Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme 2021

 

The Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme (YALP) is being held on Friday 21 May at Aotea College from 9:30 am to 2:50 pm and aims to give students the information about family violence and respectful relationships, and encourage students to find their own way of communicating this information to their peers. It is so important that young people get these messages not only from the adults in their lives, but also that they take some ownership of this issue if we want to see real change in Aotearoa.

Speakers include:

Judge Peter Boshier, former Chief Family Court Judge and current Chief Ombudsman

Born and educated in Gisborne, Peter attended Victoria University of Wellington, obtaining a Bachelor of Laws with Honours Degree in 1975. After a period of practice in Wellington he was appointed as a District Court Judge with a specialist Family Court warrant in 1988. In 2004 he was appointed as the Principal Family Court Judge of New Zealand and held that position until December 2012 when he was appointed a Law Commissioner, a position he held until his appointment as Chief Ombudsman. He has served on the government’s Family Violence Taskforce. He is patron of the White Ribbon Trust and patron of the Dwell Community Housing Trust in Wellington. In 2009 he was made a distinguished alumnus of the Victoria University of Wellington for his contribution to the law.

Richie Hardcore, educator, keynote speaker and activist, working in violence prevention, masculinities, mental health and wellness.

Richie is also a retired multiple New Zealand Muay Thai champion, and now works as a coach and personal trainer, having helped some of New Zealand’s most successful fighters achieve their goals. With a fighting career that spanned more than 20 years, he was paid to punch people in the face. These days, that energy is channelled towards Richie’s big mission – to help make the world better by supporting people to live their best lives. He’s spent time as a community worker in drug and alcohol harm reduction, is a campaigner against domestic and sexual violence, and a sexual consent educator. Richie is passionate about helping to overturn this country’s mental health statistics. An excellent public speaker, he’s also an experienced radio host and MC, using his skills to help educate, inspire and challenge.

Eteuati Ete (formerly of the Laughing Samoans)

Eteuati Ete is a comedian, actor, writer and theatre producer who has decided to use his profile and influence particularly amongst Maori and Pasefika to raise awareness of family harm by sharing his own story of family violence as a victim and a perpetrator. He and his wife Mele Wendt have over the last few years been sharing their lived experience of family violence, as presenters in the Nga Vaka Family Violence programme. They believe that “violence thrives in silence” and by speaking out they will encourage and embolden victims to find their own voice. They also provide practical advice on how they were able to eliminate the violence in their marriage. While Ete has been an actor for almost forty years who’s appeared in film, tv and theatre, having been one of the first Pasefika people to attend the New Zealand Drama School, he’s perhaps best known as one half of the highly successful Laughing Samoans comedy duo.

Mele Wendt MNZM, White Ribbon Ambassador

Mele Wendt has a past lived experience of family harm which she and her husband, Eteuati Ete, publicly speak about. Having survived a turbulent period over 20 years ago, they share the particular factors that enabled their marriage to become violence-free and to thrive. Professionally, Mele worked for 24 years in education – first as a secondary school teacher and then at Victoria University of Wellington as the founding Pacific Liaison Officer and the manager of the domestic student recruitment office. She then served ten years as the Executive Director of Fulbright New Zealand. In the past few years Mele has been serving on a number of boards (including Chair of the Pasifika Education Centre in Auckland) and providing consultancies in several areas. Mele is involved in a number of women’s organisations and Pacific community groups, including P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A., the national organisation for Pacific women. She is a strong advocate for and mentor to women and girls, especially in the Pacific community. Mele is Samoan and pakeha/palagi, and has lived in Wellington for over 30 years. With four grown children, she and Ete are doting grandparents of three grandchildren and recently Mele was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to governance, the Pacific community and women.

Rob McCann, White Ribbon Manager

Graduating from Otago University with a double degree majoring in law and drama, Rob has worked for both community organisations and commercial businesses as a manager, coordinator and leader and currently manages the White Ribbon anti-violence campaign. He’s also a first time councillor at the Kapiti Coast District Council. Rob has extensive experience as a speaker and presenter.

Angie Delfavero and Rachel Zhou

Students Angie Delfavero and Rachel Zhou are year 13 students studying at Queen Margaret College. In 2018, they established a non-profit social enterprise called ‘Find Your Fire’ with the aim of empowering youth and encouraging students to make a change in their community. The students absolutely loved the sound of our programme, and reached out saying it’s such an amazing opportunity for youth to get involved, educated, and inspired to make a change. Thanks to ACC and Zerox, they are supplying everyone with a copy of their magazine to have as a resource and to act as a source of inspiration.

