This week, our Service Team members, Lucie Bridgman (Service Prefect) and Meranie Kairu (Service Captain) guest write on the Headmistress blog about the meaning and significance of the purple ribbon.
Last week, the Service Team held our first fundraising event of the year for Bedford Women’s Centre. During the week, we embarked on a mission to sell as many purple ribbons as possible to spread awareness of the charity and their main cause, domestic abuse. With the support of our senior school students and teachers we raised a total of £120.94! This marks the beginning of many future events we hope to carry out this academic year to give more to this noble cause.
Across the world, the purple ribbon has been used to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence. The colour purple also represents BGS students and Bedford Women’s Centre, and is a prominent symbol of strength, independence, and transformation. Bedford Women’s Centre has embodied these values by supporting women in Bedford since 1982: they do this by helping them to transform their situations through liberating themselves from harmful and abusive relationships. This is done through their freedom programme, weekly workshops on healthy relationships, yoga and other fun activities designed to improve the health and wellbeing of women. The charity also provides a créche service which allows women to access these services without having to struggle with finding childcare. It also offers a safe space for the children who may have had unsettling experiences in their home environments as a result of the issues occuring in their homes. One of the main consequences of ongoing domestic violence is isolation from family and friends. To combat this, Bedford Women’s Centre facilitates groups for women to help them ease back into society and return to employment, so they have the opportunity to be financially independent and support themselves and their families.
Through a conversation with Charlotte, a spokesperson for the charity, we learned that 1 in 3 women will or have already experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or non-partner within their lifetime. This applies to women of all different social and economic backgrounds. According to the World Health Organisation, this shocking statistic has hardly shifted in any positive direction in the last 10 years. The prevalence of domestic abuse against women highlights the importance of raising awareness for our cause. Therefore we must provide support for each other by communicating that it is never acceptable and understanding that the fault does not lie with the victim, but with the perpetrator of the harm. We want to create a world with empowered women in happy relationships with their partners, with each other and everyone else in their communities. Through our partnership with Bedford Women’s Centre, we hope to come one step closer to achieving this.
“Devastatingly pervasive: 1 in 3 women globally experience violence.” 9 Mar. 2021, https://www.who.int/news/item/09-03-2021-devastatingly-pervasive-1-in-3-women-globally-experience-violence. Accessed 22 Sept. 2021.