THE people of Ammanford took a stand against violence to women and girls last week.

As White Ribbon Day was marked on Saturday, November 25, the people of Ammanford took to the streets on Thursday, November 23 for their own march and service to stand against violence.

There was a good turnout at the event, with pupils from Ysgol Y Bedol and Amman Valley School both taking part in the walk and the meeting, with Dyfed-Powys Police supporting the walk through the town.

South Wales Guardian: Dozens turned out to the White Ribbon walk in AmmanfordDozens turned out to the White Ribbon walk in Ammanford (Image: Office of Joyce Watson)

At the meeting at Ammanford Pensioners Hall, a number of people spoke, including organiser Joyce Watson MS, Louvain Roberts, chairperson of Carmarthenshire County Council, Adam Price MS, Cllr Ann Davies, the council’s cabinet member for community cohesion planning policy, Wendy Richards of Calan Domestic Violence Service and Cllr Kevin Madge.

Sion Davies and Megan Keyte – head boy and girl respectively for Amman Valley School – gave ‘excellent and powerful’ messages to raise awareness about violence against women and girls as well as speaking about the work the school is doing.

South Wales Guardian: Sion and Megan spoke about the work being done at Amman Valley School.Sion and Megan spoke about the work being done at Amman Valley School. (Image: Office of Joyce Watson)

Sion talked about respect and learning how to have healthy relationships, whilst Megan spoke about how serious the situation is and what needs to be done to change the story.

Ms Watson - MS for Mid and West Wales - said: “Culture change doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s only through catching young people at this stage, teaching about respect and kindness, that things will change.

“I believe it’s possible to end men’s violence against women and girls in our lifetimes, but we need to start with the basics.

“Abuse can start with showing off and silly comments, then build to more serious harassment.

“If left unchallenged, this behaviour can build to a pattern of violence which damages families and communities, and can cascade through generations.

“1.7 million women experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022. Starting young we can change the story.

“Ending violence against women is everyone’s business. We all have a part to play in helping achieve societal change by challenging toxic attitudes that can lead to violence.

“Being allies with girls and women every day shouldn’t be underestimated – even the smallest actions can bring change.

“We need to challenge attitudes in order to change behaviour, and we need to start young. We will not stop until everyone can live fear free.”