During the 16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Violence Against Women, we will be sharing 16 ways you can be an ally and do your bit to end violence against women.

On Days 7 and 8, we ask you to bring up your boys and girls to respect one another, and equip your children to be resilient if faced with abuse or bullying.

From a very early age boys and girls are exposed to ideas about what makes them different from each other. And it can be easy to put those ideas into practice and be disrespectful to members of the opposite sex. Phrases like “you throw like a girl” or “boys don’t cry” might seem harmless, but they reinforce disrespectful and detrimental attitudes towards all genders. By teaching boys and girls to respect one another, we can counteract these stereotypes and promote gender parity.

Actress Keira Knightley expressed the view that respect between boys and girls eliminates excuses for abusive behaviour. In her speech at the Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year Awards, she stated that “we have to bring up our sons and daughters to respect each other’s similarities and differences … Respect forbids bullying and abuse. Respect acknowledges equality. Equality – it is not too much to ask.”

Check out the full article here: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/culture/culture-news/a24551846/keira-knightley-harpers-bazaar-awards-2018/

With the growth of social media, children’s resilience is also being tested like never before. Where once you could leave your bullies at home, children today must contend with the abuse following them home on their phones, with Ofcom reporting that 1 in 8 children has been bullied on a social networking site.

By building your children’s resilience, you can teach them that abuse, whether psychological, physical, financial or sexual, is never their fault. You can teach your children, both girls and boys, that the responsibility for the abuse lies with the abuser and not them and that they did not deserve to be treated that way. Their emotional intelligence and ability to resource will improve which are skills that they can carry with them into adulthood where, if confronted by abuse, they may be able to draw on that resilience.

Here are some useful links and tips can help you learn how to build resilience in children:

  • Ask your child’s school whether they teach our Helping Hands programme
  • Building resilience tips: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Building-Resilience/Pages/Building-Resilience-in-Children.asp
  • Childline – 0800 1111
  • ParentingNI – https://www.parentingni.org

If you have been affected by domestic or sexual violence, you can get support from our 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 802 1414, or from a local Women’s Aid group. Find a group in your area here.

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