Save the Date and Take the Oath in Australia to end disrespect, abuse and violence against women during the annual White Ribbon Day, which occurs on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th November.
On average, one woman is killed every week in Australia by domestic violence and this year, White Ribbon Australia is calling on all men to take a stand against disrespectful behaviour and all acts of violence against women.
White Ribbon co-founder Dr Michael Kaufman from Canada, will spend the next week in Australia, travelling the country to talk to the international program embraced by almost 60 nations, where men and boys are engaged in the White Ribbon social movement to prevent men’s violence against women.
“If it were between countries, we’d call it a war. If it were a disease, we’d call it an epidemic. If it were an oil spill, we’d call it a disaster. But it is happening to women, and it’s just an everyday affair. It is violence against women. It is sexual harassment at work and sexual abuse of the young. It is the psychological, emotional, financial and cultural abuse and disrespect that millions of women suffer each and every day. It is rape at home or on a date. It is murder,” said Dr Kaufman.
“This has got to STOP now. Men can and should play a significant role in intervening when they witness disrespectful behaviour and violence towards any woman in any situation. White Ribbon is about giving men and boys the tools to help prevent this violence.”
Leading Australian sport stars, businessmen, musicians have already pledged their commitment as White Ribbon Ambassadors and lent their voice to a television commercial urging men to play an active role in preventing violence against women.
Sydney Kings basketball star Jeromie Hill, comedian and author Marty Wilson, along with the General Manager of the Rugby League Players Association, Clint Newton, are among those who are featured in the ad campaign and have taken the pledge to act on behalf of their wives, partners, mothers, daughters, sisters and all women.
Former Newcastle Knights and Melbourne Storm footballer Clint Newton said when he was younger he struggled to deal with seeing his female friends impacted by domestic violence and abuse. He admits that calling out men and boys he came into contact with who didn’t respect women and girls was challenging, took courage and some friendships ended as a result.
Clint Newton has sent a message to all men. “Don’t stand by and do nothing, nothing is not an option. Take the oath, talk to your mates, be an active bystander, and participate in an event. Your future self and many others are counting on you.”
A “STOP Kit” which includes a guide to help men safely intervene when they witness disrespect, abuse or violence against women, is also a main feature of this year’s campaign.
The “STOP Kit” will be championed by the nation’s Police Commissioners, Federal politicians (at a White Ribbon Day breakfast in Canberra on Tuesday, 28 November) and White Ribbon ambassadors, including musician Reece Mastin and others from all walks of life.
More than 550 community events will be held across Australia this week. In Queensland, White Ribbon Day events will share top billing with Saturday’s State election and the third day of the First Ashes Cricket Test between Australia and England at the Gabba.
White Ribbon CEO, Libby Davies says, there is still time to organise community events for what is the largest grassroots response to abuse and violence against women.
Research shows that people are more likely to take action if the woman being assaulted was a known person (98%) rather than a stranger (92%).¹
“White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for Australian men to pledge their determination to act in all instances where disrespect and violence against women occurs. It is critical that all men understand that they are individually responsible for starting important conversations and raise awareness with their peers, as these are conversations which could be lifesaving,” said Ms Davies.
Support White Ribbon by making a donation: www.whiteribbon.org.au/donate
Funds raised at events across Australia go towards supporting White Ribbon’s national primary prevention initiatives through education programs in schools, workplaces and the broader community.
Learn more about White Ribbon Day: www.whiteribbon.org.au/day
1.  VicHealth, 2014, Findings from the 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS).