Hamilton City Council receives White Ribbon Accreditation

Hamilton City Council has formalised its commitment to preventing family violence in New Zealand.

Last month, the Council was awarded White Ribbon Accreditation to acknowledge its continued support of the White Ribbon kaupapa. To gain the business accreditation, the Council must have policies in place, trained staff and support proactive violence prevention.

Chief Executive Richard Briggs says this is great recognition of the Council’s ongoing commitment to the campaign.

“We’ve been supporting White Ribbon projects and have had support in place for our people for years. This is another great step up in our commitment as an employer and as an important part of our community.”

Along with the accreditation, the Council has two White Ribbon Ambassadors whose role is to influence and support the White Ribbon kaupapa.

“We need strong men who are willing to start a tough conversation about how we have respectful relationships with women and our behaviour towards them,” says Mr Briggs.

“We spend so much of our lives working, it almost becomes a second home. Whether you’re at work for 20 or 40 hours per week during that time you should feel safe and supported.”

White Ribbon Day (25 November) is the international day when people wear a white ribbon to show they won’t tolerate or condone violence towards women.

On Friday 29 November, a White Ribbon hikoi (walk) will begin at 11am from Meteor Theatre and finish in Garden Place where there will be live entertainment until 1pm.

This year’s theme is to challenge the Unspoken Rules. Unspoken Rules are the expectations boys and young men inherit from society, based on outdated ideas of what a man is, how he acts, and how he should express himself.

Hamilton City Council is now New Zealand’s largest council to receive White Ribbon Accreditation. Upper Hutt City Council, Carterton District Council and Napier City Council are also White Ribbon Accredited.

Crystal’s death must mean something

Media Release
02 December 2019
Crystal’s death must mean something
Crystal Selwyn was the victim of family violence and White Ribbon acknowledges the terrible hurt and pain that Crystal’s family and friends must now cope with.
Crystal died on 23rd November, just days before 25 November, White Ribbon Day, the international day when we focus on the elimination of men’s violence towards women.
“At the request of the family we have provided white ribbons for the funeral held today,” said Rob McCann, White Ribbon Manager. “We have also posted the Give A Little page ‘Koha for Crystal Selwyn‘ on our Facebook page.”
“Family Violence affects more than just the one person. The whole family will feel the effects of this tragedy for a lifetime and eight children will grow up without a mother,” said Mr McCann.
“These deaths must stop, and they can if we challenge the attitudes that support violence.”
“Too many New Zealanders think that violence towards women is the result of someone losing their temper. It is not. Violence is a tool used in relationships to control the other person, and too often it is learned behaviour. If we tell our young men not to cry or to toughen up, we are creating young men that do not know how to express their emotions or have Respectful Relationships.”
“If we want to honour the memory of the 17 women killed this year then we need to break the cycle of violence. We need to teach our young men skills that equip them to have Respectful Relationships, and we need to talk about Respectful Sexual Relationships, and not leave pornography to be our children’s primary educator. We need to stand up and intervene when we witness or hear behaviour that is harmful or derogatory to women, and we need to stop victim blaming,” said Mr McCann.
White Ribbon offers free tools on its website to help people undertake all these actions.

Cup of tea video https://whiteribbon.org.nz/2015/07/12/consent-explained-with-a-cup-of-tea/
provided by Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess who wrote the script.

Actions we can take to reduce violence – Eight videos
https://vimeo.com/showcase/5537622

Talk with young men about respectful relationships and porn – video
https://vimeo.com/299375746

From the White Ribbon Toolbox – Raising Boys who respect
https://whiteribbon.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Toolbox-Raising-Boys-Who-Respect-White-Ribbon.pdf

Respectfully I Decline

Hannah is a gifted young writer who wrote and performed the winning entry in the recent White Ribbon Poetry Slam competition.

A 16 year-old at St Mary’s College, Hannah says she really enjoys writing and performing.

“I’ve been writing poetry for six years and I am also working on writing three novels which feature the difficult themes of mental health struggles for teenagers.”

Hannah says she was encouraged to take part in the Poetry Slam by her English teacher.

“I went to a White Ribbon Youth Ambassador course. My teacher knew I was into poetry and she suggested I enter. I really like the performance part as its important in using facial expressions and emphasis on the right phrases to get the audience involved in the intention of the poem,” says Hannah.

Hannah’s entry ‘Respectfully’ focused on using an unhealthy relationship and dedicating the poem to ‘respectfully declining’ it. She says the poem builds up to the strength of being able to walk away from the relationship.

“The reasoning behind choosing this approach is that I believe it is still important to address the audience that are unaware of the unhealthy relationship they are in.”

Hannah says this is something she has experienced and something many others have as well and it is typical in abusive relationships.

“I wanted my words to be relevant to personal experience that people can relate to and I was really pleased with the reaction.”

