What your organisation can do to support White Ribbon’s campaign to Prevent Men’s Violence Towards Women.

White Ribbon’s annual campaign promotes respectful relationships – to prevent men’s violence against women.

It’s a community effort that educates, increases awareness and builds commitment to respectful behaviour. Everyone can be involved!

Here are ten ideas on how any organisation can support White Ribbon’s respectful relationships campaign this year. This could be a business, a sports club, a school, a marae, a cultural or music group or a community organisation – anywhere people group together.

These ideas are general so they can be used by many different organisations, so think about what best suits your environment – tweaking them to your organisation will make it more effective at getting your people involved.


Take Part in the 2018 Campaign

This year we’re asking men (and everyone) to ‘stand up’ by taking the online pledge at www.whiteribbon.org.nz and committing to take one of eight actions.

The actions offer men choices – to listen, reflect, alter their behaviour, talk to others and disrupt negative behaviour – which build respectful behaviour that undermines violence.

Once they’ve chosen an action, they will receive an email linking them with a White Ribbon toolbox and a video with useful information on how to proceed and achieve their goal.

We’re asking everyone to do this from the 12th of November when we launch the campaign and then share on your social media and other communication channels The Pledge. Promotional material for sharing and promoting The Pledge can be found here.

Distribute and wear White Ribbon ribbons

Wearing white ribbons in November is the simplest way of showing support for respectful relationships and opposes violence against women. You can easily involve your people in wearing ribbons by explaining how White Ribbon’s messages fit with your organisation’s values. You can also distribute white ribbons to others your organisation encounters, such as customers or visitors.

Fabric and metal white ribbons are available from the online shop.
These along with t-shirts and posters are available now.

Display White Ribbon’s campaign messages

Each year White Ribbon develops new messages promoting respectful relationships. Posters are available for you to display where your staff or members, plus the visitors and the public can see them. They are available printed in Maori and English and for download in Japanese, Samoan, Mandarin, Pinjabi, Hindi, Fijian and Tongan. They show your organisation supports respectful relationships. T-shirts are also available for your people to wear as are flyers and other collateral.

Stand Up. This year the campaign is focusing on The Pledge and asking individuals and organisations to take the pledge online and commit to one action. The information will be provided to each person when they take The Pledge. There will also be a challenge to get other men and organisations signed up to The Pledge.

White Ribbon resources such as cloth ribbons, posters and t-shirts are available from our online shop.

Hold a White Ribbon event

Do something to draw attention to White Ribbon’s campaign and how your organisation supports respectful behaviour. This could be internal for your people, or involve your local community or customers.

Events are easy to organise, and volunteers are often keen to get involved. Something that reflects your organisation will attract interest. See our events page for examples of community events – this will get you thinking about what might suit your organisation’s event.

  • Organise a White Ribbon breakfast or morning tea
  • Have a free screening of Raise Our Men (a White Ribbon Film)
  • Invite A white Ribbon Ambassador to speak at a meeting/event
  • Support an existing White Ribbon Event like the White Ribbon Ride
  • Organise to collect valuable donations
  • And make sure you provide the audience with an opportunity to take The Pledge either online or using a form here.

Involve your people in respectful relationships

Offer individuals the opportunity to take White Ribbon’s pledge: “I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent violence towards women”. This is an effective way for people to show their commitment to respectful behaviour. The pledge can be taken here.

Also get your people talking about what respect means to them and in your organisation’s environment. This could be at a meeting or part of training. For example, discuss the White Ribbon Respectful Relationships toolbox and what these behaviours means to people in your organisation. Focus on practical examples that will make it real. This is likely to improve your social environment.

Incorporate White Ribbon messages into your communication

Each year White Ribbon produces messages promoting respectful behaviour. You can show that your organisation supports these by including them in your communication – this could be internal to your members or staff, and out to others, such as customers or suppliers. You could show you support respectful behaviour by including messages in your public advertising.

White Ribbon’s campaign office can provide graphics you can use in email signatures. And see White Ribbon’s toolboxes for messages or for more details see our key messages.

Align White Ribbon’s messages with your organisation’s values

Look at how White Ribbon’s respectful messages align with your organisation’s values or mission. There are probably many ways they can work together to promote respectful behaviour that contributes to your success. Promoting how your organisation aligns with White Ribbon will motivate your people and show your community how you support respectful relationships.

