The Mayor of Lewisham has spoken out against gender-based violence as part of a project run by a women’s welfare group.
Sir Steve Bullock is one of six men who took part in “The Voice of Male Allies”, a series of audio recordings in which men talk about their experience and knowledge of violence against women in the borough.
The campaign, run by Women Against Violence Expressing Solidarity, is the borough’s contribution to the UN “He For She” campaign spearheaded by Harry Potter star Emma Watson.
WAVES describes itself as a grassroots organisation promoting a “community response” to violence affecting Lewisham women.
In his interview with the organisation, Sir Steve said: “We want people to report [gender-based violence], to tell us about it, so that we can react. Occasionally you then get somebody from outside looking at the stats and saying why is there more violence in Lewisham than there is elsewhere and I honestly don’t know the answer to that but it’s right that we should have those conversations.”
Referencing the Rotherham sex abuse scandal Sir Steve added: “I don’t have, in front of me, any evidence that tells me the same thing is happening in Lewisham, but if I sit here and assume that it isn’t happening in Lewisham then I will fail whoever is a victim of it, whether it is one person or it is 1,400 people as it is in Rotherham.”
Other figures to have been interviewed are Detective Inspector Justin Davies of Lewisham CID, football charity Street League’s Peter Dacres and Nigel Desborough, a leader at Forest Hill Community Church.
Kirsty Lowe, co-founder of WAVES Lewisham said: “Men can be uncomfortable talking about the violence and abuse of women, sometimes feeling they are being accused or held personally responsible for the actions of other men.”
“WAVES has many male supporters and we wanted to capture them talking about men’s violence to show leadership in making the world a safer place for women and girls. We’d like more men and women to participate in the #BigLewishamConversation on Twitter and in real life to explore how, as a community, we can work together to bring an end to violence against women and girls.”
The interviews will be available on WAVES Lewisham’s audioboom channel and can be heard at the Deptford Lounge from November 22.