The judges were very impressed with Hannah’s work, awarding her the $500 prize and a Weta Workshop Hoodie.

“I love the hoodie,” says Hannah. “Back at school there was an awesome reaction to the White Ribbon Poetry Slam and everyone was super proud.”

 

 

Following the Grace Millane trial, what can we do?

White Ribbon acknowledges the unimaginable hurt and pain the Millane family has suffered, and will continue to endure following the guilty verdict handed down today.

“While one person that has caused so much harm is behind bars, this trial must do something to prevent violence towards women,” says Rob McCann, White Ribbon Manager.

Following the verdict we must take action to prevent violence. That means taking real steps such as talking about consent, disrupting other men’s violence or talking about respectful sexual relationships and pornography. Doing nothing is one option that is not open to the country with the highest rate of reported violence towards women.”

“As a father, I am grateful the jury were able to understand the issue of consent. In my experience there are far too many people that do not understand the concept and the need for consent to be ongoing and active.”

“White Ribbon explains the concept using what is called the ‘cup of tea video’. In the video the act of sex is replaced with having a cup of tea. The video explains you can’t force a person to drink tea, people can change their mind about drinking tea, and if they fall unconscious they can’t be forced to drink the tea.”

“This is a really simple and effective way of teaching consent,” says Mr McCann.

“We also need to acknowledge that a perpetrator’s attitudes and behaviour will be known to their mates. Poor behaviour does not come from a vacuum and it is incumbent on all of us to call out bad behaviour when we see it. It might start off as disrespectful jokes about women while you are in a bar. That might not initially seem harmful, but the reality is that by saying nothing, you are actually sending the signal that the disrespectful behaviour is ok and all too often that behaviour escalates.”

“We are asking the public to intervene and disrupt other men’s violence.  This is commonly called bystander intervention.”

White Ribbon produced a video about how to help by disrupting other men’s violence. You can watch the video here.

The third thing White Ribbon is suggesting is that we talk about pornography with our young men and women.

“Pornography is becoming more violent and more readily accessible,” says Mr McCann. “We believe it is changing the attitudes and behaviour of our young men and women. If our young men mimic pornography, then they treat women as conquests rather than human beings. This behaviour might be seen by some as manly, but ultimately, it’s unhealthy and bad for both men and women.”

White Ribbon recommends you be clear with your children – tell them that porn isn’t real. That it doesn’t show any real relationships, and the sex is often degrading, violent or disrespectful to women. We recommend that you talk about what respectful sexual behaviour looks like – and how you won’t see it in most porn. White Ribbon has produced a video about talking with young men about respectful relationships and porn.

 

 

Additional notes:

Rape Culture
Refers to when society normalises sexualised violence. By doing that we accept and create rape culture.

Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as “just the way things are.”

White Ribbon focuses on changing men’s social norms to undermine their support of sexual violence. Having men break out of the Man Box prevents a ‘rape culture’ from developing.

Examples of Rape Culture

  • Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
  • Trivialising sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance of sexual harassment
  • Inflating false rape report statistics
  • Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
  • Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
  • Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on men to “score”
  • Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
  • Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
  • Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
  • Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped

 

Bystander Intervention

If you hear someone say something disrespectful or display unhealthy behaviours such as harassing women, telling inappropriate jokes, picking a fight, etc., there are a few things you can do to challenge the language or behaviour. By doing nothing we are effectively condoning the behaviour. You can use one or more of the 4Ds;

  • be Direct – challenge them verbally ‘that’s not cool, bro’
  • Distract – get them to do something else, or ask a question of the person who is on the receiving end of the unhealthy behaviour to engage them in conversation (useful if you don’t feel safe being direct)
  • Delegate – talk to someone else about what is going on. Ask their friend/parent/workmate/boss what they think of the behaviour and if there is anything they can do to address it. Work together to see what you could do.
  • Delay – it might not always feel safe to intervene or challenge at the time, depending on the situation, so you can ask them later about whether they realised their behaviour was harmful, or ask the person who might have been on the receiving end how they are.
    (Adapted from – https://www.ihollaback.org/resources/bystander-resources/)
  • Watch and talk to others about this resource – Who Are You? (for older teenagers) https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=iUj2OHLAG3w

Get support for yourself

  • Talk to your mates and your family
  • https://www.lifeline.org.nz/
  • Find a Stopping Violence Service in your area
  • Hey Bro – https://www.hewakatapu.org.nz/services/0800-hey-bro
  • Youthline – https://www.youthline.co.nz/
  • Rainbow Youth – https://ry.org.nz/
  • Men’s groups – https://www.renews.co.nz/mens-circles-helping-kiwi-men-express-themselves/?fbclid=IwAR1pGd73jAEqPYHOxLccswSZLPSDt_zdmn76Zh52eggooHgwdSllyuwP_m4
  • https://www.mosaic-wgtn.org.nz/ – Supporting male survivors of sexual abuse

