Have you ever had the experience of the same message coming at you from different and unconnected places and people? Have you ever become convinced that a call was being put on your life through these different voices? Have you ever wondered whether this wasn’t just a coincidence, but the voice of God.

Those have all been part of my experience. Over the course of a few weeks, I heard the same thing over and over, from different people and directions and I concluded that this was the voice of the Lord, and that I had to respond.

First, my son’s friend was ‘spiked’ – a nasty kind of attack that was happening a lot at the time, when someone adds a cocktail of drugs to a girl’s drink without their knowledge, or ‘spikes’ her with a syringe. The assault on her made her ill enough to end up in hospital.

Then I met a woman who told me about a sexual assault that had taken place in her workplace and the subsequent failure of her organisation to support her and to follow up with the assailant.

Then, a couple of days later, PC Sarah Everard was murdered in London.

And finally, I read the report produced by the Mothers Union ‘No more 1-in-3’ campaign. The campaign name comes from the fact that 1 in 3 women worldwide, in the course of their lifetime, will be subjected to sexual abuse or violence. I knew that violence against women was a problem, but that statistic shocked me deeply – perhaps because I’ve got three daughters.

Every form of abuse is an affront to God, and this level of violence, aggression and assault against women demands our response.

It is men who need to step forward and take responsibility

It is men who need to step forward and take responsibility. Violence and serious assault against women is one end of a spectrum that starts with sexist language and comments – almost always from men. So, Dads need to raise their children, especially their boys, both to respect and honour all people, including girls and women and to speak up when they see that not happening. Young men need to have the courage to build a culture which does not tolerate sexist language or behaviour. Boys need to be supported to develop a healthy understanding of masculinity.

The White Ribbon campaign invites boys and men to make a commitment to never use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women. I wholeheartedly support the campaign and will be recommitting myself to their pledge on White Ribbon Day, November 25.

I invite all men and boys to do the same and to be ready to call out sexism and aggression towards women, to promote a society in which an unhealthy masculine behaviour is challenged and to take responsibility for building a world in which 1 in 3 women do not have to experience violence and abuse.

Will you join me?