Develop your own respectful relationship messages

Think about your people and develop your own messages they’ll respond to and which promote their respectful behaviour. Get these out during November to make respect real in your environment.

For ideas on respectful behaviour see White Ribbon’s toolboxes.

Celebrate your respect champions

You’ll have people in your organisation that role model respect. Acknowledging and celebrating them is a good way to promote respectful behaviour.

If you’ve got someone who stands out for modelling respectful behaviour and how they influence others, you can nominate them to be a White Ribbon Ambassador. Ambassadors embody the principles of White Ribbon’s respectful relationships campaign. Contact White Ribbon about this.

Check your policies and practices for respect

Check that your policies and practices identify and promote the respectful behaviour you expect of your people. Tweak them if need be, so you’re doing what you can to actively promote respect in your organisation and community.

White Ribbon has a business accreditation scheme which details actions businesses can take to promote respect and prevent violence. Contact White Ribbon about this or check out the web page.


How to Take The Pledge

This year we’re asking men to ‘stand up’ by taking the online pledge and committing to take one or more actions.

The eight actions offer men choices – to listen, reflect, alter their behaviour, talk to others and disrupt negative behaviour – which build respectful behaviour that undermines violence.

Once you’ve chosen an action, you will receive an email linking you with a White Ribbon toolbox and a video with useful information on how to proceed and achieve their goal.

From the 12th of November a range of New Zealand organisations will be using their communication channels to promote the online pledge and actions to their customers and staff.

We are asking all New Zealanders to activate their networks of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. And then asking them to do the same to challenge their friends to take The Pledge and Stand Up, Speak out, and Act to prevent men’s violence towards women.

Take The Pledge from November 12th on the front page of this website, and then share your commitment online to encourage your friends, family and colleagues to Stand Up and take action.





Peyton Morete’s – ‘Little Guys

Earlier in the year 16 year old Kapiti coast teenager Peyton Morete wrote and recorded her song ‘Little Guys’ as her entry in the Champions of Kapiti song competition. A local It’s Not OK  initiative to highlight family violence/harm.

Little Guys went on to win that competition; the prize, a day at Surgery Studios with Barnaby Weir, best known from the Black Seeds and Lee Prebble, sound engineer; who has worked with the likes of Dave Dobbin.

For Peyton, working in the studio with Barnaby and Lee was very special “because it was working with people in the industry that I want to be in and I got to see a glimpse of what behind the scenes of songs are like. It gave me a lot of knowledge and was a fun day. I also enjoyed the filming because this was an experience I have never had before.”

The purpose of the Champions of Kapiti song competition was to encourage the voice of young people who have faced some tough challenges in life or know people who have and to encourage hope.

Peyton’s inspiration for Little Guys was based on having witnessed friends face some tough times. “I just wanted to write a song that lets people know that it’s ok to experience hard times but there are people out there who are going to help, who are willing to help. They may feel life is not great but they need to just keep taking one step at a time and they will eventually find happiness and people who will bring them happiness.”

Little Guys is a message to young people about not giving up. People you have trusted may have let you down, and while you may feel hopeless and worthless, you need to fight and let people in to help. You might even feel you are to blame for everything that has happened to you, but you need to believe in yourself and fight for life. You have your human rights. You certainly have your human right to be helped.

20181007_231246 (1)

New Law Increases Victim Safety

New family violence legislation currently passing through Parliament will give priority to the safety of victims of family violence and their children.

The Family Violence Bill is part of a suite of initiatives to improve the family violence response system so that people get help in a timely and meaningful way.

This work includes a national strategy for the prevention of family and sexual violence and a new agency to lead that work as well as a dedicated role in Government with the appointment of a Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Minister of Justice.

The new legislation improves the legislative framework for family violence and will be implemented in two phases, December 2018 and July 2019.

Phase one improves the criminal justice response by creating three new offences that will come into force this year.

Strangulation/suffocation becomes a crime with a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment. Strangulation is a significant risk factor for future violence and lethality. It is used as a tactic to control a partner by showing the victim that the perpetrator has the ability to kill.

