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Firstly, I apologise for the title, and trust me I’m no Boyz 2 Men fan, the reason for this title will become apparent in the video at the end of the post.
However, I make no apologies whatsoever for pushing this cause.
Over the last couple of months we have been hearing a lot about abuse, and misogyny, and despite these being ugly subjects, I think it is good to bring these subjects to light. It is only by acknowledging and then working together that we can have any serious impact on reducing the statistics of these heinous acts.
Coming up on the 25th November is White Ribbon Day.
White Ribbon Day is a day that we campaign to end the violence towards women, and I hope all who read this will support the cause, both women, and particularly the men.
This is a day that there should not be any debate about, it should have bi-partisan support. Whether you are married or single, gay or straight, one thing we all have in common, no matter what your background, as we all have a mother.
I’m not going to try and tell you how White Ribbon Day came to be, or to tell you its significance, I will leave that to someone far more qualified than I.
Below is the Hansard Transcipt of a speech made by NSW Labor MP and MLC, The Honorable Peter Primrose on November 13th.
Peter is a member of my local Labor branch, a tireless worker for many causes, a strong voice for a State that needs one, I’m proud to say a mate, and he is also an Ambassador for White Ribbon Day.
On the afternoon of 6 December 1989 a young man walked into a university in Montreal, Canada, armed with a semiautomatic rifle and a hunting knife. He entered a classroom, separated the male and female students, stated that he was “fighting feminism” and opened fire. Six women were killed in that classroom and a total of 14 women were murdered by him that day. His actions traumatised a nation and highlighted the issue of violence against women around the world. In 1991 a handful of men in Toronto launched Canada’s White Ribbon campaign, an annual violence against women awareness raising event held between 25 November and 6 December—the anniversary of that Montreal massacre. Eight years later, in 1999, the United Nations General Assembly declared 25 November the “international day for the elimination of violence against women” with the now iconic white ribbon as its symbol. White Ribbon Day began in Australia in 2003 as part of UN Women and formally became a foundation in 2007.
It is now Australia’s only national male-led campaign to prevent violence against women. White Ribbon believes in the goodness of most men. It believes that good men reject violence against women and are willing to act to prevent it. White Ribbon believes in the capacity of the individual to change and to encourage others to change. The campaign is focused on primary prevention. In other words, it works to change our culture to stop the violence before it occurs with activities in schools, workplaces and the broader community.
The 1993 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines “violence against women” as:
“Any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.”
Violence does not refer just to physical acts; it refers also to non-physical acts including emotional, verbal and financial abuse, sexual discrimination and forced isolation. Every year White Ribbon runs an awareness campaign about the issue of violence against women and the role men can play in preventing such violence. In 2012 White Ribbon encourages men to stand up to violence against women with the knowledge that thousands of good men have resolved to do the same. White Ribbon’s new campaign highlights that men can challenge their mates and others in a way that does not endanger their own safety, knowing that there are many good men who support their actions. The chain starts with good men standing up and letting the perpetrators know that violent attitudes and behaviour towards women are never acceptable in any circumstances.
Violence against women is a grave problem. One Australian woman is killed every week by a current or former partner. One in three women over the age of 15 report physical or sexual violence at some time in their lives. One in four young people have witnessed violence against their mother or stepmother. Two-thirds of women who experience domestic or family violence are in paid work. Domestic and family violence is the major cause of homelessness for Australian women and children. According to KPMG, violence against women and children cost the Australian economy $13.6 billion in 2009 and if no action is taken to prevent it that sum will increase to $15.6 billion per year in 2021.
I am proud to be one of the many White Ribbon ambassadors. The violence perpetrated by men against women must stop and it is up to men to stop it.
I know I’m probably preaching to the converted, but I hope you all support this cause.
Please share it, post it, tweet it or whatever, just spread the message around.
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