White Ribbon Riders Welcomed onto Parliament’s Forecourt

At the conclusion of this year’s White Ribbon Ride, about 20 Riders joined White Ribbon on Parliament’s forecourt to highlight the serious challenges we face as a nation in tackling our woeful domestic violence statistics and share the solutions they have been presenting to schools and communities around New Zealand.

Chief Ombudsman Judge Peter Boshier, Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha and head of the New Zealand Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short stood alongside the White Ribbon Riders to encourage men to express emotions to try and curb New Zealand’s high rate of domestic violence.

Chair of the White Ribbon Campaign Trust and Lower North Island Ride Leader Takurua Tawera noted that we need to ensure men know it is ok to be sad or angry we just need to know how to manage those feelings. It is that issue that was at the heart of this year’s campaign, which focused on challenging the unspoken rules, outdated stereotypes of masculinity that push boys and men to bottle up their emotions as they have been told that they should “harden up” and that “boys don’t cry”. It is so important to be able to express our emotions and process them in a healthy way, so that we can enjoy positive respectful relationships. We need to change how we talk to boys and re-evaluate the messages we received in our youth to ensure we don’t perpetuate these negative stereotypes about what it is to be a man.

Representing the New Zealand Police Mr Haumaha commented “It is a sad indictment that we have to turn up to family harm incidents every four minutes. It is a sad indictment that every one in three women across the country will experience some form of family harm in the course of their lives. It is a sad indictment that 14 women are killed each year as a result of partner abuse.”

Winner of the White Ribbon Spoken Word Competition for High School students Hannah Dorey performed her heartfelt poem drawing parallels between the experience of drowning and an abusive relationship. Her moving performance was described by Air Marshal Short as a “powerful reminder of the pain family violence causes” and he urged all those present to work together to deal with the problem.

Judge Boshier thanked the Riders for spreading the message in such “a clear, unequivocal way.”


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