Strangulation has serious physical consequences for a victim which can show up days after the incident. Strangulation is always serious even if there are no immediate and obvious visible marks or bruises.

A new offence of Assault on a Person in a Family Relationship will complement existing offences of Male Assaults Female and Assault on a Child and better reflects the diverse nature of family violence offending. It carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment.

The third new offence of Coerced Marriage or Civil Union recognises that coercion to marry is a form of abuse and will apply to marriages or civil unions occurring in New Zealand or overseas. It carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.

From December, it will be easier for victims of a family violence crime to give evidence by video recording. This is intended to help reduce the trauma of giving evidence for victims as they will only have to describe what happened once.

In other changes, the safety of the victim and family will be given priority when deciding whether or not to grant bail for a defendant charged with a family violence offence.

Phase Two

Changes coming into force in phase two relate to Protection Orders, Police Safety Orders, children’s safety and tools to support system change. Included is a modernised definition of family violence which recognises family violence as a pattern of behaviour over time, including coercive control and controlling behaviour. It also includes dowry abuse as a form of family violence.


For more information go to https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_72556/family-and-wh%C4%81nau-violence-legislation-bill


2018 White Ribbon Campaign

This year’s Respectful Relationships campaign in November will build on the recently heightened awareness of women’s experiences of men’s abuse such as sexual harassment.

The White Ribbon Trust commissioned a report to help align White Ribbon with the #MeToo movement and develop an appropriate response. You can read the report here.

The report outlined a number of recommendations and these have been accepted by the White Ribbon Advisory Committee and by the White Ribbon Campaign Trust that is responsible for White Ribbon in New Zealand. The report’s author and White Ribbon’s researcher, Garth Baker, says “Now’s the time for men to stand up and be counted. We know some men are uncertain how to act, so we are making it easy by providing that information in our online toolboxes.”

“This November, men can take the White Ribbon Pledge ‘to stand up, speak out and act to prevent violence towards women’.

To make The Pledge more action oriented, White Ribbon will be highlighting a range of actions men can take to demonstrate their commitment.

If you want to be involved in the campaign please get in contact with us here.

Recommendations that will help shape the 2018 White Ribbon Campaign

  1. White Ribbon develops the website where individuals can take The Pledge by offering them an option to commit to enacting their pledge by taking specific actions within an agreed timeframe. This emulates what White Ribbon Canada has done.
  2. White Ribbon includes the three key #MeToo actions into the list of options for men to enact the White Ribbon Pledge.
  3. White Ribbon promotes and prioritises the #MeToo three key actions in campaign media and communication.
  4. White Ribbon strengthens its current gender transformative approach by:
    1. promoting actions men can take to enact The Pledge which promote gender equity, being more flexible in gender behaviour or talking with young men about ‘breaking out of the man box’.
    2. Highlighting these actions in other campaign media and communication.
    3. Incorporating a suitable gender transformation message into the campaign’s key messages (in level one communication).
    4. Developing a short toolbox for men on how to positively respond to #MeToo with information on how to enact the three key actions and to break out of the ‘Man Box’.
    5. Developing a new toolbox to support men ‘Breaking Out of the Man Box’ and becoming more equitable and flexible in their gender behaviour.
    6. Reviewing the content of existing toolboxes to ensure they overtly promote men breaking out of the man box to be more equitable and flexible.
    7. Developing a range of information that can be used to build understanding of the links between a man’s use of violence against women, his socialisation, male social norms, and gender inequality at a structural level. This would include an explanation of the terms ‘rape culture’ and ‘toxic masculinity’ and promoting support for gender equity and flexible gender behaviour (key to the respectful behaviour White Ribbon promotes).
    8. Promoting this information to men in the 2018 campaign media and communication.
  5. White Ribbon promotes the key action of men listening and believing women when they talk of their experience of harassment or assault, or other negative behaviour by men by:
    1. Promoting ‘listening and believing’ women as a campaign key message in 2018 and promote this action in other campaign media and communication.
    2. Adding new content to the ‘Respectful Relationships’, ‘Respectful Sexual Relationships’ and ‘Start With Respect’ toolboxes that strengthens men’s listening and believing behaviour by giving clearer directions, including avoiding inappropriate responses.
    3. Including content in the new ‘Breaking Out of the Man Box’ toolbox that specifically supports men listening and believing women, as part of having respectful non-sexual relationships with women and girls.
  6. White Ribbon promotes men critically reflecting on their past behaviour towards women, apologising when possible, and actively committing to respectful behaviour in future by:
    1. Promoting ‘self-reflection and changing’ as an action for men in campaign media and communication.
    2. Adding new content to all toolboxes that promotes men reflecting on their behaviour and changing to using respectful behaviour in future. This will include being accountable by taking public responsibility for past behaviour and for making changes and seeking and responding to other’s feedback.
  7. White Ribbon strengthens its current approach of supporting men to disrupt other men’s behaviour by:
    1. Testing the effectiveness of the ‘Men Influencing Other Men’ toolbox with a group of men and revising it to ensure it is as effective as possible.
    2. Promoting this toolbox and its use to men in campaign media and communication.
  8. White Ribbon does not include a reference to #MeToo in its headline key messages, rather referencing it in second level information and media as the new environment that White Ribbon, and men, need to respond to.
  9. To develop a broader understanding and abhorrence of ‘rape culture’ by referencing and defining this term when publicly discussing the social or cultural dynamics associated with men’s sexual violence and to promote actions men can take to prevent sexual violence.
  10. To develop a broader understanding and abhorrence of ‘toxic masculinity’ by referencing and defining this term when: identifying that masculinity is a social construct and is changeable; highlighting gender inequalities or the ‘harmful effects of male behaviour on women and girls; focusing on men’s behaviour, identities and relationships; acknowledging the full diversity of masculinity identities; promoting respectful masculinity behaviour (by presenting ‘respect’ as a human quality); and not discounting male privilege.
  11. In campaign media and communication to specifically name the problem as men’s violence against women, and to continually develop wider awareness that men are responsible for violence and for preventing it.


