Challenging prejudice, rejecting hate

This year, Ayrshire College is publishing a series of blog posts to mark the ’16 Days of Action’ – an international call of action to end violence against women and girls.

Guest blog from Rebecca Jones of Glasgow Women’s Library for #16daysAyrshire.

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Hi! My name is Rebecca and I work for Glasgow Women’s Library, a vibrant information hub, lending library, archive and museum dedicated to recording and celebrating the lives, hidden histories and achievements of girls and women.

From 25th November – 10th December every year, we mark the 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence campaign. This year, I want to tell you a little bit about the work I do, and how you can get involved with Glasgow Women’s Library.

Since March this year, I have been supporting the ‘In Her Shoes’ project, which is giving girls and women from a diverse range of backgrounds spaces and opportunities to talk about their experiences of crime and hostility targeted at their gender identity, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion and/or disability.

We have hosted a programme of workshops with girls and women experiencing hate crime and prejudice, to help them to begin a journey. This journey starts with sharing and discussing experiences, empowering ourselves and each other, and talking about how we can all challenge prejudice together in a positive and safe way.

We have discussed what can prevent girls and women from reporting hate speech and hate crime to the authorities, and why it is important that we do report it when we witness it or experience it for ourselves. Participants have told us that targeted hostility and hate speech can happen in private, on public transport, in public buildings and on college and university campuses, and they have been sharing their thoughts on how to be effective allies by intervening safely, and not being content to be bystanders when we witness prejudice targeted at others.

We have used methods which have a long history in feminist group-work and consciousness-raising. By speaking about prejudice, discrimination and inequality, girls and women can construct a view of themselves that is true, and not a view that is determined by others in society and simply applied to them.

We have explored some theories from the violence against women movement that reject the term ‘victim’ as devaluing a woman’s ability to survive prejudice, discrimination and abuse, defining her (regardless of her own self-image) as passive and helpless. Many of the women we have worked with choose to use the word ‘survivor’, because it recognises their strength and their agency.

The GWL archive and lending library has a unique collection of books and materials about the 16 Days campaign, campaigns to end violence against women and feminist activism and consciousness raising. We are located in Bridgeton in the east end of Glasgow, so pop by and see us to find out more!

If you would like to know more about the work that we do around challenging targeted prejudice, send me an email at rebecca.jones@womenslibrary.org.uk or visit http://womenslibrary.org.uk/tag/in-her-shoes/

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