AN EVENT to raise awareness about gender inequality and domestic abuse as part of International Women’s Day took place in the city centre today with the message that “it is not just women’s issues.”

The event was organised by the domestic abuse charity FearLess alongside Salisbury Soroptimists to address inequalities which are as important now as when it first started 112 years ago.

In the Guildhall Square, women linked hands and formed a circle of awareness.

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Soroptimist Liz Batten said: “This is not just women’s issues. It’s all part of a women’s safety campaign which we have been doing in Salisbury now for a couple of years.  So, it links in very nicely with raising awareness of domestic abuse wherever it happens whether in the home or at a refuge. 

"Some women have to continue suffering in silence at home. FearLess (charity) works well with them. 

Liz added: “Coercive control can be even more insidious and harder to prove and sometimes, women don’t even recognise it until someone points it out to them. We try to help women to look out for themselves to make sure they are not being abused whether they are aware of it or not.”

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As part of the campaign, the Soroptimists are trying to reach employers, sports clubs, and other organisations to raise awareness as to what domestic abuse actually looks like so that over time, there is a better understanding of this.

They believe it is about starting a conversation with family members and talking about it which can make a difference.

Soroptimist Eleanor Evans said: “It can have a definite impact on behaviour. Behaviour might change. People might be absent from work or work longer hours to avoid being at home.”

 “We stand in support of those women who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse. The theme for International Women's Day is equity this year and women who are experiencing domestic abuse have a shortfall of equity. We stand in solidarity with these women. “

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Councillor Victoria Charleston attended the event and said: “Violence against women and girls is something I am absolutely passionate about having worked in stalking for the last six years. 

“As the Soroptimist conference last year showed, there is a lot of work to be done to ensure that our women and girls can go about their lives free from harassment, abuse and violence in Salisbury.”

The Salisbury Soroptimists would like to hear from anyone who would like to help with their ongoing campaign. 

For anyone wishing to find out more about FearLess, the number is 01225 775276 and there is a 24-hour national domestic abuse helpline: 0808 2000247