White Ribbon ends Andrew Falloon’s role as one of 200 White Ribbon Ambassadors

White Ribbon moved to terminate Andrew Falloon’s voluntary role when news broke of his unacceptable behaviour last night.

The behaviour, if described accurately in the news media, is not compatible with that required of a White Ribbon Ambassador.

While it is not violent behaviour, if established, it is misaligned with treating women with respect and undermines the work of White Ribbon.

The board concluded the behaviour is totally unacceptable and an urgent decision, based on the limited evidence available, was made last night to terminate Mr Falloon’s Ambassadorship.

Our more formal process has begun to comply with the policies of White Ribbon, however, we have asked Mr Falloon to resign to avoid the need for this process to occur.

It is incredibly disappointing that the actions of one Ambassador could taint the good work of the 200 other Ambassadors. Family Violence remains a crisis in New Zealand and as an organisation we remain committed to reducing that violence.

The victim-blaming defence (that didn’t work this time)

White Ribbon Media Release
21 February 2020

 

The victim-blaming defence (that didn’t work this time)

The sentencing of Grace Millane’s killer to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of  17 years marks the end of a judicial process that can only have been extremely harrowing for her family. They had already experienced the loss of their daughter, literally every parent’s worst nightmare.

White Ribbon Campaign Manager Rob McCann states: “We need to act to prevent other women suffering the same fate. We need to focus on educating our young people about healthy sexual relationships and the meaning of consent. If we do not, they will learn from other sources – their mates or the increasingly violent pornography that is now readily available to anyone with an internet connection irrespective of age.”

A useful resource for understanding and teaching consent is the cup of tea video. https://whiteribbon.org.nz/2015/07/12/consent-explained-with-a-cup-of-tea/

Access to pornography has never been easier and the content regularly features the domination of women. Last year BBC Radio 5 live, commissioned a survey in which it asked 2,002 UK women aged between 18 and 39 if they had experienced various acts during sex.

The majority (59%) had experienced slapping, 38% had experienced choking, 34% had experienced gagging, 20% had experienced spitting and 59% had experienced biting. Almost half of the women (44%) surveyed, said these acts were always wanted.

However, 29% said they were unwanted some of the time, 14% said they were unwanted most of the time, and 10% said they were unwanted every time.[1] A substantial number of respondents felt pressured into these behaviours which suggests their partners lacked a clear understanding of consent. McCann notes: “While this survey was conducted in the UK, there is no reason to believe results would be significantly different in the New Zealand context. In fact, with our intimate partner violence statistics they may be worse.”

The Centre for Women’s Justice in the UK said the figures showed a “growing pressure on young women to consent to violent, dangerous and demeaning acts”, which was “likely to be due to the normalisation of extreme pornography”.[2]

“In December 2018, strangulation became a stand-alone offence,” says Mr McCann “and immediately the number of charges and convictions went through the roof. What we think this indicates is widespread use of strangulation being used not as part of what is known as ‘breath play’, a sexual act that is consented to, but as acts of violence towards women.” As reported by Alison Mau, Women’s Refuge Chief Executive, Dr Anj Jury, said strangulation was so common many victims neglected to even mention it.[3]

This is relevant because Millane’s killer sought to avoid facing the penalty for committing murder by arguing that her death was the result of an accident during consensual rough sex. This is an international issue and there is increasing pressure on Western governments worldwide to ban the so-called “rough sex” defence for murder, which many suggest has evolved from the “she asked for it” defence commonly used in rape trials.

As Canadian commentators have observed: “The “rough sex” defence is not gender neutral. The sex is “rough” for women, not men. “Rough sex” depicted in pornography and in practice is marked by gender asymmetry. It is overwhelmingly women who are on the receiving end of this violence and whose health and very lives are on the line.”[4]

Rob McCann says “In this type of defence, the defendant takes the focus off their own behaviour and encourages discussion of the victim’s prior sexual history and preferences. This is an irrelevant distraction in a murder trial. They use the defence to blame the victim and it is totally unacceptable. There is no way of knowing what the victim wanted or said in this instance, and you simply cannot consent to being murdered.”

