Shining A Light on White Ribbon Day

Today on Parliament steps, White Ribbon was represented by White Ribbon Ambassadors: Air Marshal Kevin Short, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, Judge Peter Boshier, Hannah Dorey, Mark Shepherd and White Ribbon Riders.

White Ribbon Patron, Judge Boshier spoke of the need for change, Commissioner Coster spoke about the Stories of Change that his own officers shared to inspire others, Air Marshal Kevin Short talked about the need to create a Call-In Culture to inspire real change.

Then White Ribbon Ambassador Hannah Dorey shared her ‘story of change’. It was a humbling moment to hear something so personal and so powerful, on the steps of our lawmakers and in front of the Ministers for Family and Sexual Violence Prevention, Corrections, Justice and Women along with MPs from across all of Parliament. Here is that speech:


White Ribbon Speech
25th November 2021

Kia ora everyone,

I’ve always seen myself as a strong person, ever since I was a kid I was determined to run the fastest and prove my strength to every person in the room. By the end of primary school I gained my junior black belt in Rhee Tae Kwon Do and knew at that moment that I could take on anything. Until the nights came where I remembered I was trapped in an unsafe house that was supposed to be a home. Until the first time a boy kissed me when I didn’t want him to. Until I turned eighteen, and was groped and touched every Saturday night in town.

So I stopped wearing skirts, and dresses, and started inspecting the colour of my drink and holding my hand over the brim of my glass. The first time I was sexually assaulted I didn’t know it was wrong, you see I had been drinking and the next morning I convinced myself that I had somehow asked for it. But there were parts I didn’t remember, moments I wasn’t sure happened. So how could I claim anything? After all, it really could have been my fault.

The second time I was sexually assaulted my entire body felt broken, numb. As much as I willed myself to move, I couldn’t. Those memories, will forever visit me in my nightmares. Those moments are what make me jump when someone touches my arm, they’re what make me hold my keys between my finger and thumb when I walk home at night. They remind me of the young kid that was so certain they could take on anyone and anything. That they would never be in danger.

Healing isn’t linear, there’s always going to be setbacks, days and nights when you feel trapped in your own skin. I am not healed, when a part of you is taken like that, it feels impossible to heal. But I realised that I didn’t want to hate myself for someone else’s action. So I decided to speak, to shine a light on what happens behind closed doors. That’s when I discovered White Ribbon had the same goals as me. I first found them in a school hall where I listened to stories of change, stories that made me believe I could heal, stories that made me believe we could change.

So I speak to you now, whoever is listening; my story is not uncommon, my story is one of millions. And although I am healing there are ways to prevent this. We must teach one and other what respect means, we must remind our friends and family that consent is a human right. We must have these conversations, even if they are hard, even if they can be uncomfortable at times.  We must try, because if we continue to keep our secrets hidden in the crevices of our keys, or the bottom of our drinks then we will never know change.

It takes all of us, and the goal of changing unhealthy attitudes is daunting to me. Some days, I have no hope that we can do it. But it’s days like this that remind me we can, our attitudes must learn to grow with us.

So I ask you, a simple favour; start that conversation, teach, listen and learn. I am not ashamed of myself the way I used to be, instead I plan to keep talking, to be the voice of change and speak as loudly as I can to get our society’s attention. It doesn’t seem like much, I know, but a conversation can very easily change someone’s life.

Kia Ora


The White Ribbon Riders then took central stage, still with tears in their eyes to share their journey, and the need to ask for help, especially when victims become perpetrators. Mark Shepard then handed those Stories of Change to Minister Davidson, who spoke eloquently about what these stories and Hannah’s personal account meant to her. The Minister then spoke about the work across all of government and the strategy that she will launch in just a few weeks. The event was then closed by the Minister of Justice who thanked all the participants and the MPs with a special mention for the work the Riders, Hannah and all the other anti-violence advocates undertake.

You can watch the Facebook Live Stream here, the event begins at 8mins in.

You can watch Hannah talking about the issue of consent below.


Special credit to Damon Keen for many of these photos.



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