Guest Blog: Meet Julie Watson, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Aid East and Midlothian
Women’s Aid East and Midlothian
Discover what this inspiring charity does, how they help women in East and Midlothian and how you can support them in their work.
What does Women’s Aid East and Midlothian do?
Women’s Aid East and Midlothian (WAEML) provides information, support and refuge accommodation to women (including transwomen), children and young people who have been subjected to domestic abuse. WAEML works with over 500 women and 200 young people every year and see year on year an increase in demand for our service.
What is the 16 Days of Activism campaign?
From 25th November to 10th December, WAEML will amplify its campaign efforts through participation in 16 Days of Activism.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is an annual global campaign. The campaign challenges the systems that perpetuate gender based violence and creates awareness about how to overcome it. (25th November marks the UN Day Opposing Violence against Women and 10th December marks Human Rights Day.)
How can people help to tackle violence against women and girls?
At WAEML we have welcomed some important cultural shifts over the last few years. Building on things like the #MeToo movement there appears a much greater willingness to acknowledge the severity of violence against women and girls and women’s inequality so it’s important to continue to ensure that we make space for action and find creative solutions. There isn’t one golden nugget that will eradicate violence against women and girls, it require an effort by everyone.
This year, we are asking everyone to think about something that they can do to help us tackle violence against women and girls. You can do something as simple as following and sharing our social media pages or our service number to help us get information out to as many women, children and young people about the specialist support that is available in their area. If you want to do something more pro-active you can donate as you earn, run a fundraising event for a specialist service such as Women’s Aid or Rape Crisis, become a volunteer or assist with campaign efforts. You might be in a position at work where you can introduce a policy or make a commitment for your team to consider staff training and awareness raising activity. You could even take an individual personal commitment like challenging gender stereotypes by having a conversation with family members and friends about what healthy relationships look like or challenging everyday sexism when you see it played out in jokes, media or music. There is so much you can do, even if it seems little it can have a big impact.
Take a pledge of action
As part of 2021 16 Days of Activism campaign, people are encouraged to take a pledge of action they can take to end gender-based violence. Examples could include:
- I pledge to increase my understanding of the issues around gender-based violence
- I pledge to discuss what else we can do to improve gender equality and tackle violence against women and girls in my organisation or community group
- I pledge to talk with my children to support them to have healthy and respectful relationships
- I pledge to raise money for local support services for survivors of domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault or honour based violence.
How do people get in touch with WAEML?
If you are interested in supporting WAEML specifically please get in touch and we’d be delighted to chat to you about the different ways you can support our work.
Visit our website: www.womensaideml.org
We are also share a wide range of information on our social media platforms – it’s a great way to keep in touch about our work.
If you or someone you know is being subjected to domestic abuse you can talk to someone in confidence, please call our support line 0131 561 5800 (Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm).
Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline open 24/7: 0800 027 1234