David Cournane, White Ribbon Ambassador

David Cournane is our School Liaison for this programme. David is Acting Assistant Principal – Pastoral, at Aotea College and has been instrumental in reinvigorating the programme and ensuring it offers real value to schools. If you would like further information about the programme from a school perspective, please feel free to contact David coe@aotea.school.nz

 

9:00am students arrive between 9am and 9:20am
9:30am Mihi whakatau
10:10am Session 1 Judge Boshier
10:30am Rob McCann
11:10am Session 2 Richie Hardcore
12.20pm Dave Cournane
12:30pm Lunch
1:10pm Session 3 Mele and Ete
1:50pm Session 4 Leadership Angie and Rachel
2:30pm Session 5 School Groups report back
2:50pm Farewell and thankyou

* Breakout sessions occur after each speaker.

Pre COVID, 30 schools and 240 students and staff attended the first full-day workshop with students reporting the event was ‘very engaging’, ‘should continue each year’, ‘thoroughly enjoyed the experience’, ‘would definitely attend in the future’ and ‘really enjoyed the day and learned a lot from it’.

• 86% felt the speakers helped them understand the causes of family violence
• 91% felt speakers helped them understand what a healthy relationship looks like
• 69% strongly agreed the speakers were engaging with a further 31% agreeing
• The workshop at the end of the day helped me come up with ideas of how to create change in my school or community (25% strongly agreed, 60% agreed, 13% neither agreed nor disagreed, and 2% disagreed).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students also made some helpful suggestions which have been acted upon, such as more time for collaboration between students. This is now built into the programme with a reduced number of speakers and more post-session discussions. Three of these discussion sessions mix students from different schools together, while the final session is in school groups to brainstorm ideas that students can undertake to raise awareness, and highlight healthy relationships in their communities.
For more information on this year’s Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme click here.

  • Notes:
    The programme supports key messages from the Mates and Dates and Loves Me Not Programmes as evidence suggests that peer communication and multiple connections with anti-violence messages increase the chance of change.
  • Students will have the opportunity to learn about violence prevention and take a leadership role on the issue within their schools. As in previous years, we would prefer to focus on Year 12 and Year 13 students as they already have leadership roles within schools.
  • Schools that would like ongoing support will be assigned an adult White Ribbon Ambassador or staff member, to provide support for students and teachers involved in the programme.
  • David Cournane is our School Liaison for this programme. David is Acting Assistant Principal – Pastoral, at Aotea College and has been instrumental in reinvigorating the programme and ensuring it offers real value to schools. If you would like further information about the programme from a school perspective, please feel free to contact David coe@aotea.school.nz
  • The dress code is up to schools. Predominantly schools chose to send students in formal attire, however, this year the event falls on Pink Ribbon Day, so schools may wish to promote the wearing of pink. Messages about stopping bullying and Upstander actions will be built into the day.
  • Schools that sent a teacher or support person found that this assisted their students, especially when it came to supporting the students to organise their activities when back at school.
  • Following the workshops, students have spread the kaupapa in their schools via a range of impressive activities including a spoken word competition.

How to Register

If you would like to register to be part of this programme in 2021 or would like further information, please contact White Ribbon’s Administrator Rachel Woodrow at resources@whiteribbon.org.nz and we will send out the registration forms.  There is no cost to participate in this programme as we do not want to create any barriers to participation, but we are very happy when schools allocate mufti days etc. to raising funds for our charity!

It is so important that young people get these messages not only from the adults in their lives but also that they take ownership of this issue and message if we want to see real change in the future.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Rachel or David at any time. Please ensure you have registered by Wednesday the 5th of May. We look forward to working with you to help prevent violence in our community.

Striding Ahead

Written by Kate Jordan

In early March 2020, I walked away from a two-year abusive relationship. On reflection, I knew things weren’t right from very early on, but I persevered. Because that’s what I do. I’m a people pleaser and an empath, but I fell in love with someone who could never be happy. I was stuck on a rollercoaster of walking on eggshells and groveling back to maintain our relationship when things blew up, which they inevitably did.

