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Report Launch - White Ribbon Ambassadors: Role Models For Change

(Scroll down to view report or download here).

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The report of our White Ribbon UK Role Models Project was published on 14 August 2018. Funded through the Tampon Tax fund managed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport the Role Models Project took place over 18 months from September 2016. The project has enabled considerable development of the White Ribbon UK Ambassadors programme, resulting in there now being over 760 ambassadors and more than 80 accredited organisations

White Ribbon UK volunteer ambassadors engage with other men and boys to call out behaviour that leads to harassment, abuse and violence when they see it, and to promote a culture of equality and respect. Ambassadors take the message out to their wider communities; to schools and colleges, sports clubs, sporting events, workplaces, venues and festivals.

White Ribbon UK Ambassadors are recruited through word of mouth, social media, our website and at campaign events. An important development of the project is the new online training programme that all Ambassadors must complete. This ensures all ambassadors fully understand the importance of the campaign, the varied and intersectional issues of male violence against women, and their role in being agents for change.

The report was launched at an event that also marked the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in achieving White Ribbon Accreditation.  Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes reiterated her support to ending male violence against women by welcoming and accepting the White Ribbon workplace accreditation on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). Opening the event, she said: “I am thrilled to be hosting the launch of the White Ribbon evaluation report here in Greater Manchester and I am pleased to be accepting the White Ribbon workplace accreditation for the GMCA alongside three of our ambassadors.

 “As outlined in White Ribbon’s latest report - 10,000 women are sexually abused every week in the UK which is simply not acceptable. I hope that with the support of White Ribbon and its ambassadors, alongside the priorities set out in the Police and Crime plan, we can engage with other men and boys in Greater Manchester to call out behaviour that leads to harassment, abuse and violence against women and girls.”

White Ribbon ambassadors are enlisted across the whole of the UK and play a vital role in engaging with men and boys and challenging inappropriate language and behaviour.  GMCA White Ribbon ambassador, Andy Pownall said: “I am incredibly proud to be a White Ribbon ambassador and I am pleased to accept the White Ribbon workplace accreditation on behalf of the GMCA. Throughout my career I have led and worked on numerous domestic violence campaigns and programmes and I am passionate about eliminating domestic violence in our communities. 

“I have professional and personal experiences of dealing with domestic violence and I am pleased that I am able to champion the White Ribbon beliefs and make real change in the workplace, my personal life and within the communities of Greater Manchester to promote a culture of equality and respect.”

 Andy Pownall speaking at the event on what it means to be an Ambassador for the campaign

Andy Pownall speaking at the event on what it means to be an Ambassador for the campaign

Anthea Sully, Chief Executive of White Ribbon UK said  “The project has brought in more ambassadors than we expected who come from a wide range of backgrounds. By launching the report as Greater Manchester Combined Authority achieve accreditation shows what can be achieved by working together.  It was really good to hear from two new ambassadors who were recruited as a result of accreditation.  These shows how the project is driving forward change across communities. We are thrilled to have the support of the Deputy Mayor and Greater Manchester Combined Authority in backing the White Ribbon campaign and I hope other organisations in Greater Manchester take their lead and support the vital work we do in ending male violence again women and girls.”

WHITE RIBBON AMBASSADORS: ROLE MODELS FOR CHANGE

DCMS PROJECT REPORT

Operation Lighthouse - New book by Ryan and Luke Hart

During the Surrey training event, we heard an emotional testimonial from White Ribbon Ambassadors, Ryan and Luke Hart about the tragic death of their mother and sister at the hands of their father, and the subsequent biased media response.

They have released a book about their journey and unique perspective on male violence against women and girls. White Ribbon UK founder, Chris Green OBE, has contributed to the book which is available on Amazon.

Words: Luke Hart

Two years ago our father killed our mother, Claire (50), and our little sister, Charlotte (19), with a sawn-off shotgun before killing himself. This followed nearly three decades of controlling and coercive behaviour and was only four days after my younger brother Ryan, 25 at the time and I, 26, had raised enough money to break our mother and sister from the family home and relocate them to a small rental house five miles away.

We then witnessed a media commentary quoting those that ‘knew our father’ describing him as ‘a good man’, ‘always caring’ and ‘good at DIY’. One report even said that the murders were ‘understandable’.