 

The need to educate your young men and women

When it comes to issues such as pornography and sexual relationships, adults need to have conversations about respectful sexual relationships and consent with our young men and women. By keeping silent (whether through embarrassment or a lack of knowledge or fear) we are allowing third parties such as pornography, media, or their mates to educate our youth. The information they receive can be harmful and often does not ensure they know what they are seeing is NOT real. Many young men are presenting with issues such as erectile dysfunction because the porn they are watching is so violent or extreme and real life does not create the same excitement. Young women are presenting with incontinence issues due to the extreme sex they think they need to participate in. There are also real issues with the increase in violence within porn with physical hitting, strangulation and treating women as receptacles for men’s pleasure. The key issue is that we have to have these conversations. White Ribbon provides information in the Toolbox Section – Respectful Sexual Relationships and Start with Respect at https://whiteribbon.org.nz/toolbox/ (this includes ages and stages information), a video on talking about sexual relationships and pornography with young men https://vimeo.com/299375746. You can also use the Cup of Tea Video to talk about the issue of Consent https://whiteribbon.org.nz/?s=cup+of+tea

All these resources are freely available.

 

What causes the violence

Violence is not about people losing control. Intimate partner violence is about power and control. Violence is a tool used to keep control in a relationship.
It is rigid ideas about gender and gender roles that contribute to men’s use of violence against females.
Even with 80% of family and intimate-partner violence incidents going unreported, New Zealand still has the worst rate for this violence in the world. Our country also has the third highest rate of sexual assault in the world. This indicates that too many New Zealand men still express their masculinity through dominance and power over women.

 

Specific links between masculinity and violence are:

  • Where a culture expects masculinity to involve dominance and toughness there is male violence against females.
  • If an individual man over-conforms to perceived male gender expectations of strength, power and domination, he is more likely to rape women.
  • There’s more sexual violence where men and women have segregated lives, a belief in male sexual conquest, strong male bonding, high alcohol consumption, use of pornography, and sexist social norms.
  • Sexual violence serving as a tool for men and boys to prove their manhood, achieve the social status of a “real man,” and establish power over others.
  • When men believe that they are not – or are not perceived to be – “masculine enough,” they may use intimate partner violence to overcompensate or conform with gendered expectations.

White Ribbon believes young men can be socialised into having unhealthy attitudes and behaviours. This occurs through the media we watch, society’s expectations and the #UnspokenRules that surround us. Our November Campaign focuses on Challenging the #UnspokenRules such as Boys Don’t Cry, Toughen Up and Be the Man.

These #unspoken rules put pressure on boys and young men to behave in certain ways and dismiss “unmanly” behaviour, leading them to suppress their emotions and their individuality. This affects how our boys and young men feel about themselves, and how they treat others. It affects how they approach their relationships, and can lead them to act disrespectfully – even violently – toward their partners.

We have the opportunity to use our voices as parents, caregivers and influencers to speak up over the #unspoken. By saying out loud to our boys and young men that it’s ok for them to be who they are, we can encourage them to define themselves as men who have respectful relationships – protecting our whole community.

 

The campaign will focus on undermining these unhelpful #unspoken rules, and promoting healthy masculinity (and Respectful Relationships) as an alternative.

  • Healthy masculinity is rejecting unhelpful 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’, ‘have muscles’, assertive, tough, love rugby, enjoy time with other men and boys, enjoy a ‘pint’ with the lads. 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 and having Respectful Relationships (which always include consent).
  • Healthy masculinity is recognising that people express gender and sexuality in a variety of ways.

 

White Ribbon promotes respectful relationships to prevent domestic and sexual violence against women. Respectful relationships are based on:

  • Equality between men and women. Gender equity in personal relationships and all social spheres, reduces violence against women.
  • Flexible gender behaviour for all. Having men breaking out of the Man Box and choosing their own masculine identity prevents their use of violence.
  • Non-violent communication. Men being emotionally aware and expressive gives them alternatives to aggression.
  • Enthusiastic consent for all sexual activities. Having willing participation is crucial to preventing sexual violence.

Following the Grace Millane trial, what can we do?

White Ribbon Media Release
22 November 2019

 

Following the Grace Millane trial, what can we do?

White Ribbon acknowledges the unimaginable hurt and pain the Millane family has suffered, and will continue to endure following the guilty verdict handed down today.

“While one person that has caused so much harm is behind bars, this trial must do something to prevent violence towards women,” says Rob McCann, White Ribbon Manager.

“As a father, I am grateful the jury were able to understand the issue of consent. In my experience there are far too many people that do not understand the concept and the need for consent to be ongoing and active.”