“The idea that rough sex could result in accidental death is a fallacy. It takes considerable pressure to strangle someone and if a sexual partner loses consciousness for any reason during sex, the logical response would be stop and check they are ok. While engaging in sadomasochistic behaviours can be a valid choice for consenting adults, it comes with the responsibility to ensure the safety of your partner.”

For more information about how to support Healthy Masculinity go to www.whiteribbon.org.nz

 

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

 

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Grace Millane Sentencing

White Ribbon Media Release
21 February 2020

 

A minimum of 17 years for one life. How can we make this better?

 

Today the unnamed man found guilty of murdering Grace Millane was sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 17.

“One person has been locked away but are New Zealand women any safer?” asks White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann.

“We certainly feel better about ourselves, but in locking away one person we have not addressed the fact that one in three women experience violence from a partner or ex-partner in their lifetime. We have not addressed the unhealthy attitudes towards women that are nurtured by pornography, or the clichéd masculinity that is created when we tell our young men that ‘boys don’t cry’ or to ‘harden up’.”

“We have not addressed the victim blaming which the defence tried to utilise and that those same myths were repeated by sections of our communities.”

White Ribbon Ambassador Mark Longley agrees. “It is great that justice has been done today and the man who murdered Grace will spend a long time behind bars.

“What is a shame though is that in the 12 months after Grace’s murder we saw a higher than average number of women in New Zealand die at the hands of their partner.

The behaviour displayed by the man who killed Grace shocked me. Descriptions of how he smuggled her body out of the hotel, went on a date and he watched pornography hours after killing her were appalling.

I am sure the traits of an abusive personality would have been seen by friends and colleagues, but were likely never challenged.

The death of Grace and the women after her must not be in vain, violence against women, in any form, is wrong and it is up to us men to spread that message.

As men our voice can be incredibly powerful, whether that is just checking in on a mate and asking if he is ok, or uniting to speak out against violence towards women, says Mr Longley.

White Ribbon is adamant that we must learn from the Grace Millane murder.

“If we want to address the violence that killed Grace, we have to look at the causes,” says Mr McCann. We must examine and undermine the attitudes and behaviours that enable the kind of toxic masculinity that drove the killer, and at the same time support healthy masculinity and respectful relationships (which are a protection against violence).

“We see Healthy Masculinity as rejecting unhelpful stereotypes and #unspoken rules about what it is to be a boy or man and replacing those with qualities such as kindness, being empathetic and 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 rigid gender stereotypes.

“Healthy masculinity is treating everyone with respect and having Respectful Relationships (which always include consent).

“This is what we much teach our boys to ensure they do not buy into the kind of toxic behaviour that encourages men to use violence and disrespect women.

“And when men encounter men that are violent or hold sexist views, they must be encouraged to stand up and call out the bad behaviour.

“These actions will help reduce violence by undermining the attitudes that support violence and by promoting the healthy masculinity that supports Respectful Relationships.”

For more information about how to support Healthy Masculinity go to www.whiteribbon.org.nz

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

 

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Silence Breeds Violence

White Ribbon Media Release: 18 December 2019

SILENCE BREEDS VIOLENCE

The tragic death of actor Pua Magasiva following a suspected suicide highlights the need for family violence to be brought out into the open.

Pua, best known for his long running role in Shortland Street, pled guilty and had been convicted of assaulting his second wife Lizz Sadler following what we now know was multiple acts of violence.

“Lizz has bravely decided that silence is not the answer and is now speaking out,” says Rob McCann White Ribbon Manager. “The sad reality is that silence breeds violence. Being hidden allows the problem to exist below the radar. It enables perpetrators to continue using violence without accountability, and it helps to create a cycle of violence,” says Mr McCann.

“What we know is that if you grow up witnessing and experiencing family violence you are statistically more likely to go on to use violence. This occurs because we inadvertently teach our children that violence is a tool to get what we want. We also teach them that it’s ok so it should not surprise anyone that children go on to replicate the behaviour of their parents or caregivers.”

“By speaking out, Liz has said she wants her daughter who lived with them during the violence to know that it is not ok.”

I am also speaking for my daughter, Laylah, who lived with us full time and has been a witness to my husband’s ongoing violence – I need to have a voice for her to show her that this is not OK. As a victim in this continuous cycle of silence I do not wish for name suppression because this would silence me again, but now by those who wish to protect him and the system allowing them to do this.

