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Day Focuses On Ending Violence Against Women

Published on: 31 Jan, 2013
Updated on: 31 Jan, 2013

Domestic abuse support services for Surrey are joining together to support an international day of celebration on Thursday, February 14, at Guildford’s Guildhall, writes Maria Rayner.

One Billion Rising 2The four outreach services, under the banner of One Billion Rising, will be joined by the Guildford-based Rape and Sexual Abuse support Centre (RASASC) and the Surrey Addictions Advisory Service (SAdAS). They are jointly planning fun activities including music and singing which fit in with the aim to “walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to violence” against women.

In addition to stands with information about domestic abuse and sexual violence, there will be tea, coffee and cakes. For survivors who feel unable to attend the event there will be an opportunity to decorate a T-shirt to be hung on a clothes line to represent attendance.

The highlight of the event is a march down the High Street with a balloon release on the bridge at Millmead to symbolise rising up against abuse.

Sonja Freebody from RASASC said: “One Billion Rising is an international event and this is the venue for Guildford. Since the publicity surrounding the late Jimmy Savile we have seen a huge increase in people contacting us.

“We counsel 50 people every week and we have 36 on the waiting list, which is effectively six months. Our 21 volunteer counsellors are wading through the survivors. Even before the Savile allegations our helpline received 3,000 calls last year.

“We’ve seen a drop in the number of calls and research tells us that people cannot afford to ring so often, so we’re setting up a freephone service at the beginning of February, for which I’m still looking for funding.”

One Billion Rising 1RASASC also counsel men and boys who have been subject to sexual abuse and Sonja says that 30% to 40% of her clients are male. One Billion Rising focuses on violence against women, but men are invited along to show their support, solidarity and desire to end violence against women.

Anne Milton, MP for Guildford, is unable to attend One Billion Rising, but praised RASASC for the “amazing” job they do supporting people affected by sexual abuse. She added: “The free helpline service RASASC are hoping to set up in February is another critical step in giving people affected by sexual abuse the support they need and deserve.”

Timetable of events:

10.30am: Guildhall opens.

11am: Speech by East Surrey Refuge Worker.

11.15: Belly dancing.

11.45: Bollywood dancing.

12.10: Zumba.

12.30: Domestic abuse survivor stories.

1pm: Address by the Mayor of Guildford, march and balloon release.

For more information about the Surrey event please contact your local outreach service:

Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) – 01483 452900.

Surrey Addictions Advisory Service (SAdAS) – 01483 590150.

North Surrey – 01932 260690.

East Surrey – 01737 771350.

Your Sanctuary (North West) – 01483 776822.

South West Surrey – 01483 577392.

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