Gender violence campaign launched by Welsh government

What can be done to stop the worrying trend of rape and sexual offences, which have increased by 257% in Wales?

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The #thisisme campaign rejects gender stereotypes in a climate of increasing gender violence in Wales.

The Welsh government has launched the online #thisisme social media campaign to challenge gender stereotypes and raise awareness of domestic violence in Wales.

The campaign was created in partnership with a number of organisations advocating for an end to gender based violence including Welsh Women’s Aid and the Survivors Trust. Social media users are asked to show their support using the hashtag #thisisme.

“Our survivors group, the Survivors Empowering and Educating Service helped the Welsh government come up with ideas for the campaign which we hope will highlight the connection between gender inequality and domestic violence,” said Gwendolyn Sterk, public affairs manager at Welsh Women’s Aid.

The campaign has already received traction on Twitter.

Whilst statistics on domestic violence are difficult to estimate, the campaign was launched in the wake of a report from South Wales police which revealed a 257% rise in rape and serious sexual offences. Numbers have risen from 727 from 2011-12 to a projected 2,593 in 2017-18.

But there is plenty you can do if you suspect that a friend is in an abusive relationship. “Whilst victims of abuse have unique experiences it is important for them to regain control of their life. So it’s important to help your friend by doing things with them, not for them,” says Gwendolyn.

What can you do to help a friend in need

As well as raising awareness of gender violence and abuse, #thisisme promotes the rejection of outdated gender stereotypes. These stereotypes confine men and women to specific jobs based solely on their gender.

Women should not be solely restricted to “caring” careers according to #thisisme. Image reproduced with CC licence.

Angharad Llewelyn, 25, is an education professional in Wales. She is a big fan of the campaign. “I think that the campaign is very forward thinking as it looks at the issues surrounding gender from the perspective of both sexes,” she said.

Llewelyn added, “I think it will speak to and help a lot of young people at the moment dealing with gender constraints especially kids growing up in rural parts of Wales which can be regarded as a much more ‘traditional’ area to grow up in.”

#thisisme highlights that gender stereotypes are present for men as well as women. Image reproduced with CC licence.

To join the campaign, download the #thisisme selfie board and share your picture on twitter using #thisisme. You can also join the conversation on Facebook.