2017 Campaign

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2017 Respectful Relationships campaign

White Ribbon promotes respectful relationships between men and women. Respect is the behaviour we want instead of violence.


Respectful relationships are based on:

  • Gender equality – men and women are equals. Men who believe they have a greater entitlement to power than women have a real risk of using violence to enforce their position.
  • Flexible gender behaviour. Men who hold strictly to a rigid prescription of men’s behaviour (the ‘Man Box’) and women’s behaviour, and believe that this must always be upheld, are at real risk of using violence against women.
  • Using non-violent communication to resolve conflict. Men who use skills to listen and problem-solve, and who feel empathy, are less likely to use violence.
  • Everyone consenting to sexual relationships. Not just consent, but enthusiastic consent from all participants, for all activities, is fundamental to prevent sexual violence.

Respect is what you do, it’s a behaviour, that is detailed in all White Ribbon Toolboxes for men


White Ribbon promotes respectful relationships because:

  • respect is a value that’s common to different cultures and religions, and is a typical principle of personal ethics. This motivates more men.
  • respect can be applied across situations of men’s domestic and sexual violence against women, so embraces the breadth of White Ribbon’s campaign.

For more details on respectful relationships and White Ribbon’s messages, look at the presentation on last year’s campaign at https://whiteribbon.org.nz/sexual-violence-and-the-issue-of-consent/respectful-relationships


 Key themes of this year’s campaign:

  • Promoting fathers developing their sons’ respectful sexual behaviour, especially in sexual relationships. Fathers are much more likely to talk to their daughters about risks of sexual violence and consent, while sons also need this to strengthen their respectful behaviour.
  • Promoting respectful behaviour for all men. This involves promoting specific actions men can take, and appealing to their values and empathy, and that the behaviour gives them better relationships, happiness and health.
  • Promoting men to step out of the ‘Man Box’ and not be limited to traditional masculine behaviour. Moving away from the prescription that man must be in charge, only behave in certain ways, appear tough and get peer endorsement will reduce a man’s risk of using violence against women and give him better relationships, happiness and health.


Model respect, and what equality means. Talk about respect, and what consent means. Show respect, and what emotions mean.

Posters for the 2017 posters promoting fathers to develop their sons’ respectful behaviour.


The 2017 campaign’s call to action is:

  • Model, talk and show respect
  • Men to use the behaviours in the toolboxes available on the White Ribbon website whiteribbon.org.nz/toolbox


The key components of the 2017 campaign are:

  • The key campaign call to action is for men to use the behaviours in the toolboxes
    • Respectful Relationships toolbox – promoting a range of respectful behaviour for all men.
    • Start With Respect – for young men on starting respectful relationships with women. There’s a stronger focus on enthusiastic consent, and a new checklist for this.
    • Bringing Up Boys Who Respect – for all fathers on how to develop their son’s respectful sexual behaviour. (This is also the only toolbox for fathers this year.)
    • There’s two NEW toolboxes for the 2017 campaign.
    • Respectful sexual relationships – for adult men to be respectful in all aspects of their relationships. This emphasises enthusiastic consent.
    • Men influencing other men – to strengthen how any man can influence his peers to be more respectful and to prevent violence.

Raise Our Men

  • Promoting a film discussing New Zealand men’s experiences of being socialised into the ‘Man Box’ behaviours of: being in charge; holding to strict gender roles; appearing tough and only expressing anger; and relying on peer endorsement of masculinity. These are all key risks for using violence.
  • The film ‘Raise Our Men’ focus is on how men have broken out of this ‘Man Box’ to be more equitable, flexible, healthy, satisfied and respectful. The film will be available for public use, along with clips that will be used in social media messages.
  • The campaign launch and film premier will be held in Auckland on Wednesday 8 November at the Hollywood Cinema, The Hollywood Cinema, 20 St Georges Rd, Avondale, Auckland 0600. Doors open 6:30pm, event begins at 7:00pm. If you have people interested in attending the campaign launch click here as the launch venue has limited capacity. Media please contact Nancy at nancy@blackoutmusic.co.nz
  • If you want to screen the film for free contact@whiteribbon.org.nz

Free Workshops

  • Michael Kaufman (co-founder of White Ribbon) will be holding five free workshops across New Zealand. The film will be screened, followed by a workshop on ‘Raising Respectful Men’.

