Press Release – White Ribbon
“The White Ribbon Campaign welcomes Trevor Simpson (Tuhoe, Ngati Awa), as a new White Ribbon Ambassador in the fight to end violence against women”, says Families Commission Campaign Manager Rob McCann.2 November 2011
Māori health promoter wholeheartedly supports White Ribbon campaign
“The White Ribbon Campaign welcomes Trevor Simpson (Tuhoe, Ngati Awa), as a new White Ribbon Ambassador in the fight to end violence against women”, says Families Commission Campaign Manager Rob McCann.
“The White Ribbon Campaign raises awareness of men’s violence against women with White Ribbon Ambassadors encouraging men to get involved by helping to challenge and change men’s abusive behaviour and attitudes towards women”.
Trevor, who works as a Senior Health Promotion Strategist for the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand, is thrilled to be supporting the campaign which he believes is growing in prominence every year. His work as a Māori health promoter reminds him every day of the importance of violence-free homes.
“Through my work as a health promoter I know that a safe, protected and happy home environment is one of the key determinants of health. We know that when homes are experiencing violence and unrest, there are long term implications on a person’s health and wellbeing”.
Seeing too many Māori families affected by violence has inspired Trevor to become a White Ribbon Ambassador.
“In terms of the social determinants of health and wellbeing, Māori are over-represented in domestic violence statistics. We must draw attention to that fact that this is happening so that change can occur. I hope that all communities throughout New Zealand will no longer tolerate violence in our homes. By being a White Ribbon ambassador I will work to spread this message”.
The campaign is led by the Families Commission which actively supports a suite of family violence initiatives including the It’s not OK campaign, the Family Violence Clearinghouse, Family Violence Statistics report and the White Ribbon Campaign.
“I feel passionate about the campaign as it empowers communities to look at their own issues, resolve to make change and work together to find solutions. When this is coupled with support from government, social services and wider whānau, we can truly change behaviours and attitudes”.
The campaign uses male ambassadors to speak with other men and communities, an approach which has proven to be very successful. These ambassadors play a vital role in building support and promoting the white ribbon message within their social groups, workplaces and communities.
“I believe that White Ribbon ambassadors and men who get involved symbolise ‘nurturing warriors’ who together spread peaceful and powerful messages within their communities. They show other men how to be protectors and providers for their families, and above all how to do it in a non-violent manner” says Trevor.
For more information about the White Ribbon campaign, including the full range of activities happening in 2011, visit www.whiteribbon.org.nz.
Key messages of the White Ribbon Campaign
Violence towards women is unacceptable
It is ok to ask for or offer help
• No violence is tolerable. If you know someone who is being frightened or intimidated by the behaviour of someone else, it is not OK.
• Violence isn’t just the physical, it’s also emotional or verbal behaviour used to control someone through fear. Things we say, or don’t say, contribute to the abuse.
Men must stand up and provide leadership
• White Ribbon Day is the international day when people, particularly men, wear a White Ribbon to show they won’t tolerate, condone or remain silent about violence towards women.
• It originated as a men’s movement in Canada and is now part of the United Nations annual calendar (International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women). The Families Commission took a leadership role in New Zealand in 2006.
Men are part of the solution
• Whether you are a husband, father, brother, uncle or granddad – we all have women in our lives that we love, and wouldn’t want to see subjected to violence. We all want our children to grow up in a happy, healthy environment and to go on to have happy, healthy relationships.
• The campaign aims to change men’s attitudes and behaviours predominately through men talking to men, in ways that men understand. Men are role models for our children. We need to nurture a culture that encourages respect and rejects violence.
• Like our White Ribbon Ambassador Ruben Wiki, we can play sports with controlled aggression, ride bikes and engage in physical activities, but we must not bring violence into our homes.
• By simply wearing a White Ribbon, you can make it clear to other men that you do not tolerate violence against women.
• You can also make sure your home, your business or your sports club is a safe environment where abusive behaviour is not tolerated.
• The White Ribbon Campaign encourages men to talk openly about domestic violence, to break the silence around the subject. We encourage men to challenge comments, statements and actions that are abusive, and support those who wish to change their abusive behaviour.
Ruben Wiki was the first White Ribbon Ambassador. There are now some 20 Ambassadors including the Prime Minister.
White Ribbon Ambassadors are chosen for:
• their support for the principles of the campaign.
• their willingness to challenge the behaviour of abusive men.
• their willingness to encourage others to do the same.
• their commitment to conveying the messages of the White Ribbon Campaign to other men within their community.
Statistics in New Zealand:
• In New Zealand most violence towards women takes place in the home.
• In violence between couples, it is men’s violence that is most likely to cause serious physical or psychological harm.
• An average of 14 women a year are killed by their partners or ex-partners.
• There are over 3500 convictions recorded against men each year for assaults on women.
• One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives.
The Families Commission and White Ribbon Committee works with multiple agencies and NGOs to coordinate the national campaign. The White Ribbon campaign complements but is separate to the family violence It’s not OK campaign.