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Rape Crisis team plans outreach activities

SHETLAND Rape Crisis is set to hold a number of awareness-raising and information events in the coming days and weeks to mark an international programme highlighting the issue of gender-based violence.

As part of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, the local branch of the charity will hold information stalls to allow the public to speak to staff, run a social media campaign, create window displays and put on awareness-raising workshops.

The programme will kick off on Saturday (25 November) and it will run through to 10 December.

Shetland Rape Crisis manager Linda Gray said the team has chose the theme #LeaveNoSurvivorBehind because it’s “vitally important to us as a locally-based service that all survivors of sexual violence in Shetland are able to access the support that they need”.

The charity, which launched in Shetland last year, provides free and confidential information, support, and advocacy to anyone in the isles affected by sexual violence.

“We believe that anyone who has experienced sexual violence, regardless of their gender identity, race, sexual orientation, or ability, is entitled to non-judgemental and confidential support,” Gray added.

“And we believe that no-one, regardless of behaviour, dress or lifestyle, is to blame for sexual violence that they have experienced.

“Our activities across the 16 days will reflect this core commitment and we’d love the whole community to help boost our message and join us in voicing support for survivors.”

This weekend a window display will be put up at the Rape Crisis headquarters at Market House in Lerwick, while a display stand will be in place at the Toll Clock Shopping Centre on 30 November and 7 December.

Staff will also be present at the Living Lerwick festive fair in the town on 2 December.

Helping out Gray will be new advocacy and support worker Ana Arnett and sexual violence prevention worker Lisa Ward.

Arnett said: “The concept behind the window display and information stands is about supporting and boosting the voices of survivors.

“With this in mind, we asked people that we work with, including partner agencies, people who attend our education workshops, clients, and other supportive members of the community, to provide a purple handprint to demonstrate their solidarity and to ‘lift up’ the voices of survivors.”

Ward added that a campaign would run on the Shetland Rape Crisis social media accounts throughout the programme.

The 16 Days of Activism Campaign takes in days such as International Women Human Rights Defenders Day (29 November), World AIDS Day (1 December) and the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (2 December).

“During the 16 Days, we will be spreading the message on Facebook and Twitter, and we would like to invite the community to follow us and share the content and raise awareness with us,” Ward said.

“We also offer workshops on preventing sexual violence and will be delivering some of these workshops to groups that have booked them throughout the 16 days, and we welcome more booking enquiries at any point.”

For more information, contact Shetland Rape Crisis on 01595 745 078 or 07570 062 362, or email contact@shetlandrapecrisis.scot