Youth-led campaign to tackle peer sexual abuse launches awareness week on International Women’s Day

Group photo of the young women in the Brave Lassies Blether group
Wednesday 6 March 2024

A group of inspirational young women in Angus who are leading a campaign to tackle peer sexual abuse and harassment will launch an awareness raising week at an annual event organised by Councillor Julie Bell on International Women’s Day.

Brave Lassies Blether, which launched last November, is being delivered by NSPCC Scotland and The Young Women’s Movement in partnership with Angus Council and is led by a group of senior pupils at Angus schools.

The young women are looking forward to speaking at Angus Town and County Hall in Forfar this Friday, March 8 (International Women’s Day) about the work they have been doing since the campaign launched last November to encourage healthy relationships and breakdown the barriers to seeking support.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Inspiring Inclusion’ and Councillor Bell wants to encourage more girls and young women to step into public spaces to speak about their lived experiences and be a catalyst for positive change.

They will present some of the resources they have created including a video which signposts to support and services for young people, including the NSPCC’s Childline.

The young women have been working hard to raise awareness of what a healthy relationship looks and feels like and help young people access services if they need support or feel worried or uncomfortable in their relationships. This included making their own merchandise such as hoodies and tote bags, with a badge designed by them.

During the awareness raising week they want to get their message out as far and wide as possible and to this end they will speak at a meeting of Montrose Community Council on Thursday, March 21. They also hope schools throughout the area will take part by showing their video.

The group of pupils chose the name ‘Brave Lassies Blether’ for the campaign because they want every young person to know they can talk about their feelings and relationships and that it is brave to speak out.

Gabby Winton, one of the young women leading the campaign, said: 

“Being part of Brave Lassies Blether has changed my life! I have made new friends and learned so much about a topic that I did not have much knowledge about before.

“I am very proud of how well our group has bonded, the students and the adults, we all just get on so well. I am also proud of our launch at Montrose Football Club, it was a big task for some of us doing public reading, but we all NAILED IT!

“After Awareness Raising Week, I am looking forward to meeting up with all the girls again and getting to work on how to get our resource out in the schools, so we can help other young people.”

Carla Malseed, NSPCC Scotland Local Campaigns Officer, said:

“It’s really great to have Brave Lassies Blether at Angus Council on International Women’s Day. It’s so important to have young women’s voices, views and experiences heard.

“The young women have created some incredibly useful resources to help young people to understand where and how they can easily access support, so they feel empowered in their relationships.

“We hope everyone across Angus gets behind this campaign to help us spread these important messages - whether that’s through social media, distributing flyers and displaying posters or by showing the video.”

Jenni Snell, CEO of The Young Women’s Movement (YWM), said:

“On International Women's Day, I want to congratulate the incredible young women involved in developing the Brave Lassies Blether campaign. Tackling a topic such as peer sexual abuse and harassment is an emotionally charged, complex task but true to their name, the brave lassies have demonstrated what it means to have courage and take action to end violence against women and girls.

“I am calling on everyone across Angus to get behind their campaign, help spread the word, and make sure every young person knows that they can safely access support should they need it.”

Angus Councillor Julie Bell, who is also chair of the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership Integration Joint Board, said:

"I'm so excited to be able to showcase the work of Brave Lassies Blether for International Women's Day 2024. The theme is Inspiring Inclusion and it's so important to create a safe place for young women to articulate their lived experiences, to encourage more girls and women to step into that public space and to be the change we all need."

Young people looking for support on any of the issues mentioned, can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or visit Childline is there for all young people up until their 19th birthday. Call the police on 999 if you suspect someone is in immediate danger.