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‘All men have a part to play’: Arbroath minister leads local campaign to end violence against women

The Rev. Dr Martin Fair has organised a White Ribbon campaign event at Gayfield Park in Arbroath.
The Rev. Dr Martin Fair has organised a White Ribbon campaign event at Gayfield Park in Arbroath.

A former Kirk Moderator is leading a campaign to get Angus men to ask searching questions of themselves around what more they can do to end violence against women.

Arbroath minister Martin Fair has been rocked by what he says is the “horrendous” scale of the problem.

And he wants to bring men together to encourage them to call out violent behaviour and not turn a blind eye.

The Rt Rev. Dr Fair has been minister of Arbroath St Andrews for 30 years and was the Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly in 2020/21. 

Rt Rev. Dr Martin Fair
The Rt Rev. Dr Martin Fair was Kirk Moderator in 2020/21.

Gayfield Park gathering

On Sunday, he will lead an event at Arbroath FC’s Gayfield Park aimed at getting across the message that all men have a part to play in tackling the issue.

“We continually hear about incidences of violence against women and they are horrendous,” he said.

“What I want this to be is an evening exclusively for men to consider the issue of violence against women.

“Who’s problem is it? What can be done? Have I got a part to play?

“These are questions which all men should be asking themselves.

“What I find in talking about the issue and promoting the White Ribbon campaign to end violence by men against women and girls is that many men are saying they wouldn’t do it, as if that’s all the matters.

“Because they wouldn’t do it, they don’t feel they have to engage with this issue.

“But it is happening, so I want all men to consider that they have a part to play.

“Will they turn a blind eye – or speak up when they should?”

‘Whataboutery’

And he says he continues to be faced by “whataboutery” from some quarters.

“There’s a bunch of people who still want to point out that there is violence against men,” says Martin.

“My response is that I know that, and it is also unacceptable.

“But the far more serious issue is violence against women.

“In way over 80% of cases the victim is a woman and the perpetrator is a man.”

The What’s A Man to Do event takes place on Sunday evening and is being supported by Angus Violence Against Women Partnership and Arbroath FC Community Trust.

Local Police Scotland officers will deliver input on their shocking frontline experience of the problem.

“Maybe Scottish men aren’t particularly well known for being able to speak about difficult stuff,” says Martin.

“I wanted to try to do something. I’m putting on a curry and we can sit down and just talk about this serious issue.

“And maybe through this we can begin to look at the wider picture and the part all men can play.

“Violence against women isn’t just a problem in the big cities – it is happening in our own towns and villages as well.

“And it isn’t about raising a vigilante squad against those who are violent to women.

“It’s about acknowledging the issue and, through honest and open chat, recognising the part all men can play.”

The event takes place at Gayfield Park on Sunday at 7.30pm. It is free but for catering planning places can be booked online here.

Courier columnist Kirsty Strickland recognised for work highlighting violence against women

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