In January this year, Bristol Women’s Voice discovered that The Marriott Hotel Bristol is hosting ‘An Evening With Floyd Mayweather’ on the 8th of March 2017, which is also the date of International Women’s Day. Mayweather is a man who has long history of violence against women, including several convictions and Bristol Women’s Voice does not believe we should be providing a platform for him to speak and sell his image. In February 2016 the Colston Hall cancelled a similar event after objections from women’s charities and groups. Ashton Gate, who were previously hosting, canceled the event stating that it went against the family values of the club and stadium.
A petition has been created to urge the Marriott Hotel to cancel the event. You can sign the petition here.
There will also be a protest outside the Marriott Hotel – details can be found here.
On 30th January 2017, Bristol Women’s Voice wrote an open letter to Marriott Hotel, City Centre Bristol. A copy of the letter is below:
To whom it may concern,
It has come to our attention that the Marriott Hotel is hosting an event called ‘an evening with Floyd Mayweather’ on the 8th of March 2017, which is also the date of international women’s day. In February 2016 the Colston Hall cancelled a similar event after objections from women’s charities and groups. Tour events in other cities including Cardiff were also cancelled, and Jonathan Ross pulled out of hosting the event.
Mayweather is a man who has long history of violence against women, including several convictions. We do not believe that the Marriott Hotel should be providing a platform for him to speak and sell his image, especially on a day celebrating the achievements of women. The idolising of a dangerous perpetrator of domestic violence is unacceptable and we believe you should cancel your event.
Over fourteen thousand women and girls aged sixteen to fifty nine suffered from Domestic Violence in Bristol last year. In a time of austerity when services for domestic violence are being cut, and still two women a week are dying in the hands of male ex/partners, we believe providing Mr Mayweather with a platform to speak, particularly without questioning him about his violent, misogynist acts, gives a dangerous and damaging message to the public.
As a community we must stand together against violence against women and challenge the idea that talent and money make it excusable. By not providing Mayweather with a platform we can make that stand and choose to tell him and others that his actions and behaviour are not acceptable. Many of the women that face domestic violence do not have a platform to speak from and we believe that seeing Mr Mayweather speak and be celebrated will further their suffering and anxiety and reconfirm that actions such as his are acceptable. Those who face domestic violence often have a long and difficult recovery suffering from social stigma and lack of action by officials and we do not want them to feel that access to justice is dependant on celebrity status.
We should remember that one in three women globally will experience violence at the hands of a partner. Domestic Violence is not a rare incident and we must all take action to put an end to it.
We urge you to take this matter seriously and cancel your event. If you choose to go ahead with the event you risk damaging your otherwise good name.
We look forward to your response on this matter.
On behalf of:
Bristol Women’s Voice
SARSAS (Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support)
Bristol Sisters Uncut
On 1st February, Bristol Women’s Voice received the following response:
Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with me. We are a hospitality company that simply provides public accommodations and function space. Acceptance of business does not indicate support, or endorsement of any group or individual.
Disappointed with this response, Bristol Women’s Voice wrote another letter to the Marriott, again urging them to reconsider. A copy of this letter is below:
We are wholeheartedly disappointed by your response that the Marriott Hotel is “a hospitality company that simply provides public accommodations and function space. Acceptance of business does not indicate support, or endorsement of any group or individual.”
“We demonstrate our purpose, values and principles of responsible business through policies on employment, human rights, environment, supply chain, and in the conduct we uphold and expect of others.”
“We Act with Integrity
How we do business is as important as the business we do.
We hold ourselves to uncompromising ethical and legal standards. This extends to our day-to-day business conduct, our employee policies, our supply chain policies, our environmental programs and practices, and our commitment to human rights and social responsibility.”
We ask that you please clarify how these principles of “responsible business” and “uncompromising ethical standards” is in keeping with your decision to host Floyd Mayweather on International Women’s Day?
Further, we would like to draw your attention to some other points to take into your consideration. As we previously explained in our initial letter, many women in Bristol suffer from domestic violence but we also wanted to draw your addition to the fact that statistically, there may be employees of the Marriott Hotel City Centre too that are impacted by domestic violence. The Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence have produced a handy calculator that helps you assess the cost impact of domestic violence on your workforce – we recommend that you look at this tool which is available to view here.
