Huge crowd pledges to speak up on behalf of women fleeing unsafe conditions.
Sign-bearing marchers chanted in opposition to domestic violence.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Cardiff on Wednesday for a march promoting the elimination of domestic violence.
The event drew over 200 people, who gathered at prominent Riverside homeless charity Llamau and marched 30 minutes north to Llandaff Cathedral in an effort led by Bawso, a black and minority ethnic women’s service group.
“It’s to raise awareness, really, to stop domestic violence against women,” said Sibusisiwe Mbwembwe, a Bawso representative. “So if you heard the chants, we were saying, ‘Zero tolerance to domestic violence.'”
The annual event marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day.
Inside Llandaff Cathedral, one Bawso representative read aloud the anonymous personal testimony of a woman escaping domestic violence. Leaders from six local faith communities then spoke to participants, expressing support for the cause and urging Welsh citizens to speak up if they believe someone needs help.
“In our efforts to end violence against women, we must demonstrate wisdom,” said Nor’dzin Pamo of Aro Ling Buddhist Centre in Cardiff. “Basic human goodness is demonstrated in those who support the women who are survivors, to give them time, energy and resources to help.”
The highest-profile speaker was Julie James AM, Leader of the House of the National Assembly of Wales.
“We will not be bystanders. Together, we can provide safety for women facing domestic and sexual violence,” Ms James said.
Following public speeches, religious leaders and charity organisers held a candlelit moment of silence, a vigil meant for personal reflection.
Fifteen other groups partnered with Bawso and Llamau for the event, ranging from women’s organisations to government entities. A fundraising lunch took place after the demonstration.
“We fundraise so a woman can knock on our doorstep and say, ‘I need help, but I don’t have recourse to public funds,'” Ms Mbwembwe said. “That’s what the money will be used for.”
She explained that these individuals are often immigrants or refugees who lack access to British benefits when they leave an abusive relationship.
Those seeking help or advice regarding domestic violence are encouraged to call Bawso’s 24-hour helpline at 0800 731 8147.