Emotional abuse is insidious. It’s a grey zone. It’s just enough discomfort that you don’t question it. If you put a frog in boiling water, it jumps out. If you put a frog in water and slowly heat it up, it never notices the danger it’s in. Emotional abuse isn’t discussed often enough and people can confuse it with domestic abuse, the two are often linked. In my experience, physical violence would have been the big wake-up call I needed, a black and white reason to leave: “he hit me”. Emotional abuse is so much harder to describe: “he made me feel worthless” “he made me blame myself” “he cut me off from my friends” “he made me so physically ill with stress that I couldn’t eat or sleep”. But in that grey zone, he planted just enough doubt in myself that I stayed. He manipulated my mind to believe I was the cause of my own suffering. If I had said it differently, or been on time, or made more of an effort, or done it his way, then he would be happy. I wasted two years of my life chasing a happiness that didn’t exist. A friend of mine reminded me that it wasn’t a waste of time, because I’ve learned valuable lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Emotional abuse leaves deep internal scars that I am still healing. The work I commit to myself to grow and learn from my experience is the hardest challenge I have ever taken on. Journaling, meditating, counseling, ironing out the creases and crevices in my brain where I still blame myself. I didn’t believe people could be so… horrible. I didn’t believe that someone I loved would make me feel so terrible about myself. So I did just that, I didn’t believe it and continued on as best I could. Until I couldn’t. In the end it took three episodes of infidelity for me to stand up for myself and say “I don’t deserve this.”

When I walked away from my abuser, I rediscovered my energy. I suddenly had a full cup of Kate to give to anything I wanted. I had also lost my job and travel plans due to Covid-19, but I was happier than I had been in such a long time. I worked through a lot of painful memories in those following months, but I knew in my core that every day away from him was a step in the right direction. With all my newfound energy, I fixed my attention on the Kepler Ultramarathon, a 60km trail run in Fiordland in December 2020. I also took a brave step in creating the Striding Ahead Instagram page, a place where I could share my training and talk openly about my experience of emotional abuse. On reflection, I knew nothing about emotional abuse until I took the Positive Relationship Quiz at areyouok.org.nz. I realised that if I had known the signs of an unhealthy relationship, I may have left much earlier than I did. As part of my recovery, I researched emotional abuse, narcissism, gaslighting, and manipulation so that I could share my newfound knowledge and spread awareness. I am educating people to make informed decisions, so they don’t have to go through what I went through. Striding Ahead sheds light on what happens behind closed doors so that people don’t feel alone in their experiences. It also celebrates what can be achieved when we reclaim our energy and use it how we want to.

A few months after I started Striding Ahead, a former colleague posted about the negative experiences she was going through in her relationship. I reached out to her and shared my story, we found so much support in knowing we weren’t alone. Admitting the abuse I had put up with for so long made me feel weak, but here was another strong and determined woman who had been through a similar experience. I realised it can happen to anyone; emotional abuse does not discriminate. She had an existing entry for the two-person relay in the Coast to Coast 2021, a multi-sport event where competitors race from Kumara Beach on the West Coast to New Brighton Beach on the East Coast of the South Island. She needed a teammate for the cycle and kayak legs of the race, of course I said yes! The kayak leg really tested my bravery and resilience after tipping out of my boat twice. Sitting on the river bank cold, tired and scared, I thought about why I was doing this. I thought about the purpose behind Striding Ahead, I thought about my amazing teammate waiting for me to tag her at the end!  We placed third in the Women’s Two Day Two Person category, supported by our amazing partners, friends, and family.

On the 6th of March 2021, it will be one year since I stood up for myself and decided to take back control of my life. On the 6th of March 2021, I will compete in one of the most grueling competitions on earth: the Ironman New Zealand triathlon in Taupo. A 3.8km swim in Lake Taupo, 180km bike to Reporoa and back twice, rounded out with a 42.2km run along the lakefront. (note this was written prior to lockdown so the date may change)

If you would like to join me on my journey and on race day, you can follow @StridingAhead on Instagram and @StridingAheadNZ on Facebook. You can show your support for Striding Ahead by donating to https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/striding-ahead, all proceeds go to White Ribbon NZ. Leave a supportive message in the comments and our supporters will write it on a sign to inspire me during the run leg!

This is how I’ve chosen to use my energy; how will you use yours?

Winners of the White Ribbon Morning Tea Competition

It was heartening to see so many events and activities throughout the country to draw attention to the issue of violence against women and encourage people to challenge the #outdated. We wish we could give all the hard-working community groups around the country morning tea so it was a tough decision for the campaign team.