The workshops are to:

  • increase understanding of how New Zealand males are socialised and how this links with the high levels of family and sexual violence against women.
  • increase understanding of what action can be taken to mitigate the negative effects of socialisation and reduce men’s violence.
  • build community support for White Ribbon’s 2017 campaign, including its focus on male socialisation, and to inform participants how they can use White Ribbon’s campaign and resources in their work.

Workshop Dates:

  • Auckland Thursday 9 November, 1pm -4pm
    Grey Lynn Community Centre, 510 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn
  • Hastings Friday 10 November, 10am-1pm
    Havelock North Function Centre, 30 Te Mata Road, Havelock North
  • Dunedin Wednesday 15 November, 10am-1pm
    Burns Hall, 415 Lower Moray Place, Dunedin
  • Christchurch Thursday 16 November, 10am-1pm
    Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre, Corner of Wakefield Avenue and Nayland Street, Sumner.
  • Wellington Region Friday 17 November, 10am-1pm
    Olive Tree, 478 Jackson Street, Petone, Lower Hutt

To attend a workshop click here

Other key aspects of the 2017 Campaign

  • Distributing white ribbons for individuals to wear, with the message YES to Respect NO to Violence and You can Stop Violence to Women
  • Encouraging individuals to take The Pledge: I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence towards women (ideally via the website so we can send information about proactively taking a stand) https://whiteribbon.org.nz/act/the-pledge/
  • Promote respect with three posters displayed publicly around New Zealand.
  • Create a range of media opportunities to promote the campaign key messages.
  • White Ribbon Riders visiting communities and schools promoting messages of respect, and in schools tailored to students (respect instead of bullying).
  • Distribute information on how organisations (such as businesses, sports clubs or social groups) can support White Ribbon’s campaign including White Ribbon Business Accreditation. Downloadable document here.
  • Community Events will be supported and promoted to further communicate the White Ribbon key messages in local communities.
  • White Ribbon Business Accreditation. The purpose of accreditation is to engage more businesses in effective violence prevention, and to accredit those who effectively integrate violence prevention into their business practice. For more information businesses should contact White Ribbon at contact@whiteribbon.org.nz or visit the website here
  • Collection of data. The campaign needs to collect data for funders including the number of people at events, the activities of Ambassadors and Riders along with the currently collated data and reporting. You can help by registering your White Ribbon Event
  • White Ribbon Ambassadors promote campaign messages to their communities and networks. For the campaign to be successful, men must be seen to lead and actively support the kaupapa. Ambassadors play a vital role in building support, visibility and developing a shared understanding of the campaign within their social groups, workplaces and communities. Our Ambassadors embody the principles of the campaign. They are chosen for their willingness to challenge the behaviour of abusive men, and to convey key messages directly to their own communities.
    • This year we have held regional meetings to strengthen the programme
    • Increased the number of Maori, Pacific and ethnic ambassadors
    • To nominate a White Ribbon Ambassador, visit whiteribbon.org.nz/act/ambassadors/
    • The first female White Ribbon Ambassadors will be announced in November 2017
  • You can download all the posters here or order your resources here at the White Ribbon Shop
  • for media interviews in November nancy@blackoutmusic.co.nz
  • all other media enquiries to rob@whiteribbon.org.nz


Understanding the connection between Respectful Relationships and Violence


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.

Development of the current campaigns

In 2015 White Ribbon public workshops brought 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 enabled White Ribbon to identify three key themes for the 2015 campaign, which were further developed for 2016 and again in 2017.

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.

The Key themes that underpin the White Ribbon campaign are:

  • 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). This is the focus in 2017.

These themes were 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 respectful relationships and sexual relationships. 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 toolbox for dads and five short videos that focus on the top five tips.


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.

For HELP click here

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