Sadiq Khan has launched a powerful new campaign calling on men to hold each other accountable for violence against women and girls

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has unveiled a powerful campaign, #HaveAWord, which calls on men to play an active role in ending violence towards women and girls. 

In a video shared to Instagram, Sadiq Khan wrote, “Male violence against women and girls starts with words. If you see it happening, have a word with yourself—then your mates. #HaveAWord.” 

The video shows a group of young men laughing as they leave a shop. When one of the men starts heckling and cat-calling a nearby woman, one of his friends experiences an internal debate about whether or not he should intervene. In the end, he convinces himself to do the right thing, telling his friend, “Enough.” 

You can watch the video, here: 

Instagram content

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Not only is it refreshing to see a campaign that targets the perpetrators of catcalling – rather than the victims – it also shows the harm that ‘casual’ sexism can inflict. 

In situations where our friends are behaving inappropriately, it often feels easier to pretend it isn’t happening and wait for the uncomfortable moment to pass. However, this video shows the importance of intervening during these moments. After all, if abusers’ friends don’t call them out, doesn’t that reinforce the belief that their behaviour is acceptable?

In February 2022, Sadiq Khan called for men to lead a “fundamental cultural shift” to help end violence against women.

He said (via BBC News): “This is not just an issue with the minority of men who are violent, but also with those men who are sexist, who continue to behave inappropriately around women, who perpetuate a toxic form of masculinity or who just stand by silently when women feel threatened or are being threatened. Men must change.”

He added: “If we are going to truly fix the problem of violence against women and girls we need to see a fundamental cultural shift which puts the onus of responsibility on men.


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