With the goal of eliminating men’s violence towards women, White Ribbon “aims to change men’s attitudes and behaviours, predominantly through men talking to men”. It asks individual men to “make it clear to other men that you do not tolerate violence towards women”. White Ribbon is a deliberate attempt to undermine the social norms of men who support violence, and strengthen male norms that are non-violent.
This year White Ribbon will continue to focusing on healthy/respectful relationships, the issue of consent and giving fathers (and all parents) the skills and knowledge to talk about respectful relationships and respectful sexual relationships with their children.
Development of the current campaign
In 2015 White Ribbon public workshops to bring together experts, agencies, interested organisations, government departments and the public to help shape the campaign. During the workshops, the emphasis shifted from the proposed ‘sexual violence and the issue of consent’ to ‘Respectful/Healthy Relationships’ – a foundation block when attempting to end men’s violence against women.
This work has enabled White Ribbon to identify three key themes for the 2015 campaign, which have been further developed for 2016.
At each of the public workshops a presentation on Connecting with men – Ideas for White Ribbon 2015 was made. You can download this presentation as a PDF. This presentation was made by Garth Baker, a violence prevention consultant, and is based on the issues paper he wrote for the NZ Family Clearinghouse on Effectively involving men in preventing violence.
Key themes for this year’s White Ribbon campaign
The early development work has enabled White Ribbon to settle on three themes for its campaign this year.
In 2016 White Ribbon is promoting:
- Respectful relationships between men and women. This is the over-arching theme. Respectful relationships are based on:
- Equality between women and men
- The effective use of non-violent communication
- Flexible gender behaviour for men and women
- This includes respectful sexual relationships
- ‘Consent’ as a necessary requirement of all sexual relationships.
- Men challenging the attitudes and behaviour of other men that underpin all violence.
- Developing your child’s respectful behaviour (giving kiwi dads the skills and confidence to talk about respectful relationships and respectful sexual relationships with their sons).
These themes have been chosen because:
- “Respectful relationships” is a short-hand description of what we want instead of all types of violence against women. It is also a broad term, enabling different communities with differing levels of awareness and cultural values, to adapt White Ribbon messages to their situation. By promoting respectful behaviour as desirable for men, White Ribbon is encouraging all men to use non-violent behaviour. We need to remember that most men have respectful relationships with women so White Ribbon is strengthening common behaviour and attitudes. By defining respectful relationships as based on gender equity and flexibility of roles, White Ribbon is specifically addressing key risks factors for male violence. By promoting the use of non-violent communication skills, White Ribbon is identifying and promoting the use of specific skills that protect against violence.
- “Consent” is a term used widely in the prevention of sexual violence. More than any strict legal definition, consent is the mutual, explicit and ongoing agreement (consent) of all participants in any sexual activity. Individuals need to be able to give their consent freely, so they do not feel threatened, and are not impaired by alcohol or drugs. Sexual violence can usefully be described as any behaviour where ‘consent is absent’, so ensuring all participants consent is the basis of respectful sexual relationships. By promoting consent, White Ribbon is targeting the risks of sexual violence as well as identifying a useful violence prevention strategy for individuals to apply to their relationships. Obviously mutual agreement, or ‘consent’ is a necessary feature of any respectful relationship.
- Generally held attitudes and the behaviour of some men support violence occurring in our community. White Ribbon promotes “men being part of the solution” by checking that their actions, and those of their mates, are OK. It asks men to “make a call on inappropriate behaviour”. Having men challenging the attitudes and behaviour of other men, an established White Ribbon strategy, can be effectively used to undermine male support for all violence against women. This is called a ‘bystander intervention’ which is an important violence prevention strategy that is increasingly being used internationally.
- Respectful sexual behaviour by teenagers and adults is a direct result of how they have learnt about respect and relationships throughout their lives. It is a cumulative result of the behaviour their parents have modelled, the values and skills that they have learned, and the experiences they have had. This requires active parenting that matches the child’s developmental stage. Talking to children about respectful sexual behaviour will only be effective at the point where the child is becoming sexually mature, and where there has been ongoing discussion about treating others, and themselves, with respect. This provides a broader context, making it an easier topic for the parent to raise, and for the child to understand. White Ribbon will launch a serries of parenting resources which identifies what strategies are most relevant for different developmental stages and which are cumulative across the child’s growth.
- Kids want to learn how about sexual relationships and if dads don’t talk to their sons they’ll learn from peers, media and pornography. White Ribbon wants to give kiwi dads the confidence and skills to talk about respectful relationships and respectful sexual relationships with their sons, so we’ve created a toolbox for dads and five short videos that focus on the top five tips.
CAMPAIGN SCHEDULE 2016
Friday 11th November
Launch of campaign with Hollie Smith releasing a White Ribbon song and video, and launch of the new White Ribbon Pledge online.
Sunday 13th – Two-week national poster campaign begins.
This is the yes/no campaign mark II, placed throughout New Zealand. Posters and other collateral available to communities.
Week of Monday 14th – Research Media
Release of research on men’s attitudes towards respectful relationships and educating their children around respectful relationships and respectful sexual relationships.
Thursday 17th White Ribbon Rides Begin
White Ribbon Rides begin across the country visiting over 80 communities.
Week of Monday 21st Warehouse Flyer and Media
Workplace Programme announcement.
Week of action with the Warehouse providing free ribbons to all customers during this week.
Friday 25th White Ribbon Day
Organised action across the whole country.
The New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse has collating some resources on healthy relationships which have been published on their website – https://nzfvc.org.nz/news/resources-promoting-healthy-relationships-young-people.