White Ribbon Ambassador Dane Haskell

The North Island morning tea goes to Dane Haskell and the team at Taranaki Safe Families Trust (TSFT). They did an extraordinary job promoting the kaupapa in their region. In addition to their work on the ground they provided an inspirational example in the social media space. They ran three online events that really got local people involved. They asked people to share messages and photos online that have been shared widely and really resonated with people throughout the country. TSFT created innovative solutions to the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Presbyterian Support Southland

The South Island morning tea goes to Presbyterian Support Southland. The team at Presbyterian Support invited White Ribbon Ambassador the Very Rev Ray Coster to spend a week in Invercargill and arranged multiple events for Ray to connect with the local community and promote the kaupapa. They collaborated with other community groups to organize a breakfast (co-hosted with the Otago Southland Employers Association, a special Rotary club meeting, a Community Awareness Day and a church service.

In the North Island our runners up, who receive a large cake, are Te Whare Ruruhau o Meri and Te Iwi o Ngati Kahu – who decorated their office space and made a great tik tok video.

Our South Island runners up are the Te Rito Collaboration in Timaru, who organized a BBQ that encouraged 200 people to come along and engage with first responders and South Canterbury White Ribbon Ambassador Craig Calder from SCRFU. The food was provided by Rapid Relief.

It was wonderful to see so much collaboration and innovation in the events and activities for White Ribbon Day this year. If you haven’t already, please share photos of your events with us at contact@whiteribbon.org.nz or tag us with #WhiteRibbonNZ or #Outdated.

Be a Better Man Day with Radio Hauraki

Radio Hauraki Nights Host Chris Key chats with White Ribbon Campaign Manager Rob McCann about healthy masculinity and the Challenge the #Outdated Campaign in a two part interview on their Be a Better Man Day.

 

To Challenge the #Outdated we need to know how to Raise Our Men

Raise Our Men features interviews with New Zealand men about their experience of growing up and conforming to male stereotypes (the man box).RaiseOurMen Movie

It’s been developed by White Ribbon NZ because how we encourage and expect men to behave, directly affects the high level of domestic violence and sexual harm in this country.

There’s a considerable amount of research that has moved family violence prevention towards targeting the drivers of that violence – men’s masculinity. For example, recent research suggests that rigid beliefs in gender roles and glorifying aggression and control are strong predictors of negative outcomes, especially in the case of violence against women and other men.

The drivers behind family violence are the attitudes men have towards women, and their role within a relationship and family. That’s why we are Challenging the #Outdated so we can promote and support healthy masculinity.

The film picks up on the four key links:

  • Men learn they have more power than women and so feel they are entitled to use violence against women.
  • Men hold to a rigid division of what men do and what women do (gender roles), and use violence to enforce this.
  • Men tend to express anger through aggression and are not encouraged to express all the other feelings they have.
  • Men take their traditional masculinity identity from peers and the media, rather than developing their own more healthy identity.

The film features interviews with nine kiwi men, and in telling their stories, it shows that change is possible – when men are shown and supported to choose a different respectful path. Download the discussion guide on ‘How to effectively use White Ribbon’s Raise Our Men film

White Ribbon hopes the film will prompt discussion about how we raise our boys and male behaviour, and encourage men to use the White Ribbon Toolboxes that outline how to have respectful relationships and respectful sexual relationships.

The film is a free resource for anyone working with men, and young men, to promote positive, respectful behaviour.

Download the discussion guide for the film.

 

 

Presbyterian Support Events and Community Resources

Hearing about the events that are organized around the country to spread the kaupapa each year are a real highlight for the Campaign team. One group that has really stood out in the depth and breadth of their activities is the Presbyterian Support community throughout New Zealand.

Like so many agencies that provide social services this has been a challenging year for Presbyterian Support but they have put considerable time and effort into producing their own resources for their community and planning events where people can engage with White Ribbon.

We are extremely lucky to have the Very Reverend Ray Coster on our Ambassador team. Last year he worked with Campaign Manager Rob McCann and the team at Presbyterian Support Upper South Island to promote White Ribbon Accreditation in a group training session in Christchurch. This year Ray is heading to Invercargill for a week of activities coordinated by Presbyterian Support Southland including a combined church service, White Ribbon Day Breakfast and addressing the local Rotary Club.

