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16 Days: Gender-based violence campaign closes in Dundee with support at ‘highest ever’ level

People at the vigil shine their phone lights as the names of the women were read out.
People at the vigil shine their phone lights as the names of the women were read out.

Activism against gender-based violence is at the highest level it has ever been in Dundee, according to campaigners.

Sixteen days of activism on the issue came to an end on Friday evening with a city-wide vigil.

Ann Hamilton, chair of Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership, says the action is having a positive impact in helping to address male violence – with support at its highest point to date.

She said: “The 16 Days campaign helps to shed light on what has for too long been something that has gone on in the shadows.

Ann Hamilton.

“The increasing awareness levels continues to help build up pressure, not only on the men who commit these acts, but also empowers other men to call it out.

“Bringing the full glare of scrutiny to bear on perpetrators, systems and physical spaces which enable male violence against women and children is making a difference.”

The vigil took place at various locations in Dundee at 6.30pm on Friday.

A vigil and dance event took place outside the V&A on Friday. Pic Alan Richardson

Sites including the V&A, Police Scotland’s office on Bell Street and St Mary’s Tower at the City Churches were lit up in orange, purple and green to mark the occasion.

Residents are also being encouraged to light up their homes with candles, torches and fairy lights.

Meanwhile, more than 80 people signed up for a dance event on Friday evening, which aims to showcase the energy and excitement of campaigning, with participation from city secondary schools.

Oor Fierce Girls, a group campaign launched to teach women about abuse and toxic relationships, set the scene outside the V&A.

The event rounded off 16 days of action. Pic Alan Richardson

The 16 Days campaign started when about 500 people marched through the city centre in a Reclaim the Night March, organised by Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (WRASAC) in Dundee and Angus.

The march was followed by an event hosted by Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) aimed at tackling gender-based violence in the city.

This year’s activism follows the death of Sarah Everard, who was abducted, raped and murdered by serving police officer Wayne Couzens in March.

Sarah’s murder sparked a movement across the UK as women protested against male violence.

Ashley Handeron from Oor Fierce Girls talks at the vigil. Pic Alan Richardson

In recent months, activists in Dundee have taken action after a spate of incidents where women have reported being spiked by injection at night time venues and on the streets of the city.

Other events have included a feminist song writing workshop, talks on mental health and gender-based violence, creative art and outdoor art.

As well as a programme of activities for the public, a series of activities for professionals working in the field has also taken place, including workshops and a summit.

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