In addition, we want to draw attention to the impact domestic violence has on the workplace. The lost economic output of women affected, costs the UK £36.7bn annually. The cost to UK businesses is over £1.9 billion annually. In the UK in any one year, more than 20% of employed women take time off work because of domestic violence and abuse, and 2% lose their job as a direct result of the abuse. 56% of abused women arrive late for work at least five times and 58% miss at least three days of work a month. On average, workers who experience domestic violence miss 26% more work time due to absenteeism and lateness than workers who do not experience violence.
As an employer, the Marriott has a legal obligation and responsibility to support and protect your employees. You must adhere to legal requirements around health, safety and the mitigation of harm to the physical and emotional wellbeing of employees. You have a duty of care to the people you employ, for example ensuring anti-harassment, discrimination, and bullying within your codes of conduct. By hosting Mayweather, you are compromising the duty of care are that you give to your staff.
Again, we ask you to re-consider your decision to host Mayweather at the Marriott on International Women’s Day.
Bristol Women’s Voice
Bristol Women’s Voice has also written to the event sponsors asking them to reconsider sponsorship:
Bristol Blue Glass
Whats on Bristol
As of date of publication of this post, we are yet to receive a response from any of the sponsors, nor a further response from the Marriott Hotel.
On February 27, the Bristol Post announced that it was pulling out of holding the Women of the Year Awards 2017 on March 9 at the Marriott Hotel, City Centre. Instead, it is now being hosted at an alternative venue. More details can be found here.
On February 28, the following businesses and organisations have joined BWV as signatories to the open letter to the Bristol Marriott:
- UNISON University of the West of England
- Bristol University Student’s Union
- UNISON SW
- The University of West of England
- Hollie Gazzard Trust
- Bristol Disability Equality Forum
- See it From Her
Following a successful petition by a BWV member to Bristol City Council around the housing banding for victims of domestic abuse, Bristol City Council has now drafted a proposal that sets out a change to how Bristol City Council prioritises victims of Domestic Abuse through Home Choice Bristol.
Within the context of increasing demand for affordable rented properties their focus is to help those who are most at risk to move quickly. The proposal prioritises high risk victims of Domestic Abuse by awarding band 1 (highest priority), with decisions being made at MARAC (Multi agency risk assessment conference).
Why They Are Consulting
Bristol City Council are asking people for their views on their proposal as they want to ensure that any change in policy meets the needs of this client group and is effective in delivering the desired outcome of moving quickly. They are particularly keen on getting the views of practitioners who work with victims of domestic abuse. Details of the draft policy are here.
Give them your view
Survey closes 3 Jan 2017
We are working with interested members about this issue to help formulate our response.
Please see our working document here.
Do you have any comments or key issues you want us to address? Email email@example.com by Friday 23rd December.
Bristol Women’s Commission launched on International Women’s Day the Zero Tolerance campaign for Bristol to become a city with a zero tolerance approach to gender-based violence, abuse and exploitation.
Bristol Women’s Voice is hiring for:
A Communications Assistant to provide effective communications and administrative support for this initiative. For more detailed information, please download the Job Description – Communications Assistant.
For any queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To apply, please complete the applications form and return to email@example.com
Deadline is midnight of 7th October 2016.
Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted by 5pm 10th October 2016.
Interviews will be held at Brunswick Court, Brunswick Square on Wednesday 12th October 2016.
Bristol Zero Tolerance and Bristol Women’s Voice are concerned about a sexual consent workshop given by Avon and Somerset Police at North Bristol Post 16 Centre on July 5th 2016 which included an out-of-date resource with the title ‘R U Asking For It’. This feeds into a culture of victim blaming and is completely inappropriate in light of the This is Not An Excuse campaign also run by the Police.
We have been pleased that the young women who received the workshop were able to have their voices and objections heard on the day and through social media and it is also encouraging that the story has been raised by local and national media (also here) as a serious issue.
We are also pleased that North Bristol Post 16 Centre immediately handled the situation proactively and in a timely manner. They gave the students time to ask challenging questions in order to share a positive dialogue around the issue and they met with the Police officers immediately following their session to provide feedback and express concern. You can read their statement in full here.
Avon and Somerset Police have also been proactive in their response and have dealt with the incident in a timely manner. As Avon and Somerset Police are signatories to Bristol Zero Tolerance we are working alongside them to see how they can take positive action in relation to this including training for staff and awareness about both This Is Not An Excuse and Bristol Zero Tolerance.