Ray has also worked with Angela Singer to interview four Ministers of different ages and ethnicities to highlight the outdated ideas they heard and the outdated ideas the church once perpetuated. The Ministers raised some really interesting issues and we are sure the videos will have wide appeal to those reflecting on the need to challenge the #outdated throughout all aspects of society.

At the other end of the country, Presbyterian Support Northern have created their own messages for their community and have had billboards made up for 14 churches around the North Island, with messages such as “You matter”, “Don’t give up” and “You’re not alone”. They also partnered with Reverend Roxy Gahegan to create resources, from posters, to a testimony and myth busters for the ministers to be able to share in their communities. They also created a blog which includes some interactive ideas and videos.

We would love to hear about the events and activities you are involved in this year. Please write to us at contact@whiteribbon.org.nz and share your photos and stories.

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Make your own #Outdated video

This year, we are asking men and women to have courageous conversations about the #Outdated.

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.

Men’s violence towards women in our communities remains appallingly high and if we are to tackle this violence we need to focus on the attitudes that enable men to think violence is ok and that trap them in the man box.

We are asking men to speak up about the #Outdated ideas they hear and sometimes feel pressured to conform to which research links to violence. We’ve all heard these phrases like Be A Man, Harden Up, Kids Should Be Silent, Treat E’m Mean Keep E’m Keen, and Show Them Who’s The Boss. We want to highlight behaviour that supports healthy masculinity. (see below for some helpful ideas)

One way of doing that in a public manner, is to create a short video and post it on your own social media feed and tag it with #Outdated. 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. Everyone is encouraged to take part, not just men.

Today boys and young men are still being taught unhelpful messages about what it is to be ‘Real Men’. As Tim Winton argues “Boys and young men are so routinely expected to betray their better natures, to smother their consciences, to renounce the best of themselves and submit to something low and mean. As if there’s only one way of being a bloke(!)” That such rules – or roles – of masculinity have remained constant, despite an increasing awareness that such rules hurt everybody, points to just how ingrained and pervasive these expectations can feel as evidenced by White Ribbon’s own research in 2019. Let’s challenge the #outdated and support healthy masculinity, which is a protection against violence.

Check out some of the videos that have already been added.

 

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.

Incredible volunteer – Roseanne Sheridan

With White Ribbon Day only a couple of days away we wanted to take the opportunity to thank our volunteers for the incredible work they do spreading the kaupapa and highlight the journey of one of our longest-standing volunteers Roseanne Sheridan.

Roseanne is based in Oamaru and has been involved in spreading the kaupapa since before White Ribbon was officially established in New Zealand. In the late 1990s she gave out White Ribbons with Women’s Refuge who had come up from Dunedin. Since then she has witnessed the establishment of organisations that support victims, events to raise awareness of the issue and an increase in the groups advocating for change. She has seen the impact of awareness campaigns on society as a whole and notes they have given victims/survivors a voice. These campaigns have also given men opportunities to change and be accountable for their past actions so they can grow and be proud of the men they have become. Roseanne came up with a fantastic rewrite of a negative statement to create a positive one to add to this year’s Challenge the #Outdated campaign: Putting them down Lifting Them Up.

Roseanne dressed in Victorian costume ready to hand out White Ribbons at Oamaru’s Victorian Heritage Celebrations

Roseanne is a survivor of an abusive relationship, who suffered physical and psychological violence from her husband. When she took a stand on his behaviour, he then left, but she sustained a serious physical injury from an assault during that time. She said that it is now recognised that this is the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship. A time when many women are injured or killed. In dealing with more escalating threats, Roseanne spent time in Dunedin Women’s refuge. She then got a protection order that meant her husband was required to complete a Stopping Violence Course. Roseanne decided not to press charges against him, since at that time no restorative justice processes existed. She learned of these principles of restoration through the initial meetings in Oamaru that eventually led to their implementation in our current legal system. In applying this to her own life, she found it brought restoration to herself and to her family, including her husband. Her children attended the first course at Dunedin Women’s Refuge, pioneered to support children who had been exposed to family violence. While the marriage ended, this restoration process has allowed them to heal and grow and they now join together for significant family events. Roseanne is immensely proud of the courage shown by her, now adult, children.

