Supporters of 16 Days of Action campaign at Rugby Park.

16 Days of Action campaign launches at Rugby Park


A campaign to end gender-based violence has launched in East Ayrshire at Rugby Park.

The 16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign calling for an end to violence against women. Spearheaded by East Ayrshire’s Violence Against Women Partnership, a programme of informative and inclusive events and activities are taking place, supported by its many partner agencies.

Raising awareness of and encouraging people to sign the White Ribbon Scotland pledge is a running theme throughout the campaign, led by Kilmarnock Football Club reaffirming its support to the initiative. The pledge aims to engage men to stand up to violence against women.

The stadium’s hotel was also the location of a conference event for practitioners across Ayrshire, part of the wider programme of events for both professionals and members of the public. Highlights from the programme will be a screening of Hystayria at Dean Castle visitor centre on Wednesday 6 December, a thought-provoking drama based on real stories of Ayr’s barbaric witch trials; and the Reclaim the Night Walk on Tuesday 5 December, meeting at Ayrshire College Kilmarnock Campus from 5pm to march through Kilmarnock town centre and take a stand against gender-based violence.

Marion MacAulay, Head of Children’s Health, Care and Justice Services and Chair of the East Ayrshire Violence Against Women Partnership, said: “The past few years have seen increased incidences of violence against women and girls. The negative impact the pandemic had is now further impacted on by the cost of living crisis, which is disproportionately affecting women experiencing violence.

“This is why the 16 Days campaign continues to be so important. It brings people together to work towards eliminating gender-based violence. There are lots of events taking place during the 16 days, with both open events for anyone to show support and closed events for survivors. You can follow along on social media using #16DaysOfAction, #16DaysEA and #16DaysAyrshire.

“On Tuesday 5 December we will be holding a Reclaim The Night March in Kilmarnock, organised by the Star Centre, with participants gathering at Ayrshire College on Hill Street at 5pm and the march starting at 5.30pm. We will follow a route through the town centre before returning to Ayrshire College. We had a great turnout for the march last year and hope for an even bigger one this year.

“I also hope that everyone will take a moment to consider this year’s 16 days theme, ‘Imagine a Scotland without Gender-Based Violence’, which encourages us all to take action to support women and girls in our communities.”

Councillor Jim McMahon, East Ayrshire’s White Ribbon Champion, said: “Throughout the 16 Days of Action campaign we will be encouraging as many people as possible to support the White Ribbon Scotland pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women in all its forms.

“The initiative makes a resounding call to men and boys to let them know that gender-based violence is very much a men’s issue, and that they have a vital role in addressing it, whether it be physical, controlling or coercive behaviours.

“By taking action and making this pledge, you will be showing others that it’s okay to speak out against violence against women. The more we are willing to speak out about it, the more we can help change harmful attitudes that condone it – we need to show that we will not stand by.”


16 Days of Action events open to public

Hystayria: The ageless persecution of women screening
Wednesday 6 December 2023, 5:30pm
Dean Castle Visitors Centre, Kilmarnock, KA3 1XB


Reclaim the Night Walk
Tuesday 5 December, 5pm – 7pm
Ayrshire College, Hill Street, Kilmarnock


  • 5:00pm – 5:30pm: meet at Ayrshire College, tea and coffee will be available
  • 5:30pm – 6:00pm: depart to walk route
  • 6:00pm – 6:15pm: muster at Burns Mall
  • 6:15pm – 7:00pm: finish route through Kilmarnock centre


White Ribbon Scotland Pledge