A former gang man, turned policeman, turned social entrepreneur and White Ribbon Ambassador wants to help Kiwis in need find help. Rei Maresala has created an app to do just that – connecting people with local health and social services.

MyRivr was born out of a vision to  make access to Social Services easier for everyday New Zealanders. The app combines self-help referral functions with cutting edge technology so ordinary users can find the help they need.
Referrals are connected to the nearest Social Service Providers who meet the user’s criteria by automatically matching the ‘best fit’ and then by tracking the status of the referral. MyRivr keeps the user informed of their case file so they gain control over what is often a daunting, out of control experience.

Most recently Rei has been invited to speak in Australia and Chicago, San Diego and MYRIVR has just partnered with Samoa Airways.

For more information from the Myrivr website click here.




Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act is fully supported by White Ribbon’s Business Accreditation Scheme.  


Media Release
26 July 2018

The new Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act is fully supported by White Ribbon’s Business Accreditation Scheme.

White Ribbon congratulates the Government on passing legislation that will make a real difference for victims of family violence.

New Zealand has the highest rates of reported domestic violence in the world, and with low unemployment rates, it’s obvious that many victims will be experiencing violence while they’re working.

White Ribbon’s Workplace Accreditation Scheme has long recognised the importance of businesses supporting these staff.

“Being able to take time off is vital for people to manage their situation, such as finding a new place to live”, says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “This legislation will help victims to remain in their job, which will help their income and social support”.

“Women experiencing violence are often subjected to attempts to control or coerce them into remaining in a violent household. Being able to leave requires money, so keeping their job and income is crucial to these women”.

“They also need medical or counselling assistance, or to shift children from daycare or schools where they can be in danger. This takes time during the day”.

“Two of our largest employers, the Warehouse and Countdown, already provide domestic violence leave to their affected staff. These organisations have leadership teams that understand the cost of family violence, and the benefits to their organisations from supporting their staff.” Both the Warehouse and Countdown are accredited by White Ribbon.

“Like many other countries in the western world we are now recognising that we need to do more for victims of family violence. We congratulate the government on this first step. The challenge now is to undertake further preventative measures to stop men’s violence towards women,” says Mr McCann.