“White Ribbon explains the concept using what is called the ‘cup of tea video’. In the video the act of sex is replaced with having a cup of tea. The video explains you can’t force a person to drink tea, people can change their mind about drinking tea, and if they fall unconscious they can’t be forced to drink the tea.”

“This is a really simple and effective way of teaching consent,” says Mr McCann.

“We also need to acknowledge that a perpetrator’s attitudes and behaviour will be known to their mates. Poor behaviour does not come from a vacuum and it is incumbent on all of us to call out bad behaviour when we see it. It might start off as disrespectful jokes about women while you are in a bar. That might not initially seem harmful, but the reality is that by saying nothing, you are actually sending the signal that the disrespectful behaviour is ok and all too often that behaviour escalates.”

“We are asking the public to intervene and disrupt other men’s violence.  This is commonly called bystander intervention.”

White Ribbon produced a video about how to help by disrupting other men’s violence. You can watch the video here.

The third thing White Ribbon is suggesting is that we talk about pornography with our young men and women.

“Pornography is becoming more violent and more readily accessible,” says Mr McCann. “We believe it is changing the attitudes and behaviour of our young men and women. If our young men mimic pornography, then they treat women as conquests rather than human beings. This behaviour might be seen by some as manly, but ultimately, it’s unhealthy and bad for both men and women.”

White Ribbon recommends you be clear with your children – tell them that porn isn’t real. That it doesn’t show any real relationships, and the sex is often degrading, violent or disrespectful to women. We recommend that you talk about what respectful sexual behaviour looks like – and how you won’t see it in most porn. White Ribbon has produced a video about talking with young men about respectful relationships and porn.

“Following the verdict we must take action to prevent violence. That means taking real steps such as talking about consent, disrupting other men’s violence or talking about respectful sexual relationships and pornography. Doing nothing is one option that is not open to the country with the highest rate of reported violence towards women.”

 

 

White Ribbon Media
Nancy Blackler 0272425318 nancy@blackoutmusic.co.nz
Rob McCann 0212122953 rob@whiteribbon.org.nz
Spokespeople Rob McCann, Mark Longley, Richie Hardcore, Anna Campbell, Karlene Jonkers

 

Additional notes:

Rape Culture
Refers to when society normalises sexualised violence. By doing that we accept and create rape culture.

Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as “just the way things are.”

White Ribbon focuses on changing men’s social norms to undermine their support of sexual violence. Having men break out of the Man Box prevents a ‘rape culture’ from developing.

Examples of Rape Culture

  • Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
  • Trivialising sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance of sexual harassment
  • Inflating false rape report statistics
  • Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
  • Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
  • Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on men to “score”
  • Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
  • Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
  • Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
  • Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped

 

Bystander Intervention
It is likely that many of the accused’s mates will have known of his behaviour or elements of it. As mates we have an opportunity to set the norms of what is ok and what is not.

If you hear someone say something disrespectful or display unhealthy behaviours such as harassing women, telling inappropriate jokes, picking a fight, etc., there are a few things you can do to challenge the language or behaviour. By doing nothing we are effectively condoning the behaviour. You can use one or more of the 4Ds;

  • be Direct – challenge them verbally ‘that’s not cool, bro’
  • Distract – get them to do something else, or ask a question of the person who is on the receiving end of the unhealthy behaviour to engage them in conversation (useful if you don’t feel safe being direct)
  • Delegate – talk to someone else about what is going on. Ask their friend/parent/workmate/boss what they think of the behaviour and if there is anything they can do to address it. Work together to see what you could do.
  • Delay – it might not always feel safe to intervene or challenge at the time, depending on the situation, so you can ask them later about whether they realised their behaviour was harmful, or ask the person who might have been on the receiving end how they are.
    (Adapted from – https://www.ihollaback.org/resources/bystander-resources/)
  • Watch and talk to others about this resource – Who Are You? (for older teenagers) https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=iUj2OHLAG3w

Get support for yourself

  • Talk to your mates and your family
  • https://www.lifeline.org.nz/
  • Find a Stopping Violence Service in your area
  • Hey Bro – https://www.hewakatapu.org.nz/services/0800-hey-bro
  • Youthline – https://www.youthline.co.nz/
  • Rainbow Youth – https://ry.org.nz/
  • Men’s groups – https://www.renews.co.nz/mens-circles-helping-kiwi-men-express-themselves/?fbclid=IwAR1pGd73jAEqPYHOxLccswSZLPSDt_zdmn76Zh52eggooHgwdSllyuwP_m4
  • https://www.mosaic-wgtn.org.nz/ – Supporting male survivors of sexual abuse

 

