White Ribbon Campaign: Men Working to End Violence Against Women
Written by: Sophie Taylor and The White Ribbon Campaign
White Ribbon Campaign UK is part of a global movement to put a stop to male violence against women and girls. This is not and never has been a “women’s issue”. The campaign addresses men directly so they understand the scale of the problem and become part of the solution, alongside women.
‘Everyone has a crucial role to play in creating a culture where male violence, abuse and harassment against women and girls are simply seen as unacceptable.’ The campaign supports us all to take a stand against gender violence in their workplaces, schools, communities and families.
The White Ribbon Campaign is not anti-male – this is about creating space for more positive, healthy ways of identifying as male. Most men are opposed to violence against people, regardless of gender, and restrictive gender roles harm all of us, however we identify.
On the 25th November, the world marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day. From then until the 10th December, the campaign aims to encourage everyone to take part in the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.
Domestic violence and violence against men and women is not gender specific. Every act of violence is wrong and everyone, regardless of gender, has the right to a life free of violence. Statistics show that domestic abuse against men is increasing in the UK. If you are a man experiencing violence, you do not have to put up with it. Help is available. Contact Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327. Respect, a charity helping men and women to work together to end domestic violence, run an online contact centre. Refuge also have an area of their website dedicated to violence against men.
The rates of violence against men has almost doubled since 2005. The BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast obtained figures from the Crowns Prosecution Service showing that almost 4,000 women were successfully prosecuted in the past year, compared with 1,500 women in 2005, a 169% increase. However, statistically, males remain the main offenders of violence with the numbers convicted increasing from more than 28,000 in 2005 to just over 55,000 in 2010.
‘A staggering one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime—a pandemic of global proportions. Unlike an illness, however, perpetrators and even entire societies choose to commit violence—and can choose to stop. Violence is not inevitable and can be prevented. But it’s not as straightforward as eradicating a virus. There is no vaccine, medication or cure. And there is no one single reason for why it happens.’
As such, prevention strategies should be holistic, with multiple interventions undertaken in parallel in order to have long-lasting and permanent effects. Many sectors, actors and stakeholders need to be engaged. More evidence is emerging on what interventions work to prevent violence—from community mobilisation to change social norms, to comprehensive school interventions targeting staff and pupils, to economic empowerment and income supplements coupled with gender equality training.
In 1991, a handful of men in Canada decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out against violence against women. They decided that wearing a white ribbon would be a symbol of men’s opposition to men’s violence against women. After only six weeks preparation, as many as one hundred thousand men across Canada wore a white ribbon. Many others were drawn into discussion and debate on the issue of men’s violence. There are now White Ribbon Campaigns operating in many countries around the world. The UK Branch of WRC was started in 2004.
What does it mean to wear a white ribbon?
Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. Each year, they encourage men and boys to wear a ribbon for one or two weeks, starting on November 25, the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women.
What are the goals of the WRC and how do volunteers accomplish these objectives?
The White Ribbon Campaign are an educational organisation, encouraging reflection and discussion that leads to personal and collective action among men. Throughout the year, they encourage men to do educational work in schools, workplaces and communities, to support local women’s groups, to raise money for the international educational efforts of the WRC.
They distribute Education and Action kits to schools and speak out on issues of public policy. Some local groups organise events to talk about positive roles for men, about the importance of men being care givers and nurturers and the importance of building healthy relationships.
Get involved by wearing, swearing and sharing:
WEAR – Get your hands on a white ribbon badge and wear it proudly to show your solidarity.
SWEAR – Sign the pledge. Over 25,000 men and boys in the UK, and many thousands more worldwide, have already committed to oppose violence against women and girls. Join now by making your pledge never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.
More ways to help:
MAKE A DONATION – To help make the world a safer place for women and girls, and create more positive ways of being a man. They will send everyone who donates a White Ribbon badge and a Starter Pack for supporters, and send you Campaign updates.
BECOME AN AMBASSADOR – They’re looking for influential men and boys to encourage other men and boys to take a stand against gender violence. To be role models who inspire and inform through talking in schools, workplaces etc., on social media and through their own personal behaviour. They call out abusive and sexist behaviour wherever they witness it. They listen to and support women, and encourage other men and boys to step up. They show we do not buy the idea that being a man means being aggressive and dominant.
GET INVOLVED – There are hundreds of events taking place across the UK on 25th November and during the 16 Days of Activism. Contact your local council’s Domestic Violence Co-ordinator to find out more, or organise your own event, now and throughout the year! Take a look at their “Get Involved” page for more ideas.
STAY IN TOUCH – Keep up to date by signing up for their newsletter. Be part of the growing network of men who will never allow violence against women and girls to go unnoticed and unchallenged.
Currently showing at Camden People’s Theatre, performance artist Tom Marshman’s play Kings Cross (Remix) is a glorious celebration of a bygone era. The show is a tightly crafted journey through the stories of some of the people who made up the 1980s Kings Cross LGBTQ scene. Bursting with warmth, charm and affection, the play is a must see for anyone interested in learning more about London’s alternative history.
The Londoner behind 'Strong and Stable My Arse'. It’s a simple message. A slogan that’s straight to the point. 'Strong and Stable My Arse’ is a statement everyone can understand with a wry grin as they spot it slathered onto billboards, phone boxes and brick walls around the UK. So who could possibly be behind such a simple, cheeky, dig in the ribs campaign? Someone who knows his audience, who knows the mindset of the British like the back of his left hand.
