candlelit vigil at the Forum
The big white ribbon will be available all day.
• From 3pm – an event to showcase organisations who work to support victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse and violence in Norfolk.
• 5pm – speeches
• 5:30-6:30pm candlelit vigil outside the Forum.
There will also be stencilled messages on pavements about the city to help raise awareness of how big the issue is and the support available.
Councillor Vaughan Thomas, cabinet member for fairness and equality said: “For the majority of us, the thought of hurting those we love, either physically or emotionally, is unthinkable. The very sad truth, however, is that domestic abuse is a real issue. It can affect anyone, whatever their background is, whatever their ethnicity or gender, whatever age.
We feel that by keeping the conversation going, we can help break down the stigma surrounding abuse and get the messages out that there is support for those who are abused and , to abusers, that it is ‘not acceptable in any form.’”
What the white ribbon means locally
Wearing a white ribbon is a demonstration of a person’s pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. Locally, Norwich City Council along with partners who make up the Norfolk County Community Safety Partnership, have adopted the white ribbon as symbol of commitment against all domestic abuse, not matter what form it takes – whether verbal, physical or sexual – or the gender of the person who carries it out or experiences abuse.
Norwich was awarded the White Ribbon Towns Award in 2015 in recognition of the tailored support provided to people who experience abuse.
To find out about other activities in Norfolk around the issue of domestic abuse, including where you can go for advice or support, visit www.iwalkedaway.co.uk