Supporters attending tonight's game against Newport County are invited to support local domestic abuse charity NIDAS by donating via one of their bucket collectors, who will be located around One Call Stadium this evening.
Nottinghamshire Independent Domestic Abuse Services – NIDAS – in partnership with Hopkins Solicitors and Mansfield Town Football Club are wearing our white ribbons and asking Stags' fans to do the same at the pre-Valentine's Day match against Newport County to pledge their support to urge men to speak out against violence against women.
Domestic violence and abuse is a very serious issue that can affect anyone regardless of sex, age, or gender and Valentine's Day is an occasion when people are thinking about their relationship, so this is a timely reminder that victims of domestic abuse don't have to suffer in silence and there is help and support on hand.
We are determined to send a clear message that there is no excuse at any time for domestic abuse. We would urge people to pledge their support to our campaign.
During 2017 there were approximately 14,000 reported incidents to Nottinghamshire Police and still many who don't seek professional support and live in fear.
We are asking the male fans of Mansfield Town to pledge to the following:
• Purchase your white ribbon with pride as a symbol of men's opposition to violence against women.
• Visit https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/pledge/ and sign the pledge
• Stand up against domestic abuse and make the world safer place
Nottinghamshire DV phone number: 0808 800 0340
NIDAS contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org/01623 683 250
Hopkins solicitor details: www.hopkins-solicitors.co.uk
Equation male victims: 01159 605 556
Broken Rainbow (LGBTQ): 0845 260 4460
Six positive things all men can do to make the world safer for women:
1. Be an active bystander. It's easy to brush it off when we hear sexist or abusive remarks. Instead, be an active bystander, calling out this language and behaviour when it happens, or afterwards to the perpetrator in private if that feels more effective. 'Can any man say with conviction that they've never said anything inappropriate to a woman?'
2. Listen. When women talk about abuse, the automatic reaction for many men is defensive. When people say, 'all men', it is a request to take responsibility. We all think of ourselves as good people, but can any man honestly say with conviction that they've never made a woman feel uncomfortable or said something inappropriate? That is not your call to make. Rather than immediately crying 'not all men', men need to listen; and keep listening.
3. Ask. Again, this is about breaking down the defensiveness men may feel when confronted with the harsh realities women face on a day-to-day basis. Taking responsibility as men is not about riding in to save the day. Ask women what you can do to help.
4. Teach. To have any hope of eradicating violence against women and girls, we need to understand why it happens. Growing up, we've been told that 'boys will be boys', and in a society that tells girls to protect themselves and not dress provocatively. Encouraging men to take responsibility means undoing this thought process, focusing on what we teach boys about what it means to be a man. As responsible parents, we need to teach boys to treat women with respect; not to tolerate sexism, or be abusive.
5. Exercise 'positive masculinity'. Ask a man what it means to be a man and they might give any number of positive, caring answers. But ask a woman 'what are men like?', and the response may be very different. This tells us a lot about the society we live in. Understanding toxic masculinity, 'lad culture' and how that has been ingrained in the psychology of men and boys since birth is an essential part of undoing that programming.
6. Treat women as equals, and encourage other men and boys to do the same. There was a popular article posted by Anne Victoria Clark on the online publishing platform, Medium last week, giving advice to men on how to act around female co-workers.
The writer suggests picturing your co-worker as Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. She writes: "Next time you meet Karen, a pretty friend of a friend looking to network, pretend Karen looks like Johnson. 'Wow! Karen looks pretty tough and strong and sweaty! She looks like a person who is working very hard to achieve her goals, having left behind a situation that clearly wasn't working, headed for bigger and better things. Maybe ask her about that? But definitely don't hit on her. It looks like she could kill you with the chair you're sitting on.'"
The article is, of course, very tongue-in-cheek. But it is making a serious point about sexual harassment in the workplace. A lot of men still subconsciously see women as second-class citizens, or worse, sexual objects to be conquered. This is hard to step back from but essential if we want this world to be safe for all of us.