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White Ribbon Day comes along this weekend, on the Sunday 25th to be exact, and I hope everyone takes a minute or two to stop and consider what it is all about, particularly the men.
For those who don’t know White Ribbon Days origins or what it is all about you can read more about it in my earlier post “I Swear”, but for those who couldn’t be bothered, White Ribbon Day is a day in which we wear a white ribbon to show our contempt for violence against women.
I won’t be writing a great deal on this post, as I think a picture tells a thousand words, but what one thing I will say is that hitting a woman does not make you a bigger man, in fact quite the opposite.
It is important that as a society we send a clear message that violence against women will not be tolerated.
In Australia we have seen a number of celebrities commit violent acts against women, and I don’t really understand why we continue to support them.
Designer Wayne Cooper for example.
Sarah Marsh, Coopers defacto wife of 12 years came forward with allegations of abuse. Cooper has allegedly hit her in the mouth, splitting her lip, and threatened her with a knife, holding it to her throat and threatening to cut her fingers off. All this after she had just recovered from cancer surgery, what a nice guy.
Yet women still buy his clothes, his rags are still available at Myer “My Store”. Maybe Myer’s next ad campaign could have Jennifer Hawkins made up with a fat split lip and a bruised face, bloodstains down the front of her clothes. Then again, maybe they should just de-range all of Coopers rags.
We love our sport in Australia, we love our footy in particular. Games like Rugby League do so much to promote a healthy attitude towards women. Who can forget the 4 Corners episode that turned the game on its head in 2009 with allegations of a culture of sexual abuse?
There are some players who are genuine exceptions and do promote a healthy attitude to women, players like Hazem El Masri, and Nathan Hindmarsh, who is a White Ribbon Day Ambassador, and I hope these guys influence others.
Meanwhile the NRL code supports bastards like Greg Bird, who was granted bail by the courts, and promptly took off to captain a rugby team in France, after allegations that he beat his girlfriend and then glassed her in the face. Codes like the NRL may see the potential in men who permanently scar the faces of women with broken glass, I don’t.
The number of assaults on women by NRL players are too many to count, but here’s a link to a story on the Roosters Anthony Watts after he was alleged to have beaten up his girlfriend. At what point will the code make a stand that isn’t just a soundbite or a headline to attempt to undo the damage caused by a player? It is about time that something was done to put a permanent end to this behaviour.
Actors like Matthew Newton have also made headlines for all the wrong reasons. I know that there are issues with mental illness in Matthew’s case, but in my mind the jury is still out as to whether that is an adequate excuse. I genuinely hope he is getting the help he needs, and I also hope that Brooke Satchwell and Rachael Taylor received the support they deserved.
Although White Ribbon Day is about violence towards women, we also need to remember that not all violence involves actually striking someone. Threatening behaviour and physical intimidation of women are just as gutless, and just as bad. In fact any intentional act that makes a woman fear for her safety is an act.
Pushing, shoving, or hitting is quite obviously violence, however raising your hand as if to strike a woman, cornering a woman, physically blocking her path are acts of violence. So too are punching walls on either side of a woman’s head, or making threatening gestures and comments towards a woman.
We live in a society that is tolerant most of the time. However violence towards women is one of the things that we should never tolerate.
I hope you will join me in making the pledge, and supporting White Ribbon Day.
To find out how to do your part, check out the website here.
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