Powerful speeches were heard at a meeting of Milton Keynes Council on Wednesday night, as councillors united to pass a motion in support of the White Ribbon Campaign, which works to end male violence against women.
The motion passed unanimously, which means the Council will work to raise awareness on violence, harassment and abuse towards women and girls, while also working to make Milton Keynes a White Ribbon City.
Several powerful speeches were made on the night, detailing personal experiences in support for the motion.
Andy Carr, a local Liberal Democrat campaigner, was among those speaking: “I want to raise a very important message of teaching our sons and grandsons that violence in any context, whether it’s the playground, the street, or within our most sacred of relationships, is not acceptable.”
He continued: “I feel too little is done to raise the issues with our young people, especially young men…this motion speaks of men, but every man is a child first and this is where the influence begins.”
Councillors also heard from MK Act, a domestic abuse charity that has worked with local people for over 45 years.
Speaking on Wednesday night, MK Act’s CEO Sue Burke said: “All of us here tonight will know a woman, who is a family member, a friend, a colleague, a neighbour, who has experienced violence and we need to be holding perpetrators of violence to account.
“Male violence leaves lives in tatters, but there is hope. The women we work with are strong and inspirational and go on to achieve great things. We mark White Ribbon every year to renew our commitment to not commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women and girls. Be the change.”
The motion was moved by Councillor Emily Darlington, Labour Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities, and it was seconded by Liberal Democrat Councillor Jane Carr, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Reducing Inequalities.
Councillors Darlington and Carr commented: “For every woman that is assaulted by a man, many more will follow. Milton Keynes has the highest level of domestic abuse across the Thames Valley area, and it the impact it has on women and their families is devastating.
“This motion makes it clear that not every man is part of the problem, but every man is part of the solution. Something needs to change, and it starts with us recognising that more needs to be done. We are committed to making Milton Keynes a White Ribbon City, and will work to make our city a safe place for women and all.”