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Bishop pledges to help end the 'scourge of male on female violence'

The Church of England in the South East has launched a series of events across the Diocese of Rochester to raise awareness of domestic abuse and highlight places of support for victims.

It comes as Monday marks the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones has given his backing to the White Ribbon pledge which asks men not to "commit, excuse or remain silent" when they see incidents taking place.

Bishop Simon urged men to join him in an online video campaign:

Bishop Simon White Ribbon Day from Diocese of Rochester on Vimeo.

Speaking to Premier, Bishop Simon said the Anglican Church feels a responsibility to protect victims both in real life and online:

"We feel that clearly the scourge of male on female violence remains a very oppressive threat in the UK today.

"Women in particular are being trolled online in a way that's meant to threaten and intimidate them into silence and out of public roles. So we thought is very important that we took on our own ownership of what is a global campaign to try to end this scourge."

Many female victims feel unable to speak out against their perpetrators as they are friends and relatives, Bishop Simon says. He is encouraging men not to "turn a blind eye" to the problem.

"Within all of us this human tendency whenever there might be trouble to turn a blind eye, or to offer a deaf ear to what's actually happening.

"Hopefully most men would never commit violence against women, but it is so easy to remain silent when you know it's going on around you."

Among the Bishop's recommendations to men were to be vigilant and act upon any injustices seen, to listen to the plight of victims and those vulnerable and approach accusations with an open-mind.

"How people appear in public can be quite different to how they appear in private."

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