White Ribbon Ride bringing message

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Dozens of motorbikes are set to roar into Gore on this year’s White Ribbon Ride.

The ride highlights New Zealand’s high rate of domestic violence.

Community Connections Centre co-ordinator Kelly Young and Gore Women’s Refuge advocate Shani Hayes are putting plans into place for the Gore visit.

The riders will congregate at the MLT Event Centre on November 22 between 10am and 11am.

Ms Hayes said it was good to have Mrs Young’s help with organising the event.

“It’s good to have that extra bit of support.”

Social agencies, the public and schools were invited to come and talk to the riders and hear their message, she said.

The welcome for the riders would include a powhiri and waiata.

As well as sharing their message the riders would be encouraging the community to get involved and share the message of non-violence, Miss Hayes said.

The White Ribbon Ride encouraged everyone to take a stand, she said.

Mrs Young said the Community Connections Centre supported the national initiative.

The aim of the centre was to support and enable local social service provision, she said.

“We’re happy to support Women’s Refuge.”

The riders may be a rugged, tough-looking crew, but their message is one of the need for respect and to stop violence against women.

White Ribbon Rider and ambassador Colin Agnew said the starting point for putting “things right” was when fathers helped their sons develop respectful behaviour in their relationships.

“All the stats show fathers are more likely to talk to their daughters about the risks of sexual violence and consent,” Mr Agnew said.

They were far less likely to talk to their sons about respectful relationships, sexual or otherwise, he said.

“It is those ongoing talks that strengthen behaviour,” he said.

“People who don’t think this is an important message may be part of the problem,” he said.

“We have seen in recent times high-profile Hollywood producers in the spotlight for violent and abusive sexual behaviour towards women – it happens at all levels of society.”

Mr Agnew said men needed to step outside the stereotyped thinking that reinforced negative behaviour.

He said developing values and empathy gave men better relationships and health and made them happier.

“So the message is out there. We need to be talking with our sons and daughters to help them understand the value of respectful, non-violent relationships.”

Mr Agnew urged people to attend the event.