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Community / People encouraged to join walk against gender-based violence

A SOCIALLY distanced #wistoo walk is set to take place in Lerwick in early December to highlight the issue of gender-based violence.

The event is being organised by Shetland Rape Crisis’ young activist group BEE (Bold, Equal and Empowered).

It will take place around Clickimin Loch between 10am and 1pm on Saturday 5 December.

Should Covid-19 or weather prevent the walk from taking place, a social media takeover will still go ahead.

The walk is scheduled to take place during the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.

An outdoor exhibition highlighting facts relating to gender-based violence will also be on display on the walk route from this week through to 10 December.

BEE volunteer Ellie Ratter said the group picked the hashtag #WisToo in solidarity with the survivors who shared their stories as part of fellow member Rhea Isbister’s project earlier this year.

“I want to draw attention to gender-based violence because I believe it’s not discussed enough,” Ratter said.

“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.

Shetland Rape Crisis said this 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.

BEE has also 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 5 December.

Masks can be picked up from Mareel from 18 November or on the walk day at Clickimin Broch.

On the day of the walk volunteers will be situated at the Bus Stop area near Clickimin Broch from 10am-1pm where masks and hand sanitiser 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.

From Thursday this week people can gather in groups of up to eight people, from three households.

Activism and prevention worker at Shetland Rape Crisis Lavinia Schmidt 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.”

Shetland Rape Crisis will also 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.