White Ribbon bringing its message to the South

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White Ribbon wants help to end men’s violence and sexual harassment against women and the motorcycle riders representing the campaign are bringing that message to Gore and Balclutha.

White Ribbon campaign manager Rob McCann said the Weinstein allegations and subsequent “Me too” Facebook status had demonstrated in a very public manner what family violence organisations had known for a long time.

“That while one in three women experience violence in their lifetime, the number of women that experience issues such as sexual harassment is clearly far higher,” Mr McCann said.

“The rate of ‘me too’ Facebook statuses is a clear indication, if any was needed, that sexual harassment and violence needs not just a voice but a response, and White Ribbon has purposely created a campaign that focuses on violence prevention by asking our men to ‘raise our boys’,” he said.

In 2015, White Ribbon launched its first campaign, which included the issue of consent and the need for an ongoing and enthusiastic “yes”.

Its 2017 campaign would focus on giving fathers the confidence and tools to talk about respectful relationships and respectful sexual relationships, he said.

“Using research conducted by White Ribbon in 2016, where we found dads were happy to talk to their daughters about keeping safe, but not to their sons about respectful relationships.

“Our campaign will be called ‘Raise our Boys’ and will focus on preventing violence and harassment by encouraging dads (and all caregivers) to teach our boys about consent and being respectful.

“We want to give young men permission to move out of the metaphorical ‘man box’.”

This involved treating women as equals, and being flexible and expressive – not what was typically shown in a movie or pornography.

The 2017 White Ribbon Campaign will launch on Wednesday, November 8 with a premiere of a White Ribbon film that discusses how Kiwi men are socialised in ways that lead to violence, anger and self-harm, and how they can develop more positive behaviour.

The campaign is also bringing international anti-violence campaigner and co-founder of White Ribbon Michael Kaufman, of Canada, to New Zealand.

Mr Kaufman will run workshops to increase understanding of how New Zealand males are socialised, how this links with the high levels of family and sexual violence against women, and what can be done about this, and launch new toolboxes for parents, dads, young men and influencers of men, providing tips on how to encourage and role-model healthy relationships.

He will run a workshop in Dunedin on Wednesday, November 15 from 10am at Burns Hall, Mr McCann said.

The White Ribbon riders will be in Gore on Wednesday, November 22 at a venue to be confirmed.

The Balclutha visit will be on November 23 at 9.20am at Rosebank School.