Her involvement with White Ribbon comes from her own personal experience and she has used that to empower others. “I wanted to raise awareness of what domestic violence really is: from how society perceives it to how people see the women who suffer abuse. I wanted to change people’s lives, to take away the silence, the shame and the fear. To bring healing to families and to communities. It is heartening to see the work now being done by White Ribbon on a large scale. I still continue the community contact in bringing White Ribbon into the main street of Oamaru – the shops, hotels and taverns, restaurants and businesses, the hospital and doctor’s surgeries, but mainly just person to person. Reaching out to the people is what White Ribbon is all about.”

We asked Roseanne about an empowering encounter she had had as a volunteer and she responded –

“I always think about this whenever I give out the white ribbons. An elderly woman, she held my hand for a brief moment and just said, ‘I am so pleased they have this now, dear. There was nothing when I was going through it.’ Our eyes met in a touching of hearts and she was gone again.

I think of people whose lives have been touched by violence who stay silent. The giving of a ribbon can give them the courage they need to stand up and speak out. It can bring comfort, recognition, healing and peace to their hearts. There are those who are scep

tical and may make negative comments, but very few these days fortunately. I am greatly encouraged by the men, young and old, who accept a ribbon and enthusiastically pin it onto themselves immediately; the women who see me and ask for a ribbon before I can even say anything and the businesses who want a poster to display.”

We are extremely grateful to Roseanne for the dedication she has shown to spreading the kaupapa. For over twenty years she has been helping to heal hurt, giving people the chance to open up about the challenges they have faced and ensuring people hear about the importance of healthy respectful relationships. We are incredibly lucky to have people like Roseanne who look for ways to make society better. If you want to help give out White Ribbons this November please get in touch at contact@whiteribbon.org.nz

Keith Quinn should be thanked for saying aloud what many men actually believe

Keith Quinn’s comments about ‘hardening up’ are outdated. But rather than pile on we should be thanking Keith for highlighting just one of the many aspects of #Outdated masculinity.

“Commentators in the media have rightly underlined the link between men’s mental health and #outdated masculinity,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “But what is missing from this conversation is the link to family violence.”

There’s a considerable amount of research that has moved family violence prevention towards targeting the drivers of that violence – men’s masculinity. For example, recent research suggests that rigid beliefs in gender roles and glorifying aggression and control are strong predictors of negative outcomes, especially in the case of violence against women and other men.

“We know that men continue to hold outdated views about sexuality, gender, and gendered violence,” says Mr McCann. “In New Zealand, Police data for the year to August shows that women make up 90% of those violently assaulted by a partner or ex, and 98.6% of those sexually assaulted by a partner or ex.

“The drivers behind this violence are the attitudes men have towards women, and their role within a relationship and family.

“Attitudes that while not seemingly violent, are part of an attitude where men are in charge, where men are dominant, when men are the primary breadwinner and decision maker.

“These are the same outdated ideas that Keith reached for when reacting to the tears of joy from Argentinian men. They were demonstrating what healthy masculinity looks like and showing real emotions.

“Healthy masculinity is about being kind, empathetic, finding peaceful resolutions to problems. It is about boys and men being confident in who they are without feeling pressure to be a certain type of boy/man.

“By adopting these traits, we are equipping young men to participate in real relationships with all their normal trials and tribulations. We are equipping young men with the tools to find solutions, rather than use violence (whether physical or non-physical) in a relationship.

“So let’s not shut down the Keith’s of this world. Let’s have those courageous conversations about what male masculinity should look like, and #challenge the outdated ideas that are unhealthy.”

Link to recent research https://theconversation.com/inside-the-man-box-how-rigid-ideas-of-manning-up-harm-young-men-and-those-around-them-143081

 

White Ribbon’s annual campaign asks men to Challenge the #Outdated.

White Ribbon Outdated Campaign (x3 messages) from White Ribbon on Vimeo.

 

 

Treat ‘Em Mean Keep ‘Em Keen Equal

The opposite of violence is showing respect. When kids hear old clichés like “treat em mean, keep em keen” they’re receiving a false idea about relationships. They’re hearing that negative behaviour has positive results, which is really dangerous. Respectful Relationships aren’t about manipulation and mind games – they require us to treat our partners as our equals by listening to each other and making decisions together.

 

Show Them Who’s Boss? You Love Them

When kids hear this outdated advice, they’re getting an idea of manhood as being in control of their partners, family, even their friends. This can lead to men mistaking fear and intimidation for love and respect. The strongest relationships are those that respect the people in our lives as their own people. Particularly, it means not assuming there are set roles or rules that give men power over women. Showing that you care creates better relationships and teaches the behaviour you want your children to learn.

