Shetland Rape Crisis is preparing for a big change during its annual 16 Days of Activism Campaign, beginning on Thursday 25th November and running up until Tuesday 10th December.
To open the campaign and as part of their work towards becoming a more inclusive and accessible service, Shetland Rape Crisis will officially open The Compass Centre, it’s Lerwick-base for working with survivors of sexual violence, launching the new name, website, and related resources.
Lisa Ward, Service Manager at the Compass Centre explained: “We chose The Compass Centre as the name for our centre and the work we do with survivors because the compass is symbolic of journey and direction and the work we do helps survivors to navigate their own way forward after trauma.”
A private ribbon-cutting ceremony will be led by Maggie Sandison, Chief Executive of Shetland Islands Council.
Ward added: “This year for the 16 days we are exploring the theme of women in leadership and so we invited Maggie to join us both as a friend and ally of the service and as an inspiring local woman leader.”
During the opening ceremony the council leader will spend some time with SRC’s youth activism volunteers, BEE (Bold, Equal, Empowered), discussing their aspirations for a future free from sexual violence.
Another of the main event featured for year’s 16 days campaign is a collaboration between Shetland Rape Crisis, Shetland Arts and Shetland Women’s Aid to present ‘Fragmented;' a one act play performed by Islesburgh Drama Group and written, directed and produced by Stephanie Pagulayan.
Exploring the impact and trauma of childhood sexual abuse in adult life, the play shows how an adult survivor, ‘Evelyn’, copes with her conflicting inner identity and outer persona as she comes to terms with what happened to her as a child. The live performance at the Garrison Theatre is followed by a Q&A with local support organisations.
As well as the annual light up of local buildings in orange, to shine a light on violence against women and as a beacon of hope for survivors, The Pride flag will be flying over Lerwick Town Hall on some days during the campaign and The Compass Centre will be launching a survey to gather the views and experiences of LGBTI+ people as part of their work towards achieving the LGBT Youth Chartermark.
Access and Inclusion Worker Emilie Smith said: “We believe it’s important that LGBTI+ survivors don’t feel silenced about what’s happened to them or what support they need, as well as seeing their identities, experiences and issues reflected in information about sexual violence.”
Other activities taking place during the campaign include public displays celebrating women in leadership and exploring the theme of sex education, which can be seen at Market House and Clickimin Leisure Centre, and an online social media campaign including a takeover event by local youth activists.
Ward added: “This campaign is a massive team effort by our staff and volunteers, and demonstrates their commitment and dedication to raising awareness to eradicate gender inequality and gender-based violence.”
Shetland Rape Crisis has published its annual report outlining our charitable activities for 2020/21.
You can download and read this below:
We are holding a virtual AGM at 7pm on Wednesday 10th November 2021.
Volunteers with BEE (Bold, Equal & Empowered), Shetland Rape Crisis’ young activists’ group, are inviting folk to join them in a socially-distanced walk and social media takeover under the hashtag #WisToo on Saturday 5th December at Clickimin Loch between 10am-1pm, as part of the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
The 16 Days are an international campaign that runs from 25 Nov, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 Dec, Human Rights Day. It also includes International Men’s Day (19 Nov), Trans Day of Remembrance, and World Children’s Day (both 20 Nov).
The group, supported by Shetland Rape Crisis, has organised an outdoor exhibition highlighting facts relating to the 16 days and gender-based violence, and this exhibition will be on display at the walk route from this week until 10th December. The exhibition boards were designed and printed by sponsors Lou Jackson Design and Artmachine.
BEE volunteer Ellie Ratter said the group picked the hashtag #WisToo in solidarity with the survivors who shared their stories as part of fellow BEE member Rhea Isbister’s project earlier this year. They picked Saturday 5th December because this is International Volunteer’s Day.
Ellie said: “I want to draw attention to gender-based violence because I believe it’s not discussed enough. This creates stigma and makes it harder for survivors of GBV to be able to talk about it or report it.”
Gender-based violence refers to acts that are perpetrated against a person’s will and that are rooted in rigid gender norms and gender inequality. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual in nature. It includes threat and coercion, and can also take the form of a denial of resources or access to services. It inflicts harm on people of all genders and hurts human development.
In addition, the group has had #WisToo facemasks printed and are asking people to take selfies with these on and post them with the hashtags #WisToo #16Days and #ShetlandRapeCrisis on 5th December. Masks can be picked up from Mareel from 18th Nov or on the walk day at Clickimin Broch.
For those unable to wear facemasks, they have also released a digital image which you can hold over the bottom half of your face using your phone and have someone else take your photo for sharing.
Download your digital mask here:
The imagery of the masks and the selfies is symbolic of how survivors of GBV are quite often silenced or their voices not heard, but also that these experiences are common and there is great power in many people standing together in solidarity against discrimination.
Ellie added: “I hope people will learn more about GBV, along with facts about the 16 days, in order to encourage more discussion and reduce the stigma around it.”
The campaign is also inspired by the work done by both Mae Jamieson and Shetland Staands Wi Black Lives Matter. Mae has now also joined BEE to help advise on the event.
As with the BLM walk, the volunteers will be situated at the Bus Stop area near Clickimin Broch from 10am-1pm on Saturday 5th December where masks and hand sanitizer will be provided.
Homemade signs, dogs, and discussion are welcome, but the group wants to emphasise that people must make sure to follow the most up-to-date covid-19 guidance and not meet in groups larger than is advised nor with more households than is advised.
Should covid-19 or weather prevent the walk from taking place, the social media takeover will still go ahead.
Lavinia Schmidt, Activism & Prevention Worker at Shetland Rape Crisis, said: “The members of BEE are a dynamic group of young people and we have been hard at work planning this event for a number of months now. We would like to say a huge thank you to the young volunteers and also our incredible sponsors Lou Jackson Design and Artmachine for making this all possible. It would be fantastic to see a lot of people taking part and standing up to gender-based violence in Shetland.”
In addition, as they do every year, the charity will be running a number of other awareness raising events throughout the 16 Days. These include: lighting up the Town Hall and Mareel orange, a window display at Market House, and taking part in a wider social media campaign across the Highlands and Islands called #ChangeHerStory.
#ChangeHerStory is a campaign across the Highlands and Islands where a number of organisations have joined forces to share stories and resources about gender-based violence and how it affects rural communities in Scotland.
If you have been affected by any of the issues highlighted by this campaign, there is help available.
- Shetland Rape Crisis: 01595 747 174 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline: 08088 01 03 02 (6pm-midnight)
- Shetland Women’s Aid: 01595 692070
- Trauma Counselling Line Scotland: 08088 02 04 06 / email@example.com
We would like to extend our thanks to Foundation Scotland who recently funded Shetland Rape Crisis to the tune of £4,155. This allowed us to purchase laptops for our Board Members and 2 new laptops for staff, meaning we can more effectively continue to work remotely throughout the pandemic, providing support, information and advocacy to survivors of sexual violence in Shetland.