For information on how your business can become White Ribbon Accredited contact@whiteribbon.org.nz

A Streetcar Named Desire

White Ribbon is proud to be collaborating with Khandallah Arts Theatre on their upcoming production of Tennessee Williams’ classic, A Streetcar Named Desire. Written in 1949 and made into a famous Hollywood movie starring Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando, it’s a well-known tragedy of delusion, culture clash, mental fragility – and domestic abuse.

No stranger to directing ‘difficult’ plays, Tanya Piejus has taken on The Diary of Anne Frank; Rabbit Hole, a story of parents dealing with the loss of their 4-year-old child; Proof, which explores the thin line between genius and insanity; and Stones in His Pockets, a dark Irish comedy centring on a young man’s suicide that has just two actors playing 23 roles.

She says, “When I first proposed the production to Khandallah Arts Theatre, it was with the intention of staging an iconic piece of American theatre that contains enduring themes, strong female characters and challenging roles for actors.

“However, the social landscape has since evolved and, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, it’s not enough to simply stage a play that contains physical and emotional violence of men against women with no apparent consequences and then to expect audiences to accept it just because the script was written 70 years ago.”Street Car Named Desire

A chance meeting between Tanya and White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann at a conference provided an opportunity to bring this modern context to the play. By partnering with the well-recognised public awareness campaign, an important message can be incorporated into the production that is missing from the script.

Tanya says, “It’s still early days and I don’t know yet how to weave the White Ribbon anti-violence messages into A Streetcar Named Desire. I’m seeking help from the local theatre community on how to do it in a way that isn’t trite or preachy for the audience. I want to be true to the spirit of Tennessee Williams’ writing, but also state clearly that we don’t condone the outcomes of the male characters’ actions.

“While the play presents a great acting challenge, its themes also present certain difficulties that I’ll be working hard to with my actors to address during the rehearsal process. I’ve already had one male actor decline to audition because he doesn’t want to play a character who attempts to sexually assault a woman.

“I think partnering with White Ribbon will go a long way towards allowing us to present a great period play in today’s world.”

A Streetcar Named Desire will be performed from 11 to 20 October at Cochran Hall, Cashmere Avenue, Khandallah. Auditions were held on Sunday 8 July. For more information of if you have ideas that you wish to contribute email Tanya at streetcarkat2018@gmail.com

Click here to book tickets


White Ribbon NZ’s Youth Ambassador Scheme


White Ribbon’s approach

White Ribbon NZ promotes respectful relationships to prevent men’s violence against women.

An effective feature of White Ribbon’s strategy is to have Ambassadors, who are respected and influential role models, promoting White Ribbon messages to their network and community.

Ambassadors play a vital role in building support, visibility and promoting White Ribbon’s messages to new groups. They can keep the White Ribbon messages alive beyond the November campaign.

Increasingly White Ribbon is targeting young men to promote respectful behaviour in their relationships with women.

White Ribbon Youth Ambassadors

Over recent years the Counties Manukau’s White Ribbon coordinating committee has had a range of campaign activities involving local young people. This has encouraged the Salvation Army to develop a local Youth Ambassador Scheme (YAS).

This initiative has real merit that other regions can develop with their local young people.

There’s a range of benefits of a YAS:

  • It develops new messengers who are credible with local young people.
  • It spreads White Ribbon’s messages to many more young people, often with a local flavour they’ll respond to.
  • It involves new people in White Ribbon’s campaign, such as college staff and, of course, local young people.


What makes a Youth Ambassador scheme effective

If your local violence prevention network is interested in establishing a local YAS you’ll benefit from considering these questions:

What do you know about local youth’s concerns about family and sexual violence? For example, were local young people involved in pushing for better sex education earlier in 2017.This is to determine young people’s support for the YAS and their receptiveness to White Ribbon respectful relationships messages.

  • What working relationships are in place now with supportive organisations, such as schools or local youth workers? This is to determine how you can efficiently connect with local youth and manage ambassador nominations.
  • How can you support youth ambassadors so they’re effective? This will help clarify how a local YAS might work and the commitment it will take from your network.
  • What benefits might a YAS give to local violence prevention work? This will help prioritise action and get you to think how a YAS can be integrated in to your local campaign.

