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Community / Over 1,000 items of underwear donated to charity thanks to local campaign

Shetland Rape Crisis' prevention and activism worker Lavinia Schmidt counts the donations.

OVER 1,000 bras and nearly 300 pants have been donated to Scottish charity Smalls For All thanks to a local campaign spearheaded by Shetland Rape Crisis.

The local charity worked in support with the Aith charity shop, the Why Waste? shop in Lerwick, Dunrossness Primary School and the Unst leisure centre and school to collect the donations.

Smalls For All collects underwear and distributes them to help women and children in Africa and the UK, including those living in poverty or people who have been displaced and have to live in camps.

The charity said that giving bras and pants to people in need “can make a life-changing difference”.

One example it gives is that it can help teenage girls complete their education without having to miss school each month during their period.

They can also be useful for those who are in hospital suffering from medical conditions like obstetric fistula, for instance.

The charity accepts donations of new pants and new bras and gently worn bras.

Peterson UK Ltd has offered to ship the items collected in Shetland free of charge to the Aberdeen, and Northern Isles Freightway will deliver from Aberdeen to Smalls For All on the mainland.

Shetland Rape Crisis advocacy and support worker Ana Arnett said: “The response we’ve had from folk all over Shetland, from Unst right down to the southend, has been absolutely incredible.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to all who donated, the shops that gathered the donations, Petersons UK Ltd and Northern Isles Freightway for their generous shipping work, and to everyone who shared and promoted the campaign.”

The local drive for donations was started during the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign late last year.

Shetland Rape Crisis said that that alongside its call for gender equality and an end to gender-based violence, the donations may “evoke in the minds of some readers images of bra-burning feminists – a myth the team is keen to dispel”.

Service manager Lisa Ward said: “The research clearly demonstrates that, although anyone can experience or perpetrate sexual violence, an unequal distribution of power between groups significantly increases the risk of perpetration by the dominant group against the group with less power, and this is no less true in Shetland.

“We support people of all genders, but our stats continue to show that gender inequality is a major ongoing concern in our community, greatly increasing the risk of sexual violence against women and girls, as well increasing risks for other groups who hold less social power such those in poverty, people with learning disabilities, and children.”

“Campaigns such as this one are an important part of raising awareness of these facts, as well as making an immediate material difference in the lives of women and girls experiencing extreme marginalisation.”