New Cambridge charity helping to teach about healthy relationships
A domestic abuse survivor has launched a charity in Cambridge to stamp out sexual violence and harassment in all its forms by changing attitudes in the community.
Beth Warmington was inspired to take action after a 30 per cent increase in violence against women during the pandemic.
She said: “I am a domestic abuse survivor and during the early parts of the pandemic, when the number of women being killed by their partners increased by 30 per cent, I decided to finally step up and do something about an issue that has shaped and defined my life.”
As a result, Landlark was launched. The charity aims to create a world where “no one lives in fear for their physical, emotional or mental safety” by “taking a sledgehammer to what we’ve all been told”.
Beth explains: “We believe domestic abuse, sexual violence and harassment in all its forms will never go away unless our community takes collective responsibility. So, we work with the entire community to achieve our aims.
“We’re investing in projects to change the narrative, create safe spaces and campaign for change.”
The charity recently funded a two-day workshop called Healthy Relationships for students at Chesterton Community College in Cambridge.
The workshop was run by the arts charity Tender, which works in schools to equip young people with the tools they need to recognise relationships that may become abusive, coercive and controlling.
Tender works with primary, secondary and specialist schools and youth settings, delivering a range of short and long-term workshops and programmes.
Tender uses drama-based sessions to “empower students with the skills and confidence to build positive, respectful relationships with others, and to consider their attitudes and behaviour in a safe, age-appropriate way”.
Beth said: “One of the key ways of addressing the epidemic of violence against women, sexual violence and harassment is through education: working with young people to give them the tools they need to challenge and change the narrative themselves.
“But instead of just teaching them, let’s enable them to do the teaching themselves, passing on the knowledge to their peers, their family members, creating a legacy of change that will keep on going.”
Beth added: “At Landlark, we know we need to take a sledgehammer to what we’ve all been told. The way society demands young men and boys view young women and girls, the way we ask young women and girls to view themselves, the way we discuss masculinity and tell boys to ‘toughen up’, ‘man up’, ‘don’t show your feelings’.
“The drip-drip of engrained misogyny lends itself and ultimately leads us to a society where male violence is an epidemic, and simultaneously men make up for 77 per cent of all suicides.
“The version of masculinity/femininity we’re all being sold clearly isn’t working for anyone.”
For more information about the charity or to sign up for their schools programme, visit landlark.org.