Add your voice online to support White Ribbon Day

Media Release
25 November 2020

On November 25th, White Ribbon Day, the International day for the elimination of men’s violence towards women, we are asking our tāne and wāhine to challenge #outdated ideas about masculinity online.

Gender-based violence is endemic in New Zealand, with one in three women experiencing family violence in their lifetimes and the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world.

“With COVID anxiety and severe pressure on violence prevention organisations, the vast majority of this year’s White Ribbon campaign activities are being held online, in small groups and at work,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann.

“We want people to Challenge the #Outdated and unhealthy ideas about masculinity. One way of doing that in a public manner, is to create a short video and post it on your own Facebook feed. In the video, tell people why you are challenging the #Outdated ideas associated with old school masculinity, and or tell us how you role-model the principles of healthy masculinity.”

White Ribbon has created a suite of online resources that you can share to help you. These can be found at www.whiteribbon.org.nz

“The reason we are focusing on masculinity,” says Mr McCann, “is that the underlying causes of men’s violence towards women are now well recognised by research as being linked to unhealthy masculinity.”

A report Men in Focus undertaken by the Australian national violence prevention organization, Our Watch, found that that men who conform to these outdated stereotypes – that men should be strong, forceful, and dominant in relationships, be tough and in control – are more likely to hit, abuse, coerce, and sexually harass women than men who see women as their equals.

The research also found that men who believe in sexual entitlement to women’s bodies or believe in rape myths are more likely than other men to rape women.

“If we are to end men’s violence, we need to focus on the attitudes that support violence,” says Mr McCann. “We can continue to build prisons and pick up after broken families, or we can change the attitudes that support violence to thrive.”

“So this year, we are asking men and women to have these courageous conversations. Film yourself, get your videos online and tag them with #Outdated or #WhiteRibbonNZ so we can all join in and have a conversation about what healthy masculinity should look like.”

 

Notes:

The Men in Focus evidence review:

The Men in Focus report represents a substantial synthesis of the available academic and grey literature focusing on men’s violence against women. It is a peer reviewed report and represents a broad distillation of relevant literature. The focus of this report in on engaging men and boys, who can themselves “contribute to improving the effectiveness

of prevention strategies”.

 

Rick Hepi Video:
Video can be downloaded and embedded. https://vimeo.com/482122701
Rick is a White Ribbon Ambassador and White Ribbon Rider.

Rick comments that despite having a violent dad he wanted to become a good father, and not just a good grandfather like his dad. While we are all products of our environments, it is possible to break the cycle. When those influences are not healthy, we need to push back and Challenge those #Outdated ideas and replace them with behaviour we want our sons and daughters to emulate. When we see or hear mates and colleagues repeating #outdated ideas, we need to try and nudge them in the right direction.

 

30 days 30 messages:

Videos can be downloaded from vimeo.com/user/89901591/folder/3017965 and embedded, or share the Taranaki Safe Families Trust Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/taranakisafefamilies

White Ribbon Ambassador Dane Haskell, Coordinator of Taranaki Safe Families Trust created 30 Days/ 30 Men/ 30 Messages,  which for the month of November features 30 short videos of local men sharing their thoughts on the White Ribbon campaign and why it’s important for us to have these conversations. One video gets posted each day.

 

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.

 

Ruia te taitea, ka tu taikaka anake: shake off the old, to reveal the new

Media Release
19 November 2020

 

Ruia te taitea, ka tu taikaka anake: shake off the old, to reveal the new

This year we are asking people to challenge the #outdated and spend some time thinking and talking about the advice they have been given that is harmful rather than helpful. The whakatauki above sits at the heart of this year’s White Ribbon campaign. As individuals and as a society we need to shake off the old, to reveal the new.

The outdated ideas that this campaign literally overwrites are still circulating and we need to ensure our rangatahi grow up with advice that focuses on equality, healthy masculinity and respectful relationships. When kids hear old clichés like “treat em mean, keep em keen” they’re receiving a false idea that relationships should be based on mind games and manipulation. Real, respectful relationships require us to treat our partners as our equals by listening and making decisions together.

Chair of the White Ribbon Campaign Trust, Takurua Tawera believes, “so many of our young men are suffering from the impact of trauma and bad role modelling. We need to stand up and speak out on these issues and show in our words and our deeds that there are other options. Better choices lead to better lives for men and women.”

New Zealand has the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world. One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives. On average, 14 women a year are killed by their partners or ex-partners.

