On Saturday 10th December, Queen of the South visited Dens Park, but the club and Society also welcomed White Ribbon Scotland as part of our Community Initiatives.
White Ribbon Scotland is a campaign to involve men in tackling violence against women and are part of the international White Ribbon Campaign, which is the largest network in the world for men working to end violence against women, with campaigns in over 55 countries. The campaign in Scotland was launched in 2006 following a conference at which there was overwhelming support for men in Scotland joining women’s organisations in campaigning to end violence against women.
Society volunteer Grant Cook caught up with Tracey Hutcheon, Development worker for The Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership, to see how the day had gone for them. “It was very enjoyable; the majority of the supporters were supportive of the White Ribbon Campaign. We had a lot of males sign up to the White Ribbon Pledge and we handed out white ribbons and information leaflets.
“We believe that, by coming to football matches and other male dominated sports, we are engaging with a wide variety of people. We know that the majority of men do not perpetrate acts of violence against women but it's about getting them on board to give the message to perpetrators that their behaviour is unacceptable. With the players and managers wearing the white ribbons they are giving a clear message to the supporters that Dundee FC believe that violence against women is wrong and it is also giving a great message to the younger supporters as they look up to the players.
“Raising awareness of violence against women is very important as statistics show that 1 in 4 women will experience some form of violence in their lifetime. Women on average will be abused 35 times before reporting the abuse. A huge amount of women, children and young people are affected. The campaign is about involving non abusing men to give the message to perpetrators that violence against women is wrong. We hope that by the players and manager pledging never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women, supporters, both young and old, will also have the courage to take the pledge and speak out about violence against women.”
While White Ribbon were presented with a signed Dundee FC shirt and ball at half time during the game, in this instance the presentation was purely symbolic, as they had already received their merchandise in September this year, as they were holding a Golf Day and both Society and White Ribbon felt that, in order to maximise the potential of this merchandise, the Golf Day would be the perfect time to raffle the items. This decision was justified when the raffle raised a tidy sum. Tracey, pictured above with husband Stephen, said “We raffled the Top and Ball at our recent White Ribbon Golf Day, and raised just under £700, which we divided equally between the local Violence Against Women groups – Dundee Women's Aid, Dundee Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre and Barnardo's. Dundee Women's Aid used their donation to help fund their children’s Christmas Party."
When asked if this was a relationship that White Ribbon would be keen to continue, Tracey was quick to point out that the relationship between Dundee FC and White Ribbon was nothing new, "The Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership have worked with Dundee FC for some time now, I approached them about 3 or 4 years ago, to ask if they would be interested in helping the partnership raise awareness of violence against women. The partnership between the club and ourselves has worked well and has grown each year. I am looking forward to next year. I would hope that we could keep this partnership going, and possibly expand it to involve Dundee FC in other events that we will be holding in 2012.
"This year we have raised awareness of violence against women across the whole of Dundee. We displayed books and leaflets in local libraries, held a male only event looking at trafficking and had a table top training event. We have also held violence against women awareness sessions in 8 of the 9 High Schools in Dundee for all 3rd year pupils. Today is the last day of the event so hopefully we will see a good game, with a good result to finish off the day.”
“I would like to thank all the players and manager at the club for their continued support, with special thanks to Jacqui and all the other helpers for looking after us on the day.”
The Society were honoured to have the White Ribbon Scotland team at Dens, and applaud their fine efforts in raising awareness for this very important issue. We would also like to wish Tracey and all involved in the White Ribbon Partnership continued success in the future, for what is a very worthy cause.
Community Director Jacqui Robertson added “With the festive period fast approaching most of us have nothing more to worry about than getting our Christmas shopping done and fitting everything in. Behind closed doors, however, many are not so lucky and it is a well known fact that domestic abuse in Scotland escalates at this time of the year, so what better time for us to show our support of this campaign?
“I helped out at the information stand to get as many ribbons out for the fans to wear as possible and hopefully to make people think about what the campaign stands for. For the most part our fans were very supportive and interested to know what Tracey and the campaign were about. There are some people out there who would find such active campaigning difficult to approach but it is a sensitive subject and if we managed to touch people's thoughts even a little then it is a step in the right direction. I want to say thank you to Tracey for all of her hard work for White Ribbon and to our wonderful manager, players and fans who donned the white ribbon with pride.”