Press Release – White Ribbon
“As the White Ribbon Campaign launches we welcomes David White as a new White Ribbon Ambassador in the fight to end violence against women,” says Families Commission Campaign Manager Rob McCann.07 November 2011
White Ribbon Campaign launches with a new Ambassador
“As the White Ribbon Campaign launches we welcomes David White as a new White Ribbon Ambassador in the fight to end violence against women,” says Families Commission Campaign Manager Rob McCann.
David’s daughter, Helen Meads, was killed by her husband in their Matamata family home in September 2009. Helen was the victim of years of abuse and violence from her husband. Having seen what Helen experienced, Mr White has agreed to become an ambassador to ensure this never happens again.
David White explains. “Our daughter was murdered by her husband in 2009. It was a disgusting end to her brutal marriage. All too common these days; so common, in fact, that domestic abuse cases don’t always make it into the media; so common that when you see a headline you won’t bother reading the article. Your mind has already assumed that this is the type of violence that doesn’t affect us.”
“But is does. Violence occurs across all cultures and all socio-economic groups. Our daughter was married to a very wealthy man. The type of man who could buy silence through his money, and he was assisted by those who stood by, looking, but not seeing.”
“I am speaking out to support the White Ribbon Campaign and in the hope that other women who are experiencing violent relationships, will seek help, and that no one will become complicit by remaining silent.”
Mr McCann agrees. “If men reject the use of violence, the silence that protects such behaviour can not exist. Silence is the oxygen that allows violence to breathe and become the norm in a relationship. Each one of us can play a part in ending that silence, and that is why the White Ribbon campaign asks men to never commit or ‘condone’ violence. Sometimes it’s what we don’t do that makes us complicit.
David White joins an impressive list of White Ribbon Ambassadors which includes the Prime Minister, Ruben Wiki and Stan Walker. The ambassadors form part of the Families Commission’s campaign to raise awareness of men’s violence towards women and encourages men to get involved by challenging behaviours or attitudes that are abusive. The campaign has a number of major components in 2011:
“By wearing a white ribbon, I’m saying I want to make a difference. The question is – what type of man are you?” asks David. “You can help to end the silence by participating in the many White Ribbon Day activities around 25 November. You can help to raise our collective voice and say once and for all, that this country and its men, reject violence against women.”
For more information about the campaign or activities in your local area 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.