21 October 2018   |  Last Updated 18-12-2014 10:26

      Thursday 11, December 2014

      WATCH: "Tree of Promise" raises awareness about gender violence

      A "TREE of Promise" sculpture was on display in the Central Library in Bolton in order to raise awareness about violence against women.


      Residents were encouraged to make a pledge to support the cause by putting a comment on a piece of paper and add it to a branch of the tree.

      The 8 foot tall sculpture was created by YES matters, a local voluntary organisation, and students from University of Bolton.

      Gemma Aitchison, chair and founder of YES matters, said: “Violence against women and girls is going up and up and we really need to make our daughters safe and make our sons aware so we can prevent sexual objectification from happening."

      Ms Aitchison set-up the group after the murder of her sister almost two years ago, in the hope of educating people on objectification and gender stereotyping.

      Her sister Sasha was just 16 when she was stabbed to death by David Minto, who defiled her body as she lay dead or dying.

      Gemma Aitchison revealed  that she gets rape threats because of her activities. She added:  “We do get a lot of rape and murder threats over Facebook and Twitter from men who don’t really like us talking about these things.

      "I get about ten a week, it’s pretty common. But then it kind of proves our point, on why we need to be doing this.”

      One of the pledges on the tree

                                                   one of the pledges on the tree

      Neil Garrity, Labour and Co-op candidate for Bromley Cross, was one of the people who made a pledge. He said: "Gender violence affects people of any age, race and background. This is why it is so important to support advocates like YES matters which try to make a change." 

      The exhibition was part of 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence, an international campaign which started on November 25 and ended yesterday, Human Rights Day.


      Other activities included ‘Reclaim the Streets’ walk around Bolton Town Centre and a High Heels Exhibition.


      by Stanislava Antova