White Ribbon Foundation: a passion to change
I am a White Ribbon Ambassador. Every year, on 25 November, is White Ribbon Day. The White Ribbon movement is a movement driven by men opposed to violence against women. It came about because of a massacre in Canada that resulted in several men getting together and taking a stand against violence.
It is an unfortunate fact that in my job I have heard horrific tales of violence. The great majority, in line with court stats, has been violence by men to women. This is not to discount violence by women to men, or in lesbian relationships violence by one woman to the other, or in gay relationships- by one to the other, or confusingly in one case a transsexual male to female in a hetero turned lesbian relationship in which the woman was violent to her transgendered partner.
Last year I was asked to be a White Ribbon Ambassador. This involves taking a pledge against violence to women. I consider that violence to women is morally repugnant and had no difficulty with being an ambassador.
In Australia, White Ribbon Day is run nationally by the White Ribbon Foundation. In Queensland, White Ribbon Day is organised by Australia’s CEO Challenge Ltd, a charity of which I am a director.
Last Thursday and Friday the White Ribbon Foundation held a meeting in Sydney over 2 days for state organisers (including the Executive Director of Australia’s CEO Challenge) and a select bunch of ambassadors. I was lucky and privileged to attend. There were men of all different types from all parts of Australia, except Tasmania.
One of them was a man tackling domestic violence in the Kimberleys. Another was a cop from north Queensland. I was one of two lawyers present, the other being there with his guide dog. Another was an ex league player who now ran a charity to help prevent violence to children. Another was a well known media identity, who is passionately opposed to men being violent to women.
The achievements that I have made to end violence and to enable children to be safer seemed very humble compared to what many of the other men present have achieved.
What was extraordinary about the meeting was that here was a group of men of all different types, with many different perspectives, from all over the country, all committed to ending violence against women. As men we bonded very quickly despite our great differences.
All too often, domestic violence is seen as a women’s issue. Women are advocates of change. Men appear to be less involved in the discussion and advocacy. The meeting was a powerful endorsement of the ability of a group of men who have the ability to effect change.