To mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), Woking Borough Council is placing 16 chairs in prominent locations around the borough.
Shrouded in red, the empty chairs will remain in situ for the 16 days leading up to International Human Rights Day (10 December), to remind us that every 11 minutes, somewhere in the world, a woman or girl dies at the hands of an intimate partner or family member.
Cllr Ellen Nicholson, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said: “These women and girls should be among us. These seats are reserved to highlight the void left behind by each and every one of them.
“Domestic abuse is more widespread than you think. It can affect all genders, all ages, ethnicities, abilities, and income levels, which is why we should all know how to spot the signs.
“Domestic abuse is the physical, emotional, verbal, sexual or financial abuse of one person by another with whom they have or have had an intimate or family-type relationship. It arises from the misuse of power and control by one person over another. It is rarely a one-off event but tends to escalate in frequency and severity over time.
“Thankfully in Surrey, help and support is available to anyone that needs it. If you are concerned about a loved-one, friend or colleague, call the Surrey Domestic Abuse Helpline, available 9am to 9pm seven days a week, on 01483 776822 to get some advice. We can only put a stop to domestic abuse, and prevent the tragic loss of life, if we all work together.”
How you can help
- Break the silence. Start a conversation with your group of friends/work colleagues about violence against women and girls. The more we talk about it the more we break the silence.
- Listen to and believe survivors. It’s on all of us to give survivors the safe space they need to speak up and be heard.
- Teach the next generation and learn from them. The examples we set for the younger generation shape the way they think about gender, respect and human rights.
- Understand consent. Freely given, enthusiastic consent is mandatory, every time.
- Hold each other accountable. Violence and abuse can take many forms, including sexual harassment in the workplace and in public spaces. Take a stand and call it out when you see it: catcalling, inappropriate sexual comments and sexist jokes are never okay.
- Learn the signs of domestic abuse and how you can help. There are many forms of abuse and all of them can have serious physical and emotional effects. Visit the Healthy Surrey website to find out more.
In Surrey help and support is available to anyone that needs it through our specialist domestic abuse outreach services and the Surrey Domestic Abuse Helpline, available 9am to 9pm seven days a week on 01483 776822. In an emergency, always call 999.
Locations of the 16 chairs:
- Woking Borough Council Civic Offices - reception
- Woking Borough Council Civic Offices - staff rest area
- Moorcroft Centre for the Community
- Parkview Centre for the Community
- St Mary's Centre for the Community
- The Vyne Centre for the Community
- Woking Sportsbox
- Eastwood Leisure Centre
- Woking Leisure Centre
- Pool in the Park
- New Victoria Theatre
- Rhoda McGraw Theatre
- Victoria Place
- Women’s Support Centre
- Woking Library
- The Lightbox