Amal Centre's Purple Bow Tie Campaign: Killing domestic abuse with love and kindnessWritten by Sadia Virk
A Montreal-based Muslim organisation is hoping to inspire a “new definition of manhood” by encouraging men to be more demonstrative of their love for the women in their lives.
In keeping with this year's International Women's Day theme of“Working Together: Engaging Men to End Violence against Women”, Amal Centre, a counselling and referral organisation for Muslim women affected by abuse, is asking men to wear their hearts on their sleeve, and miniature purple bow ties on their lapels in honour of their wives, mothers and sisters.
Since the campaign began in February, Amal Centre representative have been attending various community events in Montreal to raise awareness, sell the bow ties and call on men to commit themselves to the campaign. They have also launched a promotional video, available on YouTube and their Facebook page, featuring men of different ages and backgrounds from the Montreal Muslim community, all speaking about the positive relationships they have with the different women in their lives.
“The men on the video, I like to call them our exemplary bond men, are our advocates,” Ms. Alabbas says. “They are proud to admit that women hold an important place in their lives and in their heart. They are proclaiming to all the love, consideration and admiration they have for the women in their lives.”
As part of the campaign, male participants write down a small action or gesture they can perform with their mother, daughter, sister, wife or any other important woman in their life, that could potentially tighten their bond.
“Our goal is to change the way men think. A campaign that gives importance to treating women right might encourage men to be more attentive, more patient and more loving,” says Ms. Alabbas. “We want men to associate being manly with being a gentleman; one who embodies great-hearted and high-minded qualities with the women in his life. By starting at the source and by making kindness and respect towards women the norm, you prevent certain marital conflicts and abuse in relationships. If people practiced more kindness in their homes, there would be no abuse, no violence ”“no need for Amal.”
Anas Uddin is one of the young men featured in the video, appearing with alongside his five brothers, all dressed in a simple black t-shirt and sporting the purple bow tie. In the video, he and his brothers mention the special relationship they share with their sister and he says one of the ways he hopes to tighten his bonds with the women in his life is by spending more time with them on a regular basis.
“I find that the Purple Bow Tie campaign has given me a reminder and an added opportunity to strengthen the bonds I have with the women in my life,” he says. “I would like this campaign to be a kick starter in promoting the strengthening of bonds for all relationships one may have. In an age where digital connections are becoming the norm, I believe this campaign can help push the importance of human connections.”
As a Muslim man, Mr. Uddin believes that the first role he can play in the community to help support the campaign and help combat domestic violence is leading by example.
“There is no point supporting and promoting these types of causes if I am not making a continual effort to uphold those values myself,” he explains. “It's also important for me to support and promote causes like this and try to spread awareness amongst friends and colleagues.”
For more information about the Purple Bow Tie campaign, please visit www.amalwomencenter.ca
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