You’ll find implementing a YAS will be easier when:

  • your network has working relationships with local colleges and youth services, who support preventing men’s violence locally.
  • local youth people are concerned about family and sexual violence and want to be involved in preventing it.
  • your network sees a YAS as worthwhile and your members are prepared and able to support youth ambassadors.
  • your YAS is integrated with other violence prevention initiatives in your community, including within colleges.

You might find it easier to build up to a YAS by starting with some youth event or activity as part of your annual White Ribbon campaign, and then finding ways to increasingly involve youth services and colleges until there’s sufficient practical support for youth ambassadors. This was how Counties Manukau developed their YAS.

White Ribbon NZ’s involvement

The national White Ribbon organisation can support your local network if you want to develop a YAS:

  • This document will help you implement a local YAS.
  • White Ribbon will continue to produce resources for young men, such as the Start With Respect
  • White Ribbon can put you in touch with other networks who’ve established a YAS.
  • The list of White Ribbon events on White Ribbon’s website (https://whiteribbon.org.nz/events/) will give ideas on the type of youth events you could run.
  • White Ribbon will provide youth ambassadors with access to the online training for all ambassadors.
  • NOTE – Like all ambassadors, any youth ambassadors will need to be vetted by their schools with a letter recommending nomination from the school. This process is not intended to be as intensive as an adult ambassador check which can be found at (https://whiteribbon.org.nz/act/ambassadors/).
  • Youth Ambassadorships conclude when the students leaves school.

Possible Process:

  • Draft up your YAS plan (using information from this document and other agencies)
  • Collate a list of all local schools and email the principal outlining the YAS
  • Ring each school to acquire the email address of counsellors and social workers
  • Organise school visits to drop off hard copies of programme to reception
    • Schools are very busy, so relationships with schools are very important. Multiple contacts are necessary and clear communications vital. Personal relationships go a long way.
  • Organise a training day
    • Organise a range of workshops with Ambassadors, social workers, police, lawyers, White Ribbon Riders.
    • Use the White Ribbon Toolboxes to lead discussions.
    • The purpose of the training day is to educate students while at the same time giving them a space where they can ask questions and take the learnings back into their school, sports and extra-curricular activities and circle of friends.
    • The day will also allow the youth ambassadors to get to know each other.
    • Ensure the students receive a pack of information, resources and appropriate White Ribbon badges.
  • The Youth Ambassadors will promote throughout their schools, the WR message (speaking at assemblies, lunch time discussion groups).
  • The Youth Ambassador with the support of the coordinators will plan and execute an event of their choosing at the school (mufti day, presentation, competitions).
  • The Youth Ambassadors will also commit where possible to help with other local WR events.
  • Each Youth Ambassador will get a pack with all relevant information, t-shirt, white ribbons and other promotional material.
  • Each Youth Ambassador will receive a badge with Ambassador on it.
  • Create a closed Facebook group for support and to share information.


Potential Training Day Activities:

  • 09:00   Students will arrive, register and receive packs
  • 09:15   Coordinators will welcome and give a brief overview of White Ribbon and the Ambassadors’ Programme
  • 09:30   Youth workers will run some ABL to get the group familiar with each other
  • 09:45   First workshop with questions to follow (White Ribbon Ambassador)
  • 10:45   Morning tea
  • 11:05   Second workshop with questions (Police/Lawyer)
  • 12:00   Recap (morning workshops)
  • 12:15   Lunch
  • 12:55   White Ribbon Riders’ presentation
  • 13:20   Third workshop with questions (Social Worker)
  • 13:55   Fourth session (Youth Ambassadors to brainstorm some potential projects)
  • 14:25   Final wrap up
  • 14:30   Students head back to school

Local Youth Activities:


High School Breakfast:  The South Auckland Breakfast has been running for six years. All schools in South Auckland are invited to send 4 four students to a breakfast where the WR messages are highlighted along with leadership role students can play to end the violence. It is held the Friday before the 25 November.

At each breakfast a survey of participants helps us to shape the following year’s activities. For example, the students said they wanted more workshop style sessions during the breakfast instead of keynote speakers. Table workshops were implemented where the students would rotate every 15 minutes. The tables were made up of Police, WR Ambassadors, WR Bike Riders, Lawyers and Social Workers. We got good feedback from this and will run this same set up again next year. The survey also demonstrates that the organisers are listening to the views of the students.