For some, a second bank holiday brings with it an extra day of anxiety as you wonder how to fill the 24 hour void that desk bound coffee fuelled typing usually fills. If you’re not content to lie horizontal letting gravity slide pizza down your throat, here’s our plans for your second Bank Holiday of the month.
“Only last night I found myself lost / by the station called King's Cross. / Dead and wounded on either side / you know it's only a matter of time.” [Pet Shop Boys - Kings Cross] It’s the night after the play and I’m standing at the bar of ‘The Big Chill House’ on Pentonville Road in Kings Cross. It’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ (#TBT) and happy hour is definitely over.
Ceramics with charisma. Local pottery genius, Laura Bird has of course graced the digital pages of It’s Nice That, sold out in Anthropologie* and taken her seat at many a London ceramics stall since just recently starting her career in ceramics. It’s no surprise she is well loved: her unique and gentle humour exudes from every jar, planter and candlestick holder, adorned with cheeky expressions and impish grins.
Having worked in hospitality with a keen artist’s eye, the Arts Building knew Emma was perfect to take over the space. They were after a morning to night eatery for the neighbourhood, one for local residents and workers alike. Knowing the street’s reputation as a bit of a foodie strip, the menu had to be up to scratch for it’s discerning super-taster of a community. Yes, we’re a hungry bunch in Stroud Green.
At the time of writing this the menu has just been released for Food by Feast’s new supper club. I imagine, however, that by the time you read this every dining space will be swiftly filled. If you aren’t acquainted with the duo yet (tsk), they’re the genius collaboration of Cordon Bleu chef and food writer Olivia Potts and Guardian food writer and cook, Kate Young. Having successfully completed the likes of a Gilmore Girls supper club to rapturous applause and smacking lips recently, the latest menu experience is Twin Peaks inspired and looks equally witty and delectable.
Sound healing in Stoke Newington. This Thursday 18th May, The Mystery School of Sound are running a de-stress gong bath experience in Stoke Newington Ramadan Mosque. Alongside guided meditation, healing process and gong performace, you’ll get a mini intro to healing traditions of the druids and hermetic teaching.
Patron Cave a Manger’s pop up cinema are shacking up at The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town to screen The Artist. Soak up the atmoshpere of the Festival du Cannes with swanky popcorn and elegant cocktails. Get red carpet ready for this special screening of The Artist - the ridiculously popular award winning silent French film that everyone fell in love with.
Unfortunately rising rents are affecting community spaces in Stoke Newington and their availability. St Mary’s Centre currently provides a space for projects including the Foodbank, Hackney Migrants centre and the Night Shelter but they're at risk of losing their space. To help raise funds to redevelop the space and increase awareness, they are organising a weekend food market in Stokey. The pop-up food market is a launch event for their huge fundraising drive to rebuild the community rooms attached to St Mary's Church in Stoke Newington.
Healthy chocolate mousse and sexing up your smoothie with Kate Oates. We have found ourselves a yoga guru in Kate Oates, a healthtastic yogi based in Crouch End. When we met her last year she hinted at a few of her own culinary creations and boy were we intrigued. Asking for an exclusive recipe for you health conscious readers, we received a taste sensation of an idea for chocolate breakfast.
“All My Single Cylinders, All My Single Cylinders”. Two girls, sick to the back teeth of Tindering and Bumbling about the bars of London, decided to create their own speed dating night. Involved in the biker community of East London they have created a special series of nights combining live music, motorbikes and speed dates. Bolt Motorbike Shop of Stoke Newington is their latest venue, providing a more intriguing backdrop for your date night and quashing the usual awkwardness of sparse, brightly lit speed dating scenarios. You can admire the motors, enjoy your free drinks and listen to some live music with some top notch handpicked company.
In case you’ve never had a piirakka, (also known as Karelian pasties, pies or pirogs) they’re a delicious Finnish treat that you need to try immediately. Whether savoury or sweet, they’re basically a light pastie made with rye flour and a pretty unique variety of filling options. Meet Aapo Nieminen, a native Finnish local who grew up with piirakka. After getting tired of asking friends and family to bring him these naughty little pasties whenever they visited he came up with a plan. “They are an important part of everyday finish life. One day I thought why not just make them yourself?”
The lycra is optional. Coffee however, isn't. On Friday 197 cyclists descended on Sardinia to compete in the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia. For those of you that don't have wardrobes filled with lycra you might never of heard of it but Think Tour d'France but in Italy. Still drawing a blank?
Naked Dough have appeared like a pair of beautiful fairy godmothers to lead me to an actual edible cookie dough dance party. Plus they didn’t even tell me what I should wear, they genuinely don’t care. Naked Dough is a new restaurant serving edible cookie dough from tubs, cones and even carry home pots. The ingredients are raw egg free and the flour is heat-treated so you need not worry-like-Edwina-Currie about salmonella and stomach bloat (unless you’re gluten free of course. In which case I’m sorry you’ve stumbled upon this torture page of an article).
Ten years ago MINT Vintage first opened in Covent Garden before moving on to the more creative surrounds of Stoke Newington, pioneering fashion forward vintage. Every piece is hand selected and sourced from all over the world, ensuring every garment is trend driven but timeless and always unique. This May they’ve decided to transform their world in to an “oops we were trying to make corduroy and came up with denim” dreamland*.