Lewisham community members participated in a charity football match aimed at raising awareness for a global campaign to end domestic violence against women.
Members of Lewisham’s Neighbourhood Community Safety Service and a team compiled by the Young Mayor of Lewisham braved freezing conditions on Wednesday afternoon for the five-a-side game. The match, aimed to raise awareness for White Ribbon Week, took place at Bellingham Leisure Centre.
Players were keen to speak to EastLondonLines at half time about the importance of White Ribbon Week, and how sports can be a useful way to get men involved in the campaign.
Christopher Membu, 21, from the Young Mayor’s squad said: “If you think about hitting women, how much you must be hurting them – they don’t deserve to go through such violence. So that’s how we link it all to football. Football is a sport to release all the negative energy within us as well.”
Nav, 15, one of the Young Mayor’s advisers on the team, added: “It’s very important [to raise awareness of the White Ribbon Campaign] because in my short life I’ve seen a lot of domestic violence, not towards people I know, but like my friends and stuff. I thought that if I was able to help out with domestic violence, I’ll be able to involve everybody else and inspire them to help out as well.”
Neighbourhood Community Safety Officer, Denis Savin, said: “We realised this [sport] is one of the main ways to get men involved in the campaign. A lot of men are afraid even to put their name to something to do with domestic violence. We used to advertise in men’s toilets, so they might surreptitiously take on board that acceptability.”
He added: “Men, we are physical. We need to teach men how to men how to react verbally, not physically. More than two women are murdered every week by their partners. We need the men to stand up and ask for help – not put it on the women.”
Councillor Jacq Paschoud from the Children and Young People Select Committee, who presented the trophy to the winners, said: “There are certain issues in society that people are unwilling to confront. It can happen to anyone –look at Charles Saatchi.”
The match burst into life shortly before half time, with a flurry of goals making the score 2-2 at the break. However, the NCSS team took control against their younger opponents in the second half to run out 6-3 winners.