White Ribbon Campaign 2019
Never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence towards women.
The White Ribbon Campaign was founded in 2005 and is part of a global movement to end male violence against women and girls. It was formed by a group of pro-feminist men in Ontario in 1991 as a response to the Ecole Polytechnique massacre of female students by Marc Lepine in 1989. Lepine murdered 14 women, and was motivated by misogynistic hate. The White Ribbon campaign was intended to raise awareness of the prevalence of male violence against women. The white ribbons are symbolic of men giving up their arms. White Ribbon is now active in over 60 countries and the movement seeks to promote healthy relationships, gender equality and a compassionate vision of masculinity.
Although initiated by men, White Ribbon and all it stands for has been embraced by many groups within the community including colleges, businesses and women’s groups. It’s a time when communities can get together and embrace a common goal of doing everything possible to eliminate misogynistic hate towards women.
Domestic abuse and men’s violence towards women, doesn’t happen in a social vacuum, the tensions it creates are commonly played out in front of friends, neighbours, colleagues, family and professionals. So, we all have a role to play. We all have the potential to see, hear, ask, listen, question, support, report, challenge, defend. Two women are murdered each week in domestic settings, this is a terrifying figure, but perhaps an equally shocking statistic is that a quarter of all women will encounter domestic abuse at some point in their lives. This means we will all be having regular contact with both perpetrators and survivors. The fact is that domestic abuse will thrive if we as a culture allow it to. But if we all take responsibility and refuse to turn a blind eye, are prepared to notice, question and act, real progress can be made.
White Ribbon UK Founder and President Chris Green OBE says:
“It’s men’s responsibility to stop gender violence, and since men listen a bit more carefully when the message is spoken by other men, we need to challenge each other to do better”.
“If we want to see change, we need to mobilise large numbers. We need to reach music venues, sports clubs, universities. Celebrities speaking out is great, but we want police officers, bus drivers, the whole community to embrace our values. It’s baby steps.”
It’s disappointing but probably true that men listen more carefully to messages from men! But it’s disputable that it’s men’s responsibility to stop gender violence, surely, it’s everyone’s responsibility, including the mother who raises her sons to be respectful towards women, and the female employee who refuses to remain silent about unequal pay. We all need to try harder to do our bit to change the culture in which men dominate and abuse women. If we never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence towards women, together we can help stamp out misogyny.
Broxtowe Women’s Project is working in partnership with Broxtowe Borough Council to celebrate White Ribbon 2019. We are holding awareness stands, breakfast meetings and talks within the borough. We are also putting up white ribbon and mannequin displays in various shop windows. Please spend some time this week thinking about what you might do to progress the goal of ending men’s abuse of women. Small acts and gestures collectively will bring about real change.
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