Last year we talked about the unspoken rules – clichés about masculinity that men and boys inherit from society. By turning these rules around into positive statements, we encouraged people to challenge them. The message resonated well with our Ambassadors and audience alike.

The 2020 November Campaign will pivot the focus from the unspoken to the outdated and focus on the advice men have been given when growing up that we can now see as unhealthy. The campaign will continue to take a conversational tone and use the common expressions that men would have heard growing up. These unhealthy attitudes will literally be overwritten with positive alternatives – creating new, modern alternatives to outdated ideas of masculinity.

This campaign continues our focus on Respectful Relationships which are built on equality between women and men, the effective use of non-violent communication, flexible gender behaviour for men and women and respectful sexual relationships, which includes consent.

When we say things like “Show them who’s boss”, “Kids should keep quiet” or “Treat em mean, keep em keen” we’re putting limits on how kids interact with their world and how they develop their relationships. Many men have grown up hearing these things and end up copying these unhealthy attitudes and behaviours – even if they don’t like or agree with them.  At their worst, these attitudes and behaviours can lead to violence toward women. This violence affects our families, our communities, and our whole country.

So how do we change it? In all of our relationships – whānau, friends, colleagues, teammates – we can challenge the #outdated stereotypes of what it means to be a man. We can role model healthy relationships and focus on strength that comes from a kaupapa of respect and aroha. We can call each other out and encourage more kōrero about gender equality.

By challenging each other in constructive ways we become stronger, and support change for those who need it the most. It’s time to shake off the old and reveal the new.


What your organisation can do to support White Ribbon and help to reduce violence



COVID19 Response

In an unprecedented national emergency, everyone in New Zealand has found themselves cooped up inside for the COVID-19 lockdown period. In any household, “cabin fever” creates tension – but it becomes a huge risk for families with a history of domestic violence. Use these simple behaviours to create a safe and happy lockdown for everyone.


Not scared spaces – shared spaces.
Tē wāhi whakamataku, he wāhi manaaki kē

All of us have the right to feel safe, happy and cared for in our own homes. As families, we all get on each other’s nerves – even without a lockdown – but in these challenging times we need to look out for each other and make sure we’re creating positive places to spend time together. As parents, our kids learn their behaviour from us. Be respectful of your partner, be kind to your kids and together let’s create a space where we can say #ourhouserules!

If you think you are going to harm a loved one, reach out and call – 0800 HEY BRO.



Stay at home – but stay connected.
Noho takitahi, engari, tūhono tonu.

There are so many ways we can stay in touch these days – from the classic phone call, a simple txt, to video calls and online games. It’s important that we stay connected, even if we’re in isolation. If you feel like you’re getting overwhelmed or angry – call a mate you trust to vent and talk it through. Give your partner some time out to have a coffee or a cuppa with a mate over a video call. Set up a video call with the kids and their grandparents, cousins or friends.

And if you’re concerned about someone in a bad situation, reach out and ask how they’re going. Emergency services and refuges are essential services that are always available, lockdown or not. Contact Women’s Refuge on 0800 733 843 or Shine* on 0508-744-633.

If you are in immediate danger, call 111 and ask for the police. If you think you are going to harm a loved one, reach out and call – 0800 HEY BRO.



Don’t take it out on them – take a walk.
Kia kaua e riri, me hikoi ki te pai

While we’re in lockdown, it’s ok to go outside for fresh air and exercise. As long as we’re staying in our neighbourhood, and sticking to advice about keeping a 2-metre distance between us and others, we’re all good. If you find yourself getting frustrated, let your family know that you need to take a walk. Be respectful too – check how your partner is doing, maybe they could use some fresh air. If the kids need to burn off some energy, take them for a bike around the block. Find ways to get outside and take that time out, but stick to the lockdown rules.

If you think you are going to harm a loved one, reach out and call – 0800 HEY BRO.


White Ribbon promotes Respectful Relationships to prevent domestic and sexual violence against women.

Respectful Relationships are based on:

  • Equality between men and women. Gender equity in personal relationships and all social spheres, reduces violence against women.
  • Flexible gender behaviour for all. Having men breaking out of the Man Box and choosing their own masculine identity prevents the use of violence.
  • Non-violent communication. Men being emotionally aware and expressive gives them alternatives to aggression.
  • Enthusiastic consent for all sexual activities. Having willing participation is crucial to preventing sexual violence.

Check out the information in Respectful Relationships in the Toolbox section.




2019 November Campaign

Challenge the #Unspoken Rules

Unspoken Rules are the expectations that boys and young men inherit from society, based on outdated ideas of what a man is, how he acts, and how he should express himself.

Even if we don’t agree with them, these rules still exist silently in the background for far too many. Rules like, Be the Man, Toughen Up and Boys Don’t Cry reinforce unhelpful stereotypes about what it is to be a man.

These #unspoken rules put pressure on boys and young men to behave in certain ways and dismiss behaviours perceived as“unmanly”,  leading them to suppress their emotions and their individuality. This affects how our boys and young men feel about themselves, and how they treat others. It affects how they approach their relationships, and can lead them to act disrespectfully – even violently – toward their partners.

We have the opportunity to use our voices as parents, caregivers and influencers to speak up over the #unspoken. By saying out loud to our boys and young men that it’s ok for them to be who they are, we can encourage them to define themselves as men who have respectful relationships – protecting our whole community.

For more information about the #UnspokenRules Campaign click here.

We hear the #UnspokenRules when we are young and for many they become ingrained, negatively affecting our behaviour and our relationships. This year we will hear from students about their take on Respectful Relationships (which are a protection against violence).


To help ends men’s violence, check out these eight actions.

Talk to women about their experiences with men – and believe what they tell you

Ask myself how I’ve treated women, and how I can behave more respectfully

Disrupt other men when they disrespect or threaten women – Bystander Intervention

Treat women as equals in everything we do and have less stress and be happier.

Choose how I will be a man and how I will act. Holding to rigid ideas is unhealthy.

Talk with young man about ‘breaking out of the man box’ you must appear tough etc

Think about what I’m watching and the media I use. Use your ‘crap-detector’.

Talk with young men about respectful relationships and porn. If you don’t who will?