The need to educate your young men and women
When it comes to issues such as pornography and sexual relationships, adults need to have conversations about respectful sexual relationships and consent with our young men and women. By keeping silent (whether through embarrassment or a lack of knowledge or fear) we are allowing third parties such as pornography, media, or their mates to educate our youth. The information they receive can be harmful and often does not ensure they know what they are seeing is NOT real. Many young men are presenting with issues such as erectile dysfunction because the porn they are watching is so violent or extreme and real life does not create the same excitement. Young women are presenting with incontinence issues due to the extreme sex they think they need to participate in. There are also real issues with the increase in violence within porn with physical hitting, strangulation and treating women as receptacles for men’s pleasure. The key issue is that we have to have these conversations. White Ribbon provides information in the Toolbox Section – Respectful Sexual Relationships and Start with Respect at https://whiteribbon.org.nz/toolbox/ (this includes ages and stages information), a video on talking about sexual relationships and pornography with young men https://vimeo.com/299375746. You can also use the Cup of Tea Video to talk about the issue of Consent https://whiteribbon.org.nz/?s=cup+of+tea

All these resources are freely available.

 

What causes the violence

Violence is not about people losing control. Intimate partner violence is about power and control. Violence is a tool used to keep control in a relationship.

It is rigid ideas about gender and gender roles that contribute to men’s use of violence against females.

Even with 80% of family and intimate-partner violence incidents going unreported, New Zealand still has the worst rate for this violence in the world. Our country also has the third highest rate of sexual assault in the world. This indicates that too many New Zealand men still express their masculinity through dominance and power over women.

 

Specific links between masculinity and violence are:

  • Where a culture expects masculinity to involve dominance and toughness there is male violence against females.
  • If an individual man over-conforms to perceived male gender expectations of strength, power and domination, he is more likely to rape women.
  • There’s more sexual violence where men and women have segregated lives, a belief in male sexual conquest, strong male bonding, high alcohol consumption, use of pornography, and sexist social norms.
  • Sexual violence serving as a tool for men and boys to prove their manhood, achieve the social status of a “real man,” and establish power over others.
  • When men believe that they are not – or are not perceived to be – “masculine enough,” they may use intimate partner violence to overcompensate or conform with gendered expectations.

White Ribbon believes young men can be socialised into having unhealthy attitudes and behaviours. This occurs through the media we watch, society’s expectations and the #UnspokenRules that surround us. Our November Campaign focuses on Challenging the #UnspokenRules such as Boys Don’t Cry, Toughen Up and Be the Man.

These #unspoken rules put pressure on boys and young men to behave in certain ways and dismiss “unmanly” behaviour, leading them to suppress their emotions and their individuality. This affects how our boys and young men feel about themselves, and how they treat others. It affects how they approach their relationships, and can lead them to act disrespectfully – even violently – toward their partners.

We have the opportunity to use our voices as parents, caregivers and influencers to speak up over the #unspoken. By saying out loud to our boys and young men that it’s ok for them to be who they are, we can encourage them to define themselves as men who have respectful relationships – protecting our whole community.

 

The campaign will focus on undermining these unhelpful #unspoken rules, and promoting healthy masculinity (and Respectful Relationships) as an alternative.

  • Healthy masculinity is rejecting unhelpful 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’, ‘have muscles’, assertive, tough, love rugby, enjoy time with other men and boys, enjoy a ‘pint’ with the lads. 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 and having Respectful Relationships (which always include consent).
  • Healthy masculinity is recognising that people express gender and sexuality in a variety of ways.

 

White Ribbon promotes respectful relationships to prevent domestic and sexual violence against women. Respectful relationships are based on:

  • Equality between men and women. Gender equity in personal relationships and all social spheres, reduces violence against women.
  • Flexible gender behaviour for all. Having men breaking out of the Man Box and choosing their own masculine identity prevents their use of violence.
  • Non-violent communication. Men being emotionally aware and expressive gives them alternatives to aggression.
  • Enthusiastic consent for all sexual activities. Having willing participation is crucial to preventing sexual violence.

 

THE FINAL STRETCH OF THE WHITE RIBBON RIDE 2019 – WHITE RIBBON DAY – MONDAY 25 NOVEMBER –

After a week out on the road, the annual White Ribbon Ride is heading into the final stretch, delivering the message that we need to Challenge the #UNSPOKEN RULES to communities across New Zealand.

Unspoken rules are the clichés such as ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘toughen up’. These outdated ideas of masculinity harm our young men by limiting them to stereotypes that are fundamentally unhealthy. If you can’t express your emotions, you bottle them up and we know that men need to open up for their own mental health and to ensure they have healthy respectful relationships.

“The White Ribbon Ride began in New Zealand in 2009,” says Takurua Tawera, the lower North Island Ride Leader. “It provides an opportunity to get in front of communities that might otherwise not hear these messages from a campaign like White Ribbon.”

“Each campaign we try to visit around 80 communities where we deliver a specific campaign message in person,” says Mr Tawera. “The key is using personal stories that weave in messages. That way our riders are using their own experiences and stories to support the campaign.”

