the pixel project

The Pixel Project is a completely virtual, volunteer-led non-profit working to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women through innovative on-line campaigns at the intersection of social media, new technologies and popular culture.

This year, The Pixel Project launches their “30 For 30” Father’s Day campaign – a blogging campaign that gets 30 fathers from around the world to answer three questions about the joys of being a Dad and how Dads can help prevent and stop violence against women in positive ways.

These 30 interviews will be published throughout the month of June with one interview featured per day on The Pixel Project’s blog (http://www.thepixelproject.net/blog/) starting from 1 June 2012. New Zealand will be represented by White Ribbon New Zealand’s staff and ambassadors.

Other Pixel Project campaigns include the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign (http://reveal.thepixelproject.net); “Music For Pixels” (http://music4pixels.thepixelproject.net); “Portraits For Pixels” (http://portraits4pixels.thepixelproject.net) and “Paint It Purple” (http://paintitpurple.thepixelproject.net).

The second “30 For 30″ Dad is our very own David White.

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About David White:

David White was born in Pahiatua  in 1944 and attended school there and at Raumati, and was a founding student of Kapiti College in New Zealand . On leaving school, he took a temporary job at Whitcombe and Tombs (now Whitcoulls) and stayed with books, working for publishers and retail booksellers. He retired after selling the Highland Park Bookshop. He now lives in Matamata with his wife Pam. Until the death of his daughter Helen, his retirement consisted of driving a milk tanker for nine months of the year, and fulfilling dreams for the other three. Now responsible for his grandchildren, he is also actively involved in the prevention of violence towards women and is a White Ribbon Ambassador and author of HELEN: The Helen Meads Tragedy. Visit the White Ribbon New Zealand website at https://whiteribbon.org.nz/

David White with a photo of his daughter, Helen Meads

1. What is the best thing about being a Dad?

The gift of creating your own family. There was something quite unique in holding each of our three children for the first time, almost disbelief that Pam and I had been granted the privilege to have such a perfect baby each time.

For me the best time was while they were still young. Being able to play with them and watch them grow from dependant little beings to independent individuals. That stage of saying, “I can do it, Dad” while keeping them in sight in case help really was needed.

Now we have a broken grandchild to bring up. Our eldest daughter, Helen, was murdered by her husband, and her youngest is in our care. She was only nine when her mother’s life ended. We had to become parents again, and to do it a second time around under these conditions was cruel. We were all broken people because of the tragedy and we all had a massive readjustment in our lives.

Now we are two and a half years down the track and several milestones easily come to mind: there was the  first time she laughed again; the first time we heard her singing while climbing a tree in the backyard; the first time she wanted a school friend to come home to play.

These are the rewards of being a Dad.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

My father a a role model. He was an unassuming man; he wanted no fuss made of him, no fuss when he died too young, and no flashy headstone. But the crowds came to his funeral, to pay their respects as he had treated all of them with respect.

“Treat no one with less dignity than how you want them to treat you,” was what he told me from an early age. He practised what he preached and he expected no less from me. I have three older sisters and it was with them that the standard was set from my youngest memories.

He was never one to raise his voice, rarely even to show anger, and he abhorred violence.

The war showed him enough of that. He was a loving man, a gentleman in the true sense of the word. It was as though he found a reason to put each woman he met on a pedestal, each to be respected for their own reason.

I am now 67 and Dad died more than 40 years ago, but I still stand when a woman enters the room and give up my seat on public transport for a woman who is standing. I can hear his disappointment if I didn’t.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

I have to doubt that answering question 3 would have held much merit if Helen was still alive.

Having a daughter murdered changes many things in the way you think. It certainly changed my commitment to speaking out about stopping the violence towards women.

I became an Ambassador for the White Ribbon campaign because of it, and it was an easy choice to make. It gives me the opportunity and platform to take a stand and show that violence is the wrong path to go down, that the end result is always  a tragedy.

I tell young men and boys that it takes a level of bravery on their part to help prevent violence against women, a level that is far more important than the level of cowardliness of those who abuse women behind closed doors. They should help to stop that, as the result otherwise is that another father has to walk in my shoes, and that is where none should have to go.

The ninth “30 For 30″ Dad is Rob McCann from New Zealand.

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The Dad Bio (In His Own Words):

I am currently Campaign Manager at the Families Commission with specific responsibility for the White Ribbon Campaign in New Zealand. White Ribbon is a highly successful campaign led by men who condemn violence against women.  I have over ten year’s experience in marketing and event management, and have also spent time as a press secretary in Parliament.

Rob McCann and his sons (Robbie and Oliver)

1. What is the best thing about being a dad?

I think it’s watching an idea grow. Your children are constantly forming a world view, learning to comprehend what is around them and to understand how everything links together. In many cases you’re responsible for giving your kids the best opportunity to develop. Seeing my kids grow into individuals is awesome. After the serious stuff, I rate the hugs you get that are spontaneous, or the utterance ‘you’re the best dad in the world’ followed by a request for an ice block.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

My dad was a very quiet man who was 59 when I was born. So in some ways he was a grandfather to me. He treated all people with respect, was slow to anger and despite being pro corporal punishment, he preferred a chat. This was his way and he treated women and men in the same manner. That rubs off on you, the idea of all people being equal and deserving respect.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

In New Zealand, White Ribbon is a campaign with a mission to end men’s violence against women. I’m proud to be the Campaign Manager. It speaks to men in ways that men understand, using role models in the form of White Ribbon Ambassadors who are able to show that being a real man is not about using violence on anyone. By talking openly about the issue and motivating others to join White Ribbon, we are creating a new norm in New Zealand.

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About whiteribbonnz
White Ribbon is a community led campaign to end men's violence towards women

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