Carmarthenshire County Council is once again showing its support for the White Ribbon campaign – which aims to end male violence against women.
White Ribbon Day takes place annually on November 25.
White Ribbons are available to buy at Council reception areas at County Hall; Building 2, St David’s Park; town halls in Ammanford and Llanelli; Ty Elwyn, Llanelli and Spilman Street from Monday, November 19. All donations made will go towards services for local victims and survivors.
This year the local authority has been awarded White Ribbon UK accredited status. Achieving the status shows an organisation’s commitment to The White Ribbon Campaign.
For the first time this year, the council has been working together with partners more to spread the word that you don’t have to suffer in silence, and there is help available. Partners include: Dyfed Powys Police; Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue service; Wales Ambulance Service; University of Wales Trinity Saint David; Hafan Cymru; Citizens Advice; Threshold Llanelli; Calan Domestic Violence Service (Calan DVS); Women Survivors Support Project; Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Service (CDAS); Carmarthenshire Federation of Women’s Institute and more.
This year residents in the county will be made aware of the campaign in a number of ways, including animation information videos which will be played on screens in locations such as leisure centres, libraries, hospitals and more; posters in licenced premises across the county as well as in leisure centres, sports clubs and within police and fire brigade stations as well as posting information and signposting to help available on the council’s social media pages.
Carmarthenshire County Council staff have been encouraged to wear white on Friday, November 23, in a bid to raise awareness of the White Ribbon Campaign.
A Candlelight Walk will take place in Carmarthen once again on Thursday, November 22. The silent procession by men and women coming together to end violence against women, will leave the Vue cinema in St Catherine’s Walk at 5.15pm. The event will end with refreshments, music and speeches at St Peter’s Civic Hall.
Cllr Cefin Campbell, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Community Safety, said: “As a council we have supported the White Ribbon campaign for a number of years, and are proud to have achieved White Ribbon UK accredited status this year. By working with partners our aim is to gain more awareness of the campaign and the help available county-wide.
“I am very proud of my role as a White Ribbon Ambassador for Carmarthenshire County Council and will do my upmost to raise more awareness of the campaign amongst my fellow councillors, council staff and residents in the county.”
Council staff have also been encouraged to sign the online pledge “never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.” You can do this by visiting www.whiteribbon.org.uk/pledge
An account from a survivor of domestic abuse who has received support from CDAS:
I was 29 when I met him. I’d just got divorced and I felt raw.
I didn’t stop him moving in and by the time he’d set foot through the door for good I really really wished I had but it was already too late.
I’d only just decorated my house but within a fortnight it was redecorated to his taste. Pictures were removed, furniture thrown and furnishings changed. It didn’t feel like my home anymore.
I had given him the control he wanted.
My family stopped calling and my friends disappeared whilst all the while he said he was the only person I needed.
I was stopped from using the internet, the telephone, writing letters or accessing a post box. We did everything together.
I was told what to eat, wear, watch on TV – everything. He took over my bank account and paid off all of his extensive debts.
We were together for 17 years and in that time I managed to convince myself that it was “normal”. Normal to feel self-hate, disgusting, for someone to be controlled totally.
So 17 years later I found my inner courage and the ability to say “No, No more am I doing this”.
I will honesty tell you I do not know how I managed to get away. Something inside me, somewhere, made it happen.
I found Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Services (CDAS). They saved me to be honest. I found their number and contacted them only to nearly persuade myself I was wasting their time!
I can honestly say that there are no words that can explain how I got into this situation and no realistic way of saying why you stay in a relationship like I was in. It’s complicated and complex and if you’ve never been in that situation you will never understand how you are tangled and tied up with so many emotional knots that it’s impossible to leave.
But it can happen to anyone – I mean anyone.
It’s been a long hard stressful journey but I’m getting there….slowly becoming more alive day by day. But I’m free. I’m me and I’m still here.
Although the White Ribbon Campaign aims to end male violence against women, domestic abuse affects both sexes and support is available to everyone.
Local support contact details:
Calan DVS Amman Valley – 01269 597474
Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Services – 01267 238 410
Threshold Domestic Abuse Services, Llanelli – 01554 752 422
National support contact details:
Live Fear Free – confidential 24-hour all Wales telephone helpline 0808 80 10 800