have a word campaign

Sadiq Khan unveils the #HaveAWord campaign in a bid to tackle violence against women and girls

The viral ad speaks directly to men about their behaviour

In a historical first for the battle against gender-based violence, the Mayor Of London has introduced a new campaign which takes aim at men’s behaviour, rather than women’s. The “Have A Word” movement encourages men to take an unflinching look at their attitudes towards women, as well as those of their friends’.

#HaveAWord has been backed by rugby and football clubs across London, and the now-viral ad premiered at the match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City on Monday (13th March).

Sadiq Khan tweeted the one-minute clip himself, resulting in it being shared internet-wide by major accounts across social media, such as @cheerupluv on Instagram. It now has at least half-a-million views.

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A post shared by Cheer Up Luv (@cheerupluv)

The ad shows a group of guys leaving an off-license somewhere in London, while a woman in her early-20s is dropped off at a taxi rank by her friend. One of the men in the group spots the woman sitting alone, and begins to harass her. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence for the majority of women and girls in the UK – as Plan found one in three women has been subjected to street harassment at least once.

As the ringleader grows increasingly aggressive, one of his friends starts to become more and more unsettled by what he sees. We see the friend looking at himself in the mirror, as his reflection asks: “What are you doing? You need to say something.”

A voiceover concludes by saying: “Male violence against women and girls can start with words – but it doesn’t stop there. If you see it happening, have a word with yourself. Then your mates.”

According to the Mayor Of London: “(The goal is for men to) reflect on their own behaviour and to challenge the harmful behaviour of those around them.”

This new campaign has come in the wake of the first anniversary of Sarah Everard’s murder, and yet more accusations of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) directed at London’s Met Police.

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Featured image via YouTube/Mayor Of London.