Ken Mahon, the new South Island White Ribbon Leader agrees, “The most powerful message is when it’s delivered from the heart or personal experience. That’s when you see an audience connect with a story or message.”

“The #UnspokenRules campaign is the strongest campaign I’ve been involved in. As young boys most of us have been told to toughen up or that boys don’t cry,” says Mr Mahon. “That type of pressure and advice is unhelpful and damaging.”

The Ride continues in the lower half of the North Island with a final event outside Parliament on White Ribbon Day (Monday 25th November, 12:30pm) with a special performance from the winner of White Ribbon’s high school Spoken Word Competition Hannah Dorey.

The South Island Ride also wraps up on White Ribbon Day after meeting Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who has a special interest in family violence prevention on Saturday.

For interviews Nancy Blackler | 0272 425 318 |nancy@blackoutmusic.co.nz

Notes and Assets:

New Zealand has the highest level of reported violence towards women in the developed world.
– 41% of a frontline police officers’ time is spent responding to family violence.
– One in three women experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

Research commissioned by White Ribbon this year found that:
– 47% of men surveyed had been told as young men that ‘boys don’t cry’
– 65% had been told that ‘boys should harden or toughen up’
Conversely, only 9% of women were told that ‘girls don’t cry.’

There are healthy alternatives to suppressing emotions. Young men should feel encouraged to show emotions and to be able to talk about how they feel. As adults, we can help boys (and all children) to do this by giving them the language to discuss their feelings. As a starting point you can say, ‘I can see you are sad about …’ And we need to role model that behaviour as children learn from watching us.

  • For more information about White Ribbon, go to www.whiteribbon.org.nz
  • Link to the #Unspoken Rules campaign HERE
  • Link to the research HERE
  • Link to graphics and videos HERE

 

New Research – young men are told to harden up and that boys don’t cry

Research commissioned by White Ribbon has shown that problematic stereotypes around masculinity remain pervasive in New Zealand.

The research found that that 47% of men were told that ‘boys don’t cry’ while 65% were told that ‘boys should harden or toughen up’ when they were boys. Conversely only 9% of women were told that ‘girls don’t cry.’

White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann says the massive levels of violence by men against women in New Zealand are in part driven by behaviours men frequently assume are normal. “These clichés or #UnspokenRules help shape who we become and what we believe. Ultimately they are damaging and unhealthy.”

Mr McCann says a challenge facing too many young men is the sense that they have to live up to the unspoken rules of masculinity – clichés such as “boys don’t cry” and “toughen up”.

“White Ribbon is encouraging everyone to challenge the unspoken rules, so we can let boys and young men enjoy their individuality and define themselves as men who have respectful relationships with themselves and their partners – creating happier, healthier communities for us all.”

Mr McCann says the research findings are very concerning. “We are programming our young men with unrealistic and unhealthy ideas about what it means to be a man. These unspoken rules put pressure on boys and young men to behave in certain ways and dismiss ‘unmanly’ behaviour, leading them to suppress their emotions and their individuality. This affects how our boys and young men feel about themselves, and how they treat others.”

Mr McCann says these unspoken rules affect how young men approach their relationships, and can lead them to act disrespectfully – even violently – toward their partners.

White Ribbon lock up square“White Ribbon is asking the community to use our voices as parents, caregivers and influencers to challenge the #unspoken rules. We need to say out loud to our boys and young men that it’s ok for them to be who they are, and not get trapped in what we sometimes call the man box,” says Mr McCann.

To undermine the #UnspokenRules White Ribbon has created a number of resources that highlight and attempt to undermine three of these clichés with a range of posters and online videos promoting healthy masculinity.

 

Notes:

What Healthy Masculinity looks like:

  • Healthy masculinity is rejecting unhelpful 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.

 

Research
Conducted by Research New Zealand in 2019.
Full research here.

That boys don’t cry

  • 47% Yes, I was led to believe this was true
  • 46% No, I was not led to believe this was true
  • 7% Don’t know

That boys should harden or toughen up

  • 65% Yes
  • 30% No
  • 5% Don’t know

That girls shouldn’t cry

  • 9% Yes I believe this was true
  • 87% No
  • 4% Don’t know

 

White Ribbon Graphics can be downloaded from here

New Research – young men are told to harden up and that boys don’t cry

Media Release
17 November

New Research – young men are told to harden up and that boys don’t cry

 

Research commissioned by White Ribbon has shown that problematic stereotypes around masculinity remain pervasive in New Zealand.

The research found that that 47% of men were told that ‘boys don’t cry’ while 65% were told that ‘boys should harden or toughen up’ when they were boys. Conversely only 9% of women were told that ‘girls don’t cry.’

White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann says the massive levels of violence by men against women in New Zealand are in part driven by behaviours men frequently assume are normal. “These clichés or #UnspokenRules help shape who we become and what we believe. Ultimately they are damaging and unhealthy.”

