Wales

Anti-violence campaign targets 'abusive' attitudes

  • 1 June 2010
  • From the section Wales
Still from One Step Too Far advert
Image caption The television advert shows two men in a bar making sexist remarks

A campaign across Wales to combat violence against women is challenging men to abandon any "demeaning" attitudes they hold.

A TV advert shows "abusive" behaviour towards a woman, including being leered at and enduring sexist comments.

Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant said while that could seem harmless to men, women can feel threatened.

Welsh Women's Aid said tackling "widespread social attitudes" was crucial.

The advert shows a gang of men in a van sounding their horn and gesturing at the woman in the street, a male office colleague ogling her, and two strangers in a bar making suggestive remarks as she passes.

The video ends with her being followed down a dark street by another man, with the headline One Step Too Far.

It then asks: "To you it's nothing, but it all adds up. Where does 'harmless' end and 'abusive' begin?"

The Welsh Assembly Government said the campaign aimed to "stamp out unacceptable attitudes and behaviour towards women before it leads to more violent forms of abuse".

It said it did this by highlighting "how seemingly innocent actions may be a step too far and lead to women feeling unsafe".

'Epidemic social problem'

Mr Sargeant said: "Whilst the odd comment or gesture may seem harmless enough, to the woman on the receiving end they can feel threatening and abusive.

"Any behaviour that intimidates a woman should not be tolerated. If the campaign makes people stop and think then it will have served its purpose."

Image caption Campaigners say social attitudes towards woman must be challenged

Paula Hardy, chief executive of Welsh Women's Aid, said the campaign linked "everyday behaviours which demean women (and the attitudes underlying these behaviours) with the epidemic social problem of violence against women.

"The link is essentially gender inequality - which the assembly government now recognises as both a cause and a consequence of violence against women."

Adele Baumgardt, Wales commissioner for the Women's National Commission, said: "Gender discrimination affects women in Wales daily and can leave them feeling intimidated and even frightened.

"We need to change how men perceive women, challenge inappropriate attitudes and show men how damaging these can be. I hope that this campaign will give victims the confidence to come forward and ask for help."

Welsh Women's Aid manages the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline, a free bilingual service available 24 hours a day on 0808 80 10 800.

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