Sixteen years ago, in 2002, I was the victim of a violent attack at the hands of my ex-husband. For the purposes of anonymity, let’s call him Tom. White Ribbon recently asked the journalists and bloggers on their supporter list to write about what the campaign means to them. For the first time, I find myself publicly sharing my story in the hope that it might inspire just one more person to speak up and save a life.
The UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is on 25th November. This is the first day of the 16 Days of Action, where our 1000-strong network of volunteers campaign against violence against women, working with communities in putting on events across the country.
White Ribbon UK works predominantly with men, asking them to stand up and take responsibility in ending violence against women, as it is still considered a ‘women’s issue’. By an overwhelming majority, most violence against women is perpetrated by men, and this can only be changed by ending the sexist cultures that give rise to abuse against women.
How can I help?
Firstly, it is important to make a public statement that you oppose violence against women by wearing a white ribbon and pledging never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women:
Only by fully understanding the oppressive balance of power in our society can men affect change. Sign up to become an ambassador, and complete our free e-learning course to gain a better understanding of how male violence against women is propagated by our society, and how to change things (particularly around White Ribbon Day). Once you have completed the training, specialist campaign resources are made available to you:
Organisations can gain White Ribbon Status by filling in an action plan to ensure policies are in place to safeguard women both in their workplace and client-side, including signposting, information, campaign literature and staff training:
If you are planning an event of some kind to mark White Ribbon Day, register it to ensure others know what campaign work is happening in their area:
Finally, below are some resources and links that are free to use during the campaign period:
If Love Hurts has been developed to mark White Ribbon Day. Director Peter Giblin says,
The film explores the emotional aspect of domestic abuse and how that abuse takes place within a context of love. It takes on average up to eight abuses before a victim will feel able to speak out. Often, victims of domestic abuse love their abusers, as well as fear them. Frequently victims will not realise they are in an abusive relationship. This is why the message of the film says ‘If love hurts, it’s not love’.
People have been asking where to get white ribbons in Wales:
Following his election to the National Assembly for Wales, Jack Sargeant has been working hard to ensure his dad’s work and legacy is continued. Carl Sargeant was a keen advocate for victims, survivors and services that support people who have experienced domestic abuse. He spent much of his time working to improve services including initiating the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015.
To raise awareness of this issue, Jack recently wrote to the Assembly’s Presiding Officer. Following discussions on the matter, it has been agreed that the white ribbon will be sold in the Tŷ Hywel shop throughout November. It has also been agreed that the white ribbon will be sold in the Senedd shop during November.
Commenting on the announcement, Jack Sargeant said,
Domestic violence is the biggest killer of girls and women aged 16-44. I believe we should make the white ribbon readily available for the general public to make the pledge to never excuse, commit or remain silent about male violence against women.
I’m delighted that the Presiding Officer has agreed to sell the White Ribbon in the Senedd shop. It will give visitors the opportunity to learn more about this issue and buy a ribbon.
White Ribbon Day and the 16 Days of Action are 2 months away, and to help you prepare for this we have created specialist resources for your campaign work.
These are only accessible to White Ribbon UK Ambassadors and Champions who have undertaken the campaign training syllabus. Help us to end male violence against women by completing the brief e-learning course as a volunteer ambassador or champion for White Ribbon UK, and gain access to the specialist campaign resources:
Further to this, additional event kits are available on our shop, including hand-print kits for the Hands Are Not For Hurting event.
Please submit any public campaign events on our events page so we can help make your invaluable campaign work a success.
Our 1000-strong nationwide network of volunteer ambassadors and champions are the reason we believe that we can end male violence against women once and for all.
Let's make 2018 the year for change.
As part of their upcoming accreditation, Rugby League club Wigan Warriors have developed a campaign against male violence towards women, supported by White Ribbon UK. This is an important moment for sport as the team are a Professional Super League Club and have a large fan base.