Mr McCann says a challenge facing too many young men is the sense that they have to live up to the unspoken rules of masculinity – clichés such as “boys don’t cry” and “toughen up”.

“White Ribbon is encouraging everyone to challenge the unspoken rules, so we can let boys and young men enjoy their individuality and define themselves as men who have respectful relationships with themselves and their partners – creating happier, healthier communities for us all.”

Mr McCann says the research findings are very concerning. “We are programming our young men with unrealistic and unhealthy ideas about what it means to be a man. These unspoken rules put pressure on boys and young men to behave in certain ways and dismiss ‘unmanly’ behaviour, leading them to suppress their emotions and their individuality. This affects how our boys and young men feel about themselves, and how they treat others.”

Mr McCann says these unspoken rules affect how young men approach their relationships, and can lead them to act disrespectfully – even violently – toward their partners.

“White Ribbon is asking the community to use our voices as parents, caregivers and influencers to challenge the #unspoken rules. We need to say out loud to our boys and young men that it’s ok for them to be who they are, and not get trapped in what we sometimes call the man box,” says Mr McCann.

To undermine the #UnspokenRules White Ribbon has created a number of resources that highlight and attempt to undermine three of these clichés with a range of posters and online videos promoting healthy masculinity.

 

Notes:

What Healthy Masculinity looks like:

  • Healthy masculinity is rejecting unhelpful 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.

 

Research
Conducted by Research New Zealand in 2019. Full research here.

That boys don’t cry

  • 47% Yes, I was led to believe this was true
  • 46% No, I was not led to believe this was true
  • 7% Don’t know

That boys should harden or toughen up

  • 65% Yes
  • 30% No
  • 5% Don’t know

That girls shouldn’t cry

  • 9% Yes I believe this was true
  • 87% No
  • 4% Don’t know

 

White Ribbon Media

 

White Ribbon Graphics can be downloaded from here

Research – #UnspokenRules

A challenge facing too many young men is the sense that they have to live up to the unspoken rules of masculinity – clichés such as “boys don’t cry” and “toughen up”.

White Ribbon is encouraging everyone to challenge the unspoken rules, so we can let boys and young men enjoy their individuality and define themselves as men who have respectful relationships with themselves and their partners – creating happier, healthier communities for us all.

“The massive levels of violence by men against women in New Zealand are in part driven from behaviours men frequently assume are normal,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “These clichés or #UnspokenRules help shape who we become and what we believe. Ultimately they are damaging and unhealthy.”

The research found that that 47% of men were told that ‘Boys’ don’t cry’ while 65% were told that ‘boys should harden or toughen up’ when they were boys. Conversely only 9% of women were told that ‘girls don’t cry.’

“These findings are very concerning,” says Mr McCann. “We are programming our young men with unrealistic and unhealthy ideas about what it means to be a man. These rules put pressure on boys and young men to behave in certain ways and dismiss “unmanly” behaviour, leading them to suppress their emotions and their individuality. This affects how our boys and young men feel about themselves, and how they treat others. It affects how they approach their relationships, and can lead them to act disrespectfully – even violently – toward their partners.”

 

Survey conducted by Research NZ

Download the full Research here.

Please note there are two tabs on the excel file. One is data by age, the other is by gender.
The information below is data by gender.

 

Questions to Males
When you were growing up, which of the following were you led to believe were true about boys?

That boys don’t cry
47% – Yes, I was led to believe this was true (only 10% of girls were told this)
46% No, I was not led to believe this was true
7% Don’t know

That boys should harden or toughen up
65% Yes
30% No
5% Don’t know

That boys need to be THE man (which means being in-charge, dominant, the main breadwinner)
55% Yes
41% No
4% Don’t know

That boys don’t back down from fights
36% Yes
59% No
5% Don’t know

That boys need to control their emotions (i.e. don’t show their feelings)
44% Yes
50% No
6% Don’t know

That boys are supposed to be muscular
47% Yes (57% of 18-24 year olds believe this)
48% No
5% Don’t know

 

Questions to Females
Thinking about when you were growing up, which of the following were you led to believe were true about girls? That girls are not supposed to be dominant or in charge
30% Yes I believe this was true
65% No
5% Don’t know

That girls are not supposed to sleep with lots of guys
71% Yes I believe this was true
23% No
7% Don’t know

That girls shouldn’t cry
9% Yes I believe this was true
87% No
4% Don’t know

That girls are supposed to be skinny (and/or pretty)
46% Yes I believe this was true
49% No
5% Don’t know

Men Can Change

Jamie Addison

Jamie Addison on the White Ribbon Ride 2019

Redemption is an option that is always open. It isn’t easy but when it is chosen it is a powerful tool for personal and public change. Jamie Addison is an excellent example of a person, who acknowledged his past and worked hard to turn his life around, against the odds.

