What are WE going to do about the violence?

Press Release

11 November 2013

What are WE going to do about the violence?

Last week New Zealanders had a wakeup call witnessing the misogynistic attitudes of a group of young men which led to an alleged rape, an act of terrible violence towards women.

“These attitudes are epidemic in our country,” says White Ribbon Chair Judge Boshier. “They result in the 3,500 convictions against men for assaults on women and the ultimately cost the lives of 14 women a year who are killed by their partners or ex-partners.

White Ribbon is the largest male led anti-violence campaign in the world and aims to end men’s violence towards women. This year the campaign is focusing on getting men to take action.

“To end this violence we need to demonstrate to men that this violent behaviour is no longer acceptable,” says Judge Boshier. “Join the White Ribbon Ambassadors and thousands of other men as we take The Pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women.

The Pledge is a simple statement and when taken the men are provided with resources to help them take action and change attitudes and behaviours. The Pledge lets men know that thousands of New Zealanders have got their back, and support their decision to help make Aotearoa a violence-free country. The Pledge can be taken online at www.whiteribbon.org.nz

“While most men are not violent, most violence is perpetrated by men,” says Judge Boshier. “We know that one of the best ways to change behaviour is to change social norms. Right now, far too many people still think that violence is acceptable. And in too many cases, their friends and colleagues don’t speak up. It is that silence that leads men to believe violence is okay. The Roastbuster group is an example of behaviour that was allowed to continue, drawing in other young men and encouraging further repugnant behaviour.

“The time for looking away is over. I’m promoting this pledge because if we all take responsibility for this serious problem, we can change both attitudes and behaviour. For too long I’ve seen the results of family violence, for our mothers, our daughters, our colleagues, our friends and our partners – we need to take a stand, and it starts with The Pledge.

White Ribbon Media Contact:
Rob McCann
White Ribbon Campaign Manager          
Secretariat for the White Ribbon Committee
(04) 917 7045 or 029 917 7045

White Ribbon Campaign Overview

White Ribbon is an international campaign that asks men to show they won’t tolerate or remain silent about violence towards women. It originated as a men’s movement in Canada and is now part of the United Nations annual calendar. The Families Commission took a leadership role in New Zealand in 2006 and the campaign now focuses on the whole of November, culminating on 25 November – White Ribbon Day.

White Ribbon is a campaign to change attitudes and behaviours around men’s violence towards women. This is led by men, for men. This isn’t about finger pointing or apportioning blame. It is about recognising that this is a serious problem, accepting the fact that abuse could be happening around each and every one of us, and acknowledging that it’s critical to step from the side-line and take action. White Ribbon promotes a violence-free culture change in New Zealand and in order to facilitate this, organises nationally-led projects to support local initiatives.

KEY Statistics

  • One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives
  • Less than 20 percent of abuse cases are reported
  • Over 3,500 convictions are recorded against men each year for assaults on women
  • On average, 14 women a year are killed by their partners or ex-partners

Key Messages

  • Violence towards women is unacceptable
  • Violence is not just physical
  • Men are part of the solution
  • You can help fix this problem by taking The Pledge

More information here


  • Take the Pledge and make sure your actions and those of your mates are OK – take action against inappropriate behaviour
  • Make sure the women you know are OK – if not, start a conversation with them, their partners, or with someone who can help
  • For advice call the helplines 0800 456 450 or 0800 733 843 or visit www.nnsvs.org.nz or call the Police
  • Wear a white ribbon every day, join a White Ribbon project or activity and show your support


This year the campaign will focus on men taking The Pledge – to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women. The Pledge can be taken on line at www.whiteribbon.org.nz

The Pledge is both a personal commitment to change, and through the campaign’s media outreach, will also demonstrate that thousands of New Zealanders have got your back – supporting your commitment to change. Through collective responsibility, the campaign will change attitudes and get men to take action. Those actions are detailed here and will be emailed to everyone who takes the pledge.

Key Projects

White Ribbon Ambassadors

There are now 62 Ambassadors who are men from all walks of life who are willing to stand up and support the campaign. Ambassadors include: sports stars Ruben Wiki and Harry Ngata; politicians Prime Minister John Key and Hon Pita Sharples; community leaders Auckland Mayor Len Brown and former Mayor Bob Harvey; Judges Peter Boshier and Ajit Singh; entertainers Stan Walker and Billy TK Jnr and many more. See the full list here.

White Ribbon Ride

The White Ribbon Ride is an exciting initiative to promote a violence-free culture change. The week-long motorcycle tour takes place every November with a lead group of riders steering three convoys through 80 towns in the North and South Islands, picking up support riders in every region. Events are organised in every town, from school and prison visits, marches and breakfasts, to fashion parades, quiz nights and Dads and Lads days. Download the itinerary here.

White Ribbon Online

White Ribbon has an active presence online, including Facebook with multiple posts each day, designed to provoke discussion, raise awareness and share success stories. With a viral reach that can exceed a quarter of a million people, this is a unique medium to join the conversation about ending men’s violence towards women. Visit our Facebook page.

Online Shop

Over 600,000 items were distributed last year to assist communities to promote events and activities. Both resources and merchandise are available from the online shop and donations are also accepted and will go towards the 2014 Campaign. White Ribbon Shop.


The White Ribbon Committee is chaired by Judge Peter Boshier and comprises government departments and NGOs. The committee provides strategic advice to the Campaign and organises a series of projects including the White Ribbon Ambassadors. Increasingly, prominent organisations such as New Zealand Football are promoting White Ribbon as their cause of choice. The campaign is funded by the Families Commission. Further information can be found here.


  • Public Awareness reached a record level of 57% in 2012
  • 237 recorded events in November, a 20% increase
  • 734 articles in the traditional media during November, an increase of 120
  • 88,802 hits on the White Ribbon website averaging at over 240 per day in 2012
  • Over 8,000 Facebook friends with a reach that exceeded 1.7 million in 2012
  • 86 communities were visited by the White Ribbon Riders
  • There are now 62 White Ribbon Ambassadors
  • Full 2012 report available here

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