Today is White Ribbon Day 2020 in the UK. For those of you that don’t already know, White Ribbon is a charity that encourages people to stand up, speak out and say no to violence against women.
For the team here at Ring Stones, this isn’t just something we support once a year. Many people within The Calico Group have lived experience of domestic abuse and talk honestly about how this has influenced their own views. We actively hold space for this and welcome our colleagues who open up important discussions around the topic.
Recently, I became a White Ribbon ambassador; this is something that I’m sincerely proud of, joining several other long-term ambassadors within the Group. This ethos and support is engrained internally throughout the Group as a whole too. Along with gaining a DAHA-accreditation last year, there is paid leave on offer for those living with domestic abuse, bespoke training for all staff and confidential support is always on hand.
We firmly believe that domestic abuse is not just a ‘women’s issue’ either – we should ALL be proactive in challenging negative behaviours and attitudes in a positive way. This applies in our own personal lives and within the workplace; even more so in a primarily male-dominated industry such as construction.
Many stereotypes are rooted in societal structures, beliefs and traditions. This can lead to unacceptable behaviours such as coercive control, sexual abuse, so-called honour killings, forced marriages and more.
Additionally, we know that domestic abuse doesn’t discriminate. It could be happening to a colleague, a friend or member of your family. In contrast, someone you know or work with could be abusing their partner or family member behind closed doors.
This is why we work closely with our colleagues at SafeNet Domestic Abuse and Support Services. Their professional insight helps us to shape and deliver domestic abuse training sessions, alongside our frequent toolbox talks. This encourages our team to recognise signs of abuse in the workplace (and beyond) and learn how to support appropriately.
Every White Ribbon Day, the team at Ring Stones sign the White Ribbon pledge to uphold the promise throughout the year. Last year, we spent the afternoon making individual promises to stand up against domestic abuse and listened to emotive real-life stories from our peers as part of the 16 Days of Action and White Ribbon UK 2019 campaigns.
Back in March, we also attended SafeNet’s ‘Men Speak Out’ conference to learn about the various, complex issues involved, listened to others share their experience and expertise and learnt more about why we should all take personal responsibility to raise more awareness about this vital topic.
Although we face barriers this year due to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, we are making sure that discussions are still taking place on site and in offices (where applicable) to help us find new ways to stand up and say no to male violence and the important role that men have in helping to reduce and eliminate it.
James Macaree, Managing Director at Ring Stones
This year, White Ribbon has created a free lockdown toolkit to provide practical suggestions and show where to get help for men who are worried about their behaviour during lockdown, and men who are concerned about the behaviour of their friends and colleagues: https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/news/2020/11/7/men-ending-violence-a-lockdown-toolkit
White Ribbon UK is urging people – especially men – to make the promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women. Find out more here: https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/promise
16 Days of Action is a national campaign aimed at businesses to aid their employees tackle domestic abuse and spans from 25 November to 10 December. Find out more here: https://16daysofaction.co.uk/