This incident highlights how important accurate messages about consent and healthy relationships are and how all schools must ensure that these are presented to young people through appropriate activities and well trained speakers. We are pleased to be working with the Bristol Ideal to encourage more schools to include consent and healthy relationships programmes in their curriculum and to ensure that young people are able to feel confident and informed about relationships, consent and gender-based violence issues.
Users of a Bristol cycle track may have seen some unusual posters on their way to work this morning. Bold black and white images of women with slogans like “Women are not outside for your entertainment” and “My outfit is NOT an invitation” can be seen along the Bristol to Bath Cycle Path and at other locations in Easton. The action is part of an international movement of activists taking part in “World Wheat Pasting Night”. The event was created by the New York artist, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. Her ‘Stop Telling Women to Smile’ art series draws attention to street harassment by placing drawn portraits of real women and their words outside in public spaces.
Rachel, a local activist, part of a local group of women taking part said:
“It feels so good and exciting to do something positive and visible like this. I loved seeing the posters in my area last year, so I thought I would take part in the 2016 event. I really want to educate people to know that it isn’t ok to harass women in the street.”
For more information about International Wheat Posting Night go tohttp://stoptellingwomentosmile.com
Our third key priority is our wo-manifesto is Safety.
What do we mean by this?
We want to make Bristol a city free from any form of gender-based violence, abuse, harassment of exploitation by becoming a Zero Tolerance City with:
– a greater understanding of gender-based violence
– enhance specialized and appropriate support services that adequately meet the needs of all women and girls
– high quality work on prevention and education around gender-based violence, gender stereotyping and discrimination.
What are the key issues in Safety?
We have produced a handy infographic to highlight some of the key issues for women.
So what needs to change?
We have identified some calls to action that we believe will bring about change to Bristol women’s safety.
|Who?||Call to Action|
|All local employers||All employers sign our zero tolerance pledge|
|ASPolice, Local transport providers, Bristol Courts of Justice, CPS, The Law Society||Greater consistency in training of Police Officers, judges, lawyers and local transport systems|
|ASPolice, Bristol City Council||Local authorities to tackle street harassment|
|Bristol City Council||Nil-cap on Sexual Entertainment Venues|
|National and local government, NHS||Improved access to specialized support, including mental health services|
|National and local government||Commitment to ensure future of specialized services|
|Bristol City Council||Creation of a Gender-Based Violence Prevention Commissioner and funding for post of Crime Reduction Project Officer, Prevention of Violence and Abuse Against Women and Children|
|Advertising Standards Authority, national government||Regulation of harmful images in the media, age restrictions accessing pornography|
|Bristol City Council||City-wide advertising and licensing policy|
|National and local government||Appropriate Access to Justice and Support for victims|
|Local media organisations||Local media providers to tackle cultural misconceptions|
|See Education||Compulsory adequate Sex &Relationships Education, all schools to sign up to Bristol Ideal, embedding of Intervention Initiative|
What do you think are the key issues for women in regards to Safety?
What would you like to see included?
Tweet us @BWV2 using #BristolWomensVote
Bristol Zero Tolerance is looking for an enthusiastic intern to support them in developing and producing content for the Bristol Big Screen to advertise the Bristol Zero Tolerance initiative and raise awareness about gender-based violence.
Project tasks will include:
- Get information from the Big Screen website on specifications for content and produce process documentation
- Obtain Big Screen events list to create a timetable for 2016 of possible events and content related to specific dates and events
- Research existing local films on gender-based violence (short films under 3mins or up to 10mins).
- Contact local film makers about making short films on gender-based violence in partnership with Bristol Zero Tolerance.
- Contact universities/colleges media departments about making short films on gender-based violence in partnership with Bristol Zero Tolerance.
- Contact universities/colleges animation and motion graphic departments about supporting Bristol Zero Tolerance to produce content for the Big Screen.
- Design and produce JPEG images for Big Screen.
- Contact Bristol Zero Tolerance business supporters to let them know about working with Big Screen .
- Include work with Big Screen on Bristol Zero Tolerance and Bristol Women’s Voice social media as appropriate.
- Scope the possibility of a Bristol Zero Tolerance short film night.