Following the murders, we began to see the true misogyny which plagues our society. If women’s lives become inconvenient then the collective moral framework is simply reworked to allow the men to remain ‘good men’, even in spite of unprovoked murder. This is setting a very low bar for men indeed; in fact, by that logic it’s hard to think of how a man could possibly ever score below par. Society frequently and preferentially blames weapons for murders, short skirts for rape, or alcohol for assault. Anything but the agency of the man responsible.

Why then does society think that men kill? It appeared that often it’s ‘difficult childhoods’, or ‘uncontrollable male emotions’ or ‘provocation by the victim’. Yet, women live in the same world and we do not see dead men piling up at the hands of women. Men kill because they can, because we will shift the rules of the game to account for male actions. It appears that society will forever degrade women to explain male actions.

We now both speak out against male violence and the biased misogynistic perspective prevalent in our society. We first came into contact with White Ribbon when we were talking about our experiences of domestic abuse to Surrey Police to help educate officers to understand the reality of domestic abuse and its complexity. We immediately knew White Ribbon was an organisation that represented our convictions and one that we aspired to represent. We met White Ribbon founder, Chris Green OBE at a training event for White Ribbon Ambassadors in Surrey. We were infected with his energy and were in admiration of his purpose. Our pledge that day was to release our book to ensure we challenge the beliefs which lead to male abuse and violence against women and girls. We are very grateful for Chris’ support and contribution to the book. His prestige has helped to amplify our voices as we seek to amplify those of victims of domestic abuse everywhere.

Our book, Operation Lighthouse, is available on Amazon now. We hope that it can inspire other White Ribbon ambassadors and continue the great work of the White Ribbon movement.

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Kent Ambassadors Event - One Year On

A year after Kent Police gained accreditation and training, fifty Ambassadors, Champions and Experts spent a half day hearing 9 presentations about how they have managed to involve men and boys in challenging, speaking out about violence against women, and developing the campaign over the last year.

It provided a great insight into the multiplier effect that Ambassadors have on White Ribbon activity.  

"I didn’t know what to do after I said I wanted to be more involved . I didn’t see how putting my signature on the form made a difference. I didn’t get it.  I had to seek out my platform", said DCI Mike Coltham

 

Campaign activity included:

  • Talking to local faith groups about the campaign
  • Working with pubs in the local area during the World Cup
  • Community events in town centres
  • Vlog about the campaign by "Bearded Man against Violence"
  • Ambassadors spoke to friends of their siblings about the campaign 
  • Campaign presentations to every new probationary Police Officer  
  • Bake sales for the campaign
  • Liaising with the Kent perpetrator programme
  • Talking to Armed Forced Networks
  • Ambassadors are committed to recruiting more small organisations in the area, including swimming clubs, police sports association, music venues and tennis clubs.

"If other accredited organisations want to learn what can be achieved with our Ambassador Programme, the Kent ambassadors are a prime example", said Chris Green OBE, Founder of White Ribbon UK, who attended the event, "It’s a great first year and we look forward to even more activity as a result at the end of Year 2".

Assistant Chief Constable Ayling remarked at the closing of the event, "I didn’t see anyone fiddling with their phones all morning, as often happens at these events - people were interested.”

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ACC Ayling adding his handprint to the banner

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Great work by Maidstone Borough Council

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Presentation from Elliott ("Bearded Man Against Violence")

New Masters degree distance course in Understanding Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse

A new MA aimed at people wishing to increase their understanding of the interplay between mental distress, domestic violence and sexual abuse is being offered by Goldsmiths University. The programme is available as a distance learning programme, and includes innovative, interactive, experiential and reflective online teaching. Students will learn how to become reflective and inclusive…

HOPE Not Hate festival in Bradford

Bradford Council hosted the HOPE Not Hate festival last week. Our CEO Anthea Sully was present at our stall, talking to festivalgoers about the importance of the campaign, particularly in music. Ikram Butt, project coordinator for the campaign, gave a rousing speech about audiences being active bystanders and awareness of the issue of violence against women at festivals.

Jo Cox Memorial Rugby Game - White Ribbon UK Trophy

For the second year running, the Jo Cox Foundation, in conjunction with White Ribbon UK, put on a rugby match in Jo Cox's hometown of Batley on 17th June. As part of this year’s Great Get Together, the British Asian Rugby Association played against the British Bulldogs for the White Ribbon UK Jo Cox Memorial Trophy. The carnival atmosphere continued post-match and into the evening…