Jamie’s early life was influenced by his Dad, who was a heavy drinker and there was a culture of alcohol dependence that affected all of his male role models.

Jamie says he was nurtured by the women in his life. The culture he grew up in saw women as being there to serve men, to take care of the home, undertake all the preparations for birthdays and dinners. While men were the providers and expected that when they got home they would be waited upon.

“When mum pushed back, there would be graphic violence, assaults, and then that violence would often be directed at the children. Dad would assault us if we tried to protect mum by whipping us with jug cords, vacuum cleaner hoses etc. In the same breath, we were told by our Dad to harden up, and asked ‘what are you crying for’ after a beating.”

Jamie says the White Ribbon #Unspoken Rules campaign is one that really hits home for him.

“I was taught those #unspoken rules; that boys don’t cry, that we had to harden up and that it is not ok to be vulnerable, or hurt or lonely. Dad was the provider, the head of the house and so we thought it must be ok to act like this.”

“Although my dad was hard on me, I loved him and still do. Not just because we should forgive people, but because he’s my dad. And that makes the #unspoken rules even more powerful, because often they’re being passed down to you by the people you love”.

“So when I became a father at age 16 all that behaviour that was role modelled to me had been downloaded into my memory banks,” says Jamie.

“I ended up being my father. I had the whole core system; I was indoctrinated. I needed to be in charge, otherwise I was weak, and I thought women were there to do as I told them. I used physical and psychological violence, pushing my partner, punching holes in walls, levelling tables that were set up with meals, using intimidating behaviour, making threats and innuendo all directed at my wife.”

Jamie says the impact of violence on both of his two ex-partners made them terrified of him and his unpredictable behaviour.

“I was also fuelled by addiction and drugs. My partner was living in fear until she finally found the courage to get away.”

Jamie says he got to a point in his life where he woke up one morning and had lost everything he loved.

“I didn’t take any responsibility for my actions. I went straight to being a victim, wondering why they had left me. I couldn’t understand that I had caused this problem. I still thought it was them. There are many men who do this, blame all the external elements, friends, parents, women, and have no ownership of the issue, no understanding that their own attitudes and behaviour have led to a breakdown.

“I needed to do something. I realised I was going to jail or worse, I’d die because of my drug abuse. A family member took me to a treatment programme and laid it out that this was my last chance.”

For Jamie the challenge was to address his core behaviour and those belief systems: that he was in charge, that women were just there to do what he wanted, that men don’t show emotions. These beliefs were instilled at a very young age.

“The #unspoken rules ensured I knew how I was supposed to behave, that this was how it was supposed to be. I’d seen my Dad, he was in charge, he earned the money, he was the man, he used violence that affected me, and demonstrated that this was how it must be, that this was normal. It’s not until you see something different that you realise non-violence is actually normal. I thought it was the norm to have bruises and to treat women as objects to cook, clean, and provide sex.”

Jamie says it wasn’t until he met his current wife, who he has been with for the last 13 years, that he realised that all that stuff was a crock.

“My wife Audrey and I have two sons together but between us we have 12 kids and grandchildren. It’s a non-violent house, a beacon of hope, but I have to be a role model to our children and undo the damage I’ve caused to the children from when I was violent.”

“And through that 13 years lessons continued to be learnt as I had to take ownership of my outbursts that would disrupt the whanau dynamic. It was my wife who continued to reach out to those men such as the White Ribbon Riders who could hold me accountable. That was the biggest step I took to remain violence free.

Jamie became involved with White Ribbon when he was a drug counsellor and was given a White Ribbon pin by the chair of the White Ribbon Trust, Takurua Tawera.

“I realised that I can use my story to effect change. Over the last four years I’ve been known to be ‘that’ guy so people would come to me and ask for advice and help. This is very humbling, and now with training I’m a passionate advocate for non-violence in the community and for White Ribbon, having recently been approved as a White Ribbon Ambassador.

Jamie also uses the White Ribbon Ride to get his message across. “My first White Ribbon Ride was in 2015. I love that we are able to use our bikes to get into areas where we would not otherwise be invited. The flash bikes open conversations and generate interest. We move from a conversation about the bike, to a conversation about White Ribbon, to men’s attitudes and this year we will be drawing attention to what creates those attitudes, the #unspoken rules that help to create who we are and what is normal for us.”

Jamie says he is very passionate about this year’s message. “Of all the messages, this is a huge one and it goes right to the core. This is solution stuff. We’re no longer just raising awareness. We’re challenging the core belief systems that can either create young men that care or young men that will use violence.”

“I couldn’t have changed without the support of my loving family. I love my wife, my kids and my grandchildren and I know there will be men out there that feel the same way I do. So change for yourself, and the whanau.”