 

Kids Should Keep Quiet Be Heard

When a kid asks a question, they’re reaching out to us to learn something. When a child engages in play, they are learning important skills that teach them how to behave in the world. When a child cries, they are asking for comfort. Kids ask us for attention because they are learning how to navigate the world and build relationships – they need to be able to speak and be heard, so they can learn and grow.

 

Healthy Masculinity

Our goal in preventing gendered violence as perpetrated by men is not the protection of victims, but to help men break out of some of the unhelpful stereotypes of being a man. Such a task requires a wider view of the attitudes and values that help to underpin, normalize, and lead to gendered violence. Our approach, and one that has been taken up in other countries as well, must be to find ways to help men open up to new ways of being a man. Part of that is stepping away from ideas of masculinity as dominant, violent, and overbearing, to embrace other possibilities for manhood: being kind, showing respect, and being open to change. If we want to break out of the man box, and model good behaviour for those around us, we don’t need to protect our loved ones, we need to show them that all men are capable expressing love, respect, and are open to challenging outdated stereotypes.

 

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 ‘having muscles’, 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.

 

Advantages of healthy masculinity

  • Healthy masculinity can lead to less stress and anxiety to conform.
  • Healthy masculinity can mean that men and boys treat others better.
  • Healthy masculinity can mean that boys and men are freer to follow their dreams and express themselves.
  • Healthy masculinity can mean that women and girls are treated with respect.
  • Healthy masculinity can mean that people feel freer to express their gender and sexuality without fear.

 

Key Messages:

  • A full explanation of the campaign including key messages is available here.
  • Graphics and Videos: Download them from here.

 

Spokespeople

Rob McCann                                                                   Dr Kris Taylor, PhD
White Ribbon Manager                                                 White Ribbon Researcher
rob@whiteribbon.org.nz                                                kris.taylor@auckland.ac.nz

 

 

 

 

Blueprints – mapping out a better future together

White Ribbon is delighted to be able to share the details of an exciting new opportunity to assist “at risk” youth in South Auckland.

In July of this year, a partnership agreement was established between White Ribbon and the New Zealand Police within Counties Manukau East. The intention was to work collaboratively together on a programme addressing the numerous issues facing young men 14 to 18 years of age, that come to attention of the Police within this community.

Blueprints receives referrals for 15 young men for each intake from Youth Aid Police and their community contacts, who engage for an initial 10-week period within the four school terms.  After their term on the programme, participants receive ongoing support from the White Ribbon Youth Mentor-Social Worker for another 10 months.

White Ribbon Youth Social Worker Sean Apai and White Ribbon National Relationships Manager Pam Hughes with an artwork created by Petia Wilson (one of the founders of the 1 degree workshops) and presented to the team at the first Blueprints Graduation.

Sessions address many of the current challenges facing our youth and are delivered by contracted providers experienced within their given subjects.  These include: Caroline and Petia Wilson founders of 1-degree Educational Workshops, who tailor their sessions to the specific needs of each group, covering issues such as resilience, emotions, mental health, bullying and leadership; Richie Hardcore, White Ribbon Ambassador and educator, who talks about respectful relationships and challenging the unspoken and outdated rules and stereotypes that limit individual development and inhibit healthy masculinity; Peter Thorburn, Director of MESS, an educator and clinician (AOD), specialising in youth, who delivers a session on alcohol and drugs.

After the completion of these sessions, participants set their own short, medium, and long-term goals where their individual “Blueprint” is developed, and they then receive dedicated support for the following ten-months.

The first intake saw 9 participants completing the individual sessions component in late October with an additional participant moving into employment. More than 60 people, families and supporters attended the enjoyable Graduation event for this first cohort.

Area Commander Inspector Wendy Spiller, Manukau East Police and Pam Hughes, White Ribbon Relationship Manager were incredibly pleased with the successful completion of the first cohort intake. Changing Covid levels during this first term saw the Blueprints team working with significant challenges that required considerable flexibility to navigate. Support from our contractors, participants and parents over this time was vital enabling both continuation and completion.

The second intake has now commenced, with 15 young men attending the individual sessions.

Sean Apai, White Ribbon, Youth mentor/social worker is based at Ormiston Police Station and continues to work closely the Counties Manukau East Youth Aid Team, to deliver positive outcomes for the young men within this partnership programme.