Changing the story to stop male violence against women and girls

01 Dec 2023

I am a father to three young boys (11, 8 and 5 years old). Like any parent, our children's future development and happiness becomes an integral part of our lives. I’ve always tried to guide them on making good choices from an early age.  One of these is their role in society and the way they should be treating women and girls.. 

At the heart of this, be it at school, at home or out in the community, is the respect they show to anyone they meet. For them to set an example - no matter how young or old they are and no matter with whom they engage.

For the past two years, Sutton Council has held events to recognise White Ribbon Day. This year’s White Ribbon Campaign’s 16 days of action  started on 25th November with White Ribbon Day and ends on 10th December on Human Rights Day.

It’s been a privilege and so important for me to lead by example and to have my three sons present and contributing to these events with speeches of their own, so they can be involved and see the power of good decision-making first hand. When it’s been possible, I’ve brought them along to the White Ribbon events which Sutton Council has organised and supported. I’ve spoken at these events and have vowed publicly that it is my duty to raise my sons to not standby and say nothing when they see any bad behaviour.

I want them to realise first hand the effects that violence against women has on us all and how increasingly & throughout their lives, they will need to be part of the solution.

It’s a very hard topic to talk about with them, but it’s something I feel passionate about and make sure that we speak openly about as a family.

Last Friday, we went to the White Ribbon event in Shinner and Sudtone. It was a very moving experience. The drama presentation from ‘Heavy Pencil Training’ was amazing. Please search for it online. The theme this year is to ‘Change the Story’ and it was great to see so many people who want to do just this. I said how honoured I felt to be invited to speak at the event and how I wanted to stand shoulder to shoulder with all of the women against VAWG..

Later that afternoon, I spent time on Sutton High Street where LBS were hosting their White Ribbon event. We also had a stall outside Trinity Square, where male representatives from the Council, Police and Fire brigade were there showing their support for the White Ribbon campaign.  

By speaking out about this issue, men are saying to other men, enough is enough! 
Sutton Council has support for anyone who is experiencing this kind of abuse and our campaign Not Alone in Sutton contains some useful guidance and resources where help can be found. 

My sons and I pledge that we will continue to show respect and to never use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women and girls.

Deputy Leader of the Council; Chair: Housing, Economy and Business Committee

Councillor David Bartolucci

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