White Ribbon Video ‘Wish you were here’
December 5, 2012
Three intermediate students at Avalon Intermediate found a unique way to express their support for a friend who was the victim of family violence – they wrote a song which has become the official anthem for the White Ribbon Campaign.
Brooke (11), Alana (12) and Shannyn (13) were deeply upset when it they found out that one of their friends had been affected by family violence and was moving away from Wellington as a result. They weren’t sure what they could do to show their friend how much they cared and would miss her. So, to say goodbye, they wrote the song “Wish you were here” as the result.
The girls began writing the song as a show of support for their friend. But whilst working on it they began to better understand the significant scale of family violence issue throughout New Zealand.
“The song was created from the hearts of three young teenagers, who couldn’t understand why this was happening to families nor why people didn’t stand up against it,” says Brooke’s mother Kim. “As the next generation of New Zealanders, they hope that when people listen to their song, they will understand the pain that family violence causes and lend their support to the White Ribbon campaign. The girls are encouraging people to find a better way to recognise and support someone in need.”
Paul Curry, Families Commission, Chief Executive, heard the girls perform “Wish you were here” at Taita College. “I was deeply moved by the song’s powerful and heartfelt messages, and the love and commitment the girls were showing towards their friend” said Mr Curry.
“So I arranged for the girls and their families to meet with an old friend of mine, entertainer Frankie Stevens. Frankie was as moved and impressed as I was, and approached the girls about making a professional recording, facilitated by prominent Wellington musician Nick Granville.”
The girls launched the song at Avalon Intermediate as part of the White Ribbon Campaign on 19 November.
White Ribbon Campaign Manager, Rob McCann says: “The White Ribbon Campaign celebrates the power of this song to connect with young people. Research has shown that children who witness violence are badly impacted and the effects of this can be long lasting.”
“We want to use this song as an anthem for the Campaign – another powerful way to connect with people and reinforce the White Ribbon message that violence against women – whether physical or psychological – is not acceptable. We’re extremely proud of Brooke, Alana and Shannyn and the passion and commitment they’ve shown towards ending family violence, as well as supporting their friend. I hope New Zealand will listen to the song and feel inspired.”
 ‘Children’s perceptions of violence: the nature, extent and impact of their experiences’, Carroll-Lind, Janis ; Chapman, James ; Raskauskas, Juliana, Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 2011, 37: 1-13