White Ribbon is the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women. In particular, Australia’s unique Ambassadors’ Program supports thousands of men to be the faces and leaders of the campaign, by living the White Ribbon Oath: never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.
Women support White Ribbon Australia through their roles as White Ribbon Champions, encouraging the men in their lives to make a commitment to promote positive attitudes and behaviours towards women, as well as to intervene safely to prevent violence against women when needed. White Ribbon Day celebrates the culmination of the annual campaign and global recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. As such, men and women are encouraged to wear a symbolic white ribbon on 25 November. White Ribbon Day (25 November) also signals the start of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women, which ends on Human Rights Day (10 December).
Many Soroptimist clubs across Australia support the White Ribbon Campaign and hold local events to raise awareness about domestic abuse and the critically important role played by men and boys.
One club ran a two-and-a-half day conference. Day 1 was a half-day workshop by Natjul Indigenous Performing Art Theatre for Change. Day 2 comprised keynote speakers – Michael O’Connell, SA Commissioner for Victims’ Rights, Nick Mazzarella, 2010 White Ribbon Ambassador of the Year and Libby Davies CEO White Ribbon Foundation and concurrent workshops and by various practitioners in the field. Day 3 comprised a one-day workshop by Dr Michael Flood, “Let’s stop the Violence before it starts”. Funds raised by this project will be used to fund other seminars and workshops, including a two day workshop and public meeting by Eddie Gallagher at the request of the Limestone Coast Family Action Group. This group has in the past unsuccessfully sought funding to run this workshop.
SI Adelaide sells white ribbons each year to focus public attention on this issue and to raise awareness. This year they encouraged two White Ribbon ambassadors (males) to sell with them. When selling ribbons, we talk with purchasers about the issues. Some may already be strong advocates, but many are supporters willing to learn much more. One member said “We are heartened by the increasing number of men who are prepared now to stand up and be supportive. Changing community behaviour takes time and we are prepared for the long haul.”
SI Albany joined with the Anglicare – Albany Women’s Centre (AWC Project lead) to gather men and women in the local community to march up the main street on White Ribbon Day and attend a rally in the local park. SI Albany members attended and supported the march.
One club helps to organise an annual White Ribbon Breakfast with four service organisations. There was an overwhelming response from community. This event engaged with men and their families, caused the community to come together and observe violence against women and girls with an effective aim ‘to prevent violence’ and provided leadership for men to become ambassadors for change. The proceeds of this breakfast support the White Ribbon Foundation.
Clubs throughout Australia, PFR: 27890, 27896, 26682, 24976, 24114
- First and foremost, we will never eliminate violence against women and girls if we do not involve men and boys.
- This is an excellent example of a global movement, with a national association, having impact at community level through the efforts of individuals like Soroptimists.
- Each club participating found the best way to raise awareness in their own communities – different localised activities with the same overarching goals and visions.