“We have to act now to change the future and rewrite our story”, says Mr Tawera. “We all want to turn these statistics around, but if we want to see a change in these unhealthy behaviours we have to change our attitudes.  We know that research shows that stereotypical ideas about what it means to be are man are linked not only to domestic violence but also mental health issues

“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 or man. It is really heartening to hear men speaking out on this issue and sharing their stories of change. They are inspiring role models for young men, so they know they don’t need to perpetuate these outdated ideas and can instead engage with women as equal partners.”

The origins of our whakatauki are in the natural world. In a totara tree the taitea is the outer, white or sapwood, which soon decays, and near the centre is the taikaka or hardest wood.

“By removing these outdated ideas,” says Mr Tawera, “we will be left with a core of strength. Share the wisdom of our whakatauki and shake off the old, to reveal the new!”

Notes:

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.

 

White Ribbon Media

Nancy Blackler 0272425318 nancy@blackoutmusic.co.nz
Rob McCann 0212122953 rob@whiteribbon.org.nz

White Ribbon Graphics can be downloaded from here

 

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

 

 

 

 

Frightening Australian statistics should reinforce the need to promote healthy masculinity in New Zealand

Media Release
15 November

 

42% of young men in Australia do not consider punching and hitting constitute domestic violence, while 43% do not consider frightening, humiliating, degrading or punishing a person as domestic violence.

“This is shocking”, says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “While we don’t have a similar study in New Zealand, Police data for the year to August show 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 and we have the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world.”

“Violence in our communities remains appallingly high and if we are to tackle this violence we need to focus on the attitudes that enable young men to think violence is ok and that trap them in the man box,” said Mr McCann.

Women’s Refuge CE Dr Ang Jury agrees. “We are seeing consistently high numbers of women and families taking refuge from violent men. As a country we need to take this opportunity and look at the causes of the violence. If we want to have a courageous discussion, then let’s talk about what constitutes masculinity and ensure our young men are being supported to grow up with healthy attitudes about masculinity that support respectful relationships.”

“The reality is that until we overwrite the ideas that allow men to think they can humiliate, degrade or use physical violence against anyone, we will continue to see outrageous numbers of women forced to use refuges throughout New Zealand”, said Dr Jury.

The #Outdated Campaign asks men to speak up about the #Outdated ideas they hear and the image they feel pressured to replicate.

“This November we want to highlight behaviour that exemplifies healthy masculinity,” says Mr McCann, “and in doing so we will challenge the #Outdated. The campaign demonstrates how we can overwrite unhealthy ideas and replace them with inclusive and healthy attitudes.

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.”

“To take part in the campaign simply have a conversation with your children, your friends, colleagues or your partner about #Outdated ideas, share the free online content or visit whiteribbon.org.nz to find out more and help change how we see masculinity in Aotearoa,” said Mr McCann.

 

Notes:

 

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.

 

Australian Research

Conducted by Essential Research in Australia. Download age and gender results here

White Ribbon creates positive change through youth poetry competition

Poetry is back. White Ribbon’s annual spoken word competition is returning this year with a new twist – it will be entirely online. High school students between the ages of 15 and 18 will now be able to enter regardless of where they live. “We’re very excited” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann “Taking the competition online means students can be heard from literally anywhere in New Zealand.”

The theme this year is Respectful Relationships, which research shows is a protection against violence. White Ribbon is focused on encouraging men and boys to be motivated and skilled to use respectful behaviours; ensure enthusiastic consent in their sexual relationships; to reject and Challenge the #Outdated rules around masculinity and role model concepts that support healthy masculinity.

“Poetry has been used as a healing tool for many centuries and is making a comeback.” says McCann. “Finding the words to articulate a traumatic experience can bring relief. We created this opportunity to give young people a voice so their thoughts on family harm and violence against women could be heard. We are incredibly proud of last year’s entries which had very inspiring takes and ideas on ending (men’s) violence in New Zealand.”

Hannah DoreyHannah Dorey from St Mary’s College, was delighted to be named last year’s winner and take home the $500 cash prize. The sixteen-year-old’s piece ‘Respectfully’ focused on highlighting an unhealthy relationship and dedicating the poem to ‘respectfully declining’ that relationship. She wowed the celebrity judges and brought tears to the eyes of nearly everyone in attendance.

This year, selected finalists will be given the opportunity to take part in White Ribbon’s nationwide November campaign, and help make the change they envision.

This Spoken Word competition is open to all senior secondary school students in New Zealand and will be held on the evening of Thursday 17th September using a zoom link available here.

Entries close on Sunday 13th September, 7.00pm.

For more information or to submit your entry, follow this link or, email contact@whiteribbon.org.nz

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

 

Read more of this post

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

 

Read more of this post

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