December 20, 2015
White Ribbon asks men to stand up and not remain silent when we see behaviour that is violent and/or demeaning to women. Remaining silent allows the violence and sexism to go unchallenged and to be accepted. That does not mean that challenging behaviour has to occur in the glare of the media. Sometimes, it is the quiet word and respectful discussion that creates real change.
Recently, The Rock radio station created a segment that referenced male rape in a manner that trivialised this horrific violence. It was an awful exercise in bad taste and helped to perpetuate violence by normalising and trivialising it. We understand that some people won’t see it that way, it will be in their eyes just a joke. We however do not agree.
Currently 14 women die every year at the hand of a partner or ex-partner, and we have the highest reported rate of intimate partner violence in the developed world. It is by accepting or ignoring the denigration of women, that we teach our children such behaviour is ok. If you struggle with this concept, we ask you to watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP7OXDWof30 and we hope you’ll come to the conclusion, that our behaviour can create the environment that normalises and abets violence.
As many people know, a White Ribbon Ambassador (the Prime Minister) was involved in an on-air segment on the Rock which was highly offensive. We have reached out to the Prime Minister, and we are informed that he did not know what was about to occur, and did not at the time comprehend the rape references or make any. We take the Prime Minister at his word.
The Radio Station however were aware that they were using a rape reference as the basis of a joke. This all too common acceptance of rape and violence within our society is unacceptable. It can re-victimise and trivialise, and whether directed at men or women, it is wrong. We ask organisations such as the Rock to consider whether they wish to be part of the solution and help to end the unacceptable levels of violence, or through their actions or inaction, continue to create the environment that supports violence.
As a result of this incident, White Ribbon will be writing to all our ambassadors to remind them of our expectations, and the commitment they have made to the campaign. Our and their pledge is to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women. We will continue to try and uphold that.
We will also continue to try and make a real difference, and as a small non-profit organisation with one full-time staff member, we rely on hundreds of volunteers across the country to run events, share the campaign messages and influence as many men as possible. Thank you for all your support and efforts, and for continuing to be proud to wear the White Ribbon and sharing the resources we have created at www.whiteribbon.org.nz
We wish you all a happy holiday.
The White Ribbon Team and Trust
The White Ribbon Trust have written to the Prime Minister respectfully requesting that as a White Ribbon Ambassador he make a public statement about the inappropriateness of the content that was created by The Rock. We believe his condemnation of this behaviour would send a strong signal that men should not remain silent about, nor normalise or trivialise, rape and sexual violence.