Project timetable: There is no specific deadline for the project but it will fit into certain dates and programmes depending on the events timetable. Intern to update regularly on progress and ask for any support needed. Internship runs from May-September, approx 2 days per week. Expenses will be covered.
For more information, or to apply, send your CV and covering letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 25th April 9am.
Article by Ellie Vowles
This week I have been amazed and impressed by the power of social media and of some of Bristol’s fantastic women coming together. On discovering that the Bristol Colston Hall would be hosting an as event part of a ‘victory tour’ from Floyd Mayweather, a serial domestic violence perpetrator and multiple boxing world champion, we came together to take a stand against domestic violence. This resulted in a very successful campaign that achieved the cancellation of the Bristol event at the Colston Hall; the cancellation of another event in Cardiff at St Davids Hall; and the withdrawal of Jonathan Ross’s involvement in Mayweather’s black tie event in London.
The campaign against Mayweather’s visit to Bristol started with a petition by Julie Zerlang. It read:
In England and Wales, two women are killed every week at the hands of their partner, and on a worldwide scale one in three women will suffer domestic or sexual violence from their partner. In Bristol, that works out as 71,000 women.
Someone you know is experiencing this right now.
At a time when services in Bristol and in the UK that support these women are being stripped of funding and forced to close down, it is an outrage that a publicly funded institution such as Colston Hall is choosing to host a violent serial criminal like Floyd Mayweather.
Shortly after this, I contacted all the other members of the Bristol Women’s Voice management team. As members of an organisation whose purpose is to represent the best interests of women in Bristol and make women’s voices heard, they were as appalled as I was to see Colston Hall allow Mayweather to use its publicly funded venue to promote himself and make money. We drafted a letter from SARASAS, Zero Tolerance, UWE End It Now and BWV, asking Colson Hall to cancel their event.
I made the protest event via Facebook shortly after. As a result of the event a group of women came together and decided to work on getting through to and pressuring the Colston Hall. It’s been fantastic to see what the determination and will of a group can do. We tweeted, lobbied the Colston Hall via Facebook and set up a meeting with the venues management. It was a fantastic feeling to work with a group of passionate women using their voices to make change in our city. The Bristol Post and Western Gazette picked up the story – and the national press via the Daily Mirror then did too. Shortly after this the Mayweather event in Bristol was cancelled. The reason given: ‘unforeseen circumstances’.
Maybe Bristol Music Trust, the events promoters and Mr Mayweather didn’t see us coming together to stand up against domestic violence? Maybe they didn’t think that Bristol would reject the idea that a man with serial counts of domestic abuse should be held up as a hero because of his boxing talent and money. They were wrong and I am immensely proud of our collective determination, ability and defiance.
After noticing that Jonathan Ross was hosting the London black tie event, which claimed to be ‘in front of a celebrity packed audience’, we decided to lobby Ross via Twitter to withdraw his involvement in the campaign. He first said he would look into things. Yesterday Jonathan Ross announced that he would no longer be taking part in the event via a Tweet thanking us for the information we provided him with.
This cancellation is more than just a victory for a group of women over a few events. In challenging the idea that men like Mayweather can be displayed as a heroes without being in the slightest bit repentant about their actions, we send a message to victims of Domestic Violence that we are with them – that their suffering should not go unaddressed. Bristol Women coming together has really made a difference.
Several of our members at Bristol Women’s Voice expressed concern over “An Evening with Floyd Mayweather” a scheduled appearance at Colston Hall. On Tuesday 2 February 2016, Floyd Mayweather, famous for boxing and infamous for his multiple domestic violence convictions, had been booked to appear at Bristol’s Colston Hall.
Further to signposting members to a petition, and a scheduled protest on the evening, Bristol Women’s Voice, alongside SARSAS, Bristol Zero Tolerance and UWE: End It Now wrote a joint letter to Bristol Music Trust who manage Colston Hall to express our concern.
On Tuesday 26th January, Bristol Women’s Voice were pleased to hear that the appearance has now been cancelled, with as of yet, no details as to why, and not yet a formal response to our letter.
Combined with the petition and protest, this event shows the importance of spreading awareness around domestic violence and abuse to show that Bristol is a zero tolerance city and will continue to campaign against violence, abuse, harassment and exploitation. These collective efforts on behalf of Bristol’s community show that collective empowerment can make a difference.
Any response from Bristol Music Trust will be published on our website in due course.