“We must also ensure that it’s ok to ask for help,” says Mr McCann. “As a society I hope we would have forgiven Pua had he asked for help and changed his behaviour.”

“White Ribbon works with many former perpetrators and this is important on a number of levels. Firstly, they are often better at communicating with other men that use violence, and secondly they demonstrate that there is a healthier and more fulfilling path. Having Respectful Relationships founded on equality, respectful communication, flexible gender behaviour and consent creates better and long-lasting relationships that are not built on fear.”

“If you witness violence, or think something is wrong, ask if that person needs help. It’s easy to show you care about a victim, the real challenge for us is to help perpetrators change. We don’t know if anyone tried to help Pua, but as a friend or family member you can help break the cycle of violence by not keeping silent. You can show them you love them, but at the same time let them know their behaviour is not ok and that there is help available.

If you don’t know how to take action, White Ribbon has free resources available such as this video on how to disrupt other men’s violence https://vimeo.com/299374614 .

Notes:

Bystander Intervention
It is likely that many of Pua’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

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

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

 

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

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

Firearms Prohibition Orders and why they might make a difference

Media release
Monday 11 November
Firearms Prohibition Orders and why they might make a difference
White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann says Firearms Prohibition Orders could make a real difference if guns are kept out of the hands of people with a history of family harm.
“What we know is that threats and intimidation are a very real aspect of family violence,” says Mr McCann. For someone who has experienced violence, knowing that their abusive partner was not able to own a gun could provide some peace of mind.”
“What we know is that violence is not just physical, it also includes Financial Violence, Sexual Violence and Emotional and Psychological Violence. So being able to threaten someone by virtue of owning a gun, is just another way that perpetrators can intimidate and threaten, without having to use physical violence.”
“It’s very real, and scary.”
“The Firearms Prohibition Orders might also provide the peace of mind to help a victim leave a violent relationship. We know it can take up to eight attempts to leave, and this can be for a number of reasons such as financial dependence, social stigma or concern for children to name a few of the reasons. But we also know that leaving a violent relationship is the most dangerous time for women. It’s often when violence escalates because the perpetrator is no longer able to control the victim.  When fear, intimidation and physical violence to ensure compliance no longer work, some perpetrators escalate the violence or the threat of violence. Weapons can play a role in that.
“Knowing that a partner was not able to possess or own a weapon, might give someone the courage to get out, and it might even save a life.”
White Ribbon is about to launch its November Campaign, Challenge the #UnspokenRules which are the expectations that 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. For more information https://whiteribbon.org.nz/home/campaigns/

Additional reporting:

Stuff

Let the memory of Grace Millane change our attitudes towards violence

White Ribbon Media Release: 06 November 2019

LET THE MEMORY OF GRACE MILLANE CHANGE OUR ATTITUDES TOWARDS VIOLENCE

The Grace Millane Trial will hopefully achieve two things. Ensure that justice occurs, and provide an opportunity for something good to come from a horrific act.

While we don’t know all the facts, it is commonly known that people who commit violence towards women are often already hiding in plain sight. It is the escalation of their behaviour and violence which forces society to act, but all too often it is too late.

“Often a perpetrator’s attitudes and behaviour will be known to their mates,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “Unfortunately we excuse unacceptable behaviour or look the other way because we have this idea that’s how men are supposed to behave.”

“We are socialised to believe we should score girls, mimic pornography and treat women as conquests rather than human beings. This behaviour is seen by some as manly, but ultimately, it’s unhealthy and bad for both men and women.”

“If there’s one lesson we can learn from the memory of Grace Millane, it’s that doing nothing is not acceptable, says Mr McCann.

If you hear someone say something disrespectful or displaying 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.

“Having a courageous talk with your mates can not only save a life,” says Mr McCann, “it can prevent a whole range of behaviour from rape to casual sexism, undermining the attitudes that underpin violence towards women.”

END

White Ribbon Media
Nancy Blackler 0272 425 318 nancy@blackoutmusic.co.nz
Rob McCann 021 212 2953 rob@whiteribbon.org.nz
Spokespeople: Rob McCann, Mark Longley, Richie Hardcore, Anna Campbell, Karlene Jonkers