WR Poster comp

Spoken Word: The Spoken Word competition was created to give young people a voice where their thoughts on family harm and violence against women could be heard. This event has produced some amazing spoken word pieces with some going viral through Facebook. The Spoken Word is open to all high school aged young people, and has a maximum of three entries per school. This event has been widened to include song writing. Previous winners have been asked to perform at conferences and events which continue to spread the positive messages about violence prevention.

Yeah na

Yeah Nah Song Competition: The Eastern Bay of Plenty Family Safety Events Committee has held this competition for seven years now and it continues to engage youth, remaining fresh and vibrant. A project plan has been developed which includes terms and conditions, registration forms, media, Facebook and Youtube permissions. Like the spoken word competition, this event enables youth to hear their concerns about family violence reflected in a performance medium that is relevant to young people. For more how-to information contact White Ribbon.

Yeah Na poster


Breaking silence and records: Conquering New Zealand for domestic violence survivors

50 ultra marathons in 50 days – that’s what one woman is about to embark on to open the dialogue and change the story around domestic violence.

On January 18th, Finnish researcher Emilia Lahti will begin a 2,400-kilometer ultra-run from Bluff all the way to Cape Reinga, to highlight the strength of individuals who’ve experienced emotional, physical or sexual hurt. Her run, if completed, will break a world record for the most consecutive ultra-runs run by a woman.

Along her route, Lahti will be stopping off in 15 Kiwi towns to open the conversation and encourage story sharing about this all too common reality.

Domestic violence is one of the most pervasive yet under-recognised human rights issues in the world, affecting hundreds of millions of individuals across the globe each year from every social class, income group, race and culture.

It is common knowledge that New Zealand has the worst rate of domestic violence in the world – a shocking statistic that was one part of the reason Lahti chose New Zealand to undergo this epic challenge.Sisu Not Silence

As an overcomer of domestic violence herself, Lahti found it hard to understand why people held other survival stories in such high esteem, but not those that have survived violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

“It frustrated me that the narrative was why did you stay? Rather than why did someone do this to you?” she explains.

“I wondered why there was no space for a mature, open conversation around interpersonal violence and why overcomers felt such shame – it just shouldn’t be the case.”

In the aftermath of her own trauma, Lahti quit her job and embarked on a PhD in applied psychology at the Aalto University in Helsinki, centering on the concept of ‘Sisu’. Sisu is an ancient Finish construct denoting courage and determination in the face of adversity.

It was then that she founded the global project and not-for-profit Sisu Not Silence which aims to generate a global-scale cultural shift that removes the stigma and shame imposed on individuals who have experienced interpersonal violence and hurt.

“Much like running a thousand miles, healing from past trauma and impacting social change are also trials of endurance that begin by taking one step at a time,” says Lahti.

“Choosing sisu over silence is about creating a world where communities hold compassion and justice in high value and take collective responsibility to build futures that allow people everywhere live free from fear – including the place that should be the heart of all safety: our homes. The issue of violence is global, but when we join our hands and hearts, we can make a change,” says Lahti.

Sisu Not Silence is looking to serve and work with communities. Nonprofits and organisations working in nonviolence and social impact are encouraged to connect with Lahti and her team to inquire about an event.

The schedule:
Queenstown – 21st Jan
Wanaka – 23rd Jan
Hokitika – 31st Jan
Westport – 3rd Feb
Nelson – 7th Feb
Palmerston North/Massey Uni – 11th Feb
Whanganui – 13th Feb
Taupo – 17th Feb
Hamilton – 21st Feb
Kaitaia – 26th Feb
Whangarei – 2nd March
Auckland – 10th March

For more information and media enquiries:
Amanda Vaisigano
027 375 5542
Social media hashtags: #sisunotsilence #overcomers
Website: sisunotsilence.com
Fundraiser: bit.ly/sisunotsilence
Instagram: instagram.com/sisu_lab
Facebook Global: facebook.com/sisunotsilence
Twitter: twitter.com/EmiliaLahti
Blogs: sisulab.com and medium.com/@EmiliaLahti

Video 1 – Sisu not Silence Ultra Run:
Video 2 – Upworthy:
Video 3Mini documentary: