Add your voice online to support White Ribbon Day

Media Release
25 November 2020

On November 25th, White Ribbon Day, the International day for the elimination of men’s violence towards women, we are asking our tāne and wāhine to challenge #outdated ideas about masculinity online.

Gender-based violence is endemic in New Zealand, with one in three women experiencing family violence in their lifetimes and the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world.

“With COVID anxiety and severe pressure on violence prevention organisations, the vast majority of this year’s White Ribbon campaign activities are being held online, in small groups and at work,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann.

“We want people to Challenge the #Outdated and unhealthy ideas about masculinity. One way of doing that in a public manner, is to create a short video and post it on your own Facebook feed. In the video, tell people why you are challenging the #Outdated ideas associated with old school masculinity, and or tell us how you role-model the principles of healthy masculinity.”

White Ribbon has created a suite of online resources that you can share to help you. These can be found at

“The reason we are focusing on masculinity,” says Mr McCann, “is that the underlying causes of men’s violence towards women are now well recognised by research as being linked to unhealthy masculinity.”

A report Men in Focus undertaken by the Australian national violence prevention organization, Our Watch, found that that men who conform to these outdated stereotypes – that men should be strong, forceful, and dominant in relationships, be tough and in control – are more likely to hit, abuse, coerce, and sexually harass women than men who see women as their equals.

The research also found that men who believe in sexual entitlement to women’s bodies or believe in rape myths are more likely than other men to rape women.

“If we are to end men’s violence, we need to focus on the attitudes that support violence,” says Mr McCann. “We can continue to build prisons and pick up after broken families, or we can change the attitudes that support violence to thrive.”

“So this year, we are asking men and women to have these courageous conversations. Film yourself, get your videos online and tag them with #Outdated or #WhiteRibbonNZ so we can all join in and have a conversation about what healthy masculinity should look like.”



The Men in Focus evidence review:

The Men in Focus report represents a substantial synthesis of the available academic and grey literature focusing on men’s violence against women. It is a peer reviewed report and represents a broad distillation of relevant literature. The focus of this report in on engaging men and boys, who can themselves “contribute to improving the effectiveness

of prevention strategies”.


Rick Hepi Video:
Video can be downloaded and embedded.
Rick is a White Ribbon Ambassador and White Ribbon Rider.

Rick comments that despite having a violent dad he wanted to become a good father, and not just a good grandfather like his dad. While we are all products of our environments, it is possible to break the cycle. When those influences are not healthy, we need to push back and Challenge those #Outdated ideas and replace them with behaviour we want our sons and daughters to emulate. When we see or hear mates and colleagues repeating #outdated ideas, we need to try and nudge them in the right direction.


30 days 30 messages:

Videos can be downloaded from and embedded, or share the Taranaki Safe Families Trust Facebook page

White Ribbon Ambassador Dane Haskell, Coordinator of Taranaki Safe Families Trust created 30 Days/ 30 Men/ 30 Messages,  which for the month of November features 30 short videos of local men sharing their thoughts on the White Ribbon campaign and why it’s important for us to have these conversations. One video gets posted each day.


Healthy Masculinity looks like:

  • Healthy masculinity is rejecting unhelpful outdated stereotypes and unspoken rules about what it is to be a boy or man.
  • Healthy masculinity is about being kind, empathetic, finding peaceful resolutions to problems.
  • Healthy masculinity is about boys and men being confident in who they are without feeling pressure to be a certain type of boy/man
  • Boys and men can still be ‘brave’, and have ‘muscles’, be assertive, tough, love rugby, enjoy time with other men and boys, enjoy a ‘pint’ with the lads (for men!). But boys and men should also be free to express sad emotions, enjoy cooking, dancing, gardening and anything else that does not fit into gender stereotypes.
  • Healthy masculinity is treating everyone with respect.
  • Healthy masculinity is recognising that people express gender and sexuality in a variety of ways.


The Man Box

  • White Ribbon calls the expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and in charge “The Man Box”.
  • It’s a box that’s prescriptive and restrictive. Any different behaviours are dismissed as being not manly.
  • Often a boy and a man will believe he needs to appear tough and in-control in front of other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll reject him, possibly violently, if he doesn’t fit in. Being told to ‘Man Up’ is to be reminded to get back into The Man Box. A man may use violence to show his peers he is manly.
  • Suppressing individual identities and diverse emotional responses is stressful. It’s also unhealthy as these men avoid asking for help.
  • Men who break out of The Man Box to choose their own masculine identity report that they’re less stressed, more satisfied with life and have happier relationships.


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