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White ribbon campaign 2023

Posted22.11.23

White Ribbon Day 2023

White Ribbon is a leading UK charity, working to end violence towards women and girls. Their aim is to educate men and boys by working on the root causes of violence towards women and girls by challenging attitudes, beliefs, systems, and behaviours around masculinity which perpetrates inequality and violence, which are the leading causes of violence towards women and girls, they want to stop violence before it begins.

This year, White Ribbon Day is taking place on Saturday 25th November and calls for a transformative approach—to #ChangeTheStory. This means unlearning and relearning our attitudes and behaviours towards women. It means we can all be agents of change in shifting narratives, reshaping and redefining how we view and treat each other.

As an organisation who support many women who are subject to violence by men and boys, it’s important that we raise awareness in our services and amongst our colleagues and customers. It’s also a great time to educate our male customers, whether they are preparators or allies for women and girls. Bringing forward positive role models for the male customers we work with, encouraging them to support women and openly speak out against violence towards women and girls.

Understanding the Reality:

Before we delve into how we can #ChangeTheStory, it’s crucial to acknowledge the stark realities faced by women today. The statistics speak volumes:

  • Nearly 1 in 4 girls in mixed-sex schools has experienced unwanted sexual touching. (EVAW)
  • 6 in 10 women have felt harassed in the gym by a man. (The Gym-timidation Report)
  • 30% of women have encountered workplace harassment, with 81% reporting harassment by men. (Government Equalities Office)
  • 7 million women experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022. (ONS)

(White Ribbon UK)

In order to stop violence towards women and #ChangeTheStory, we need to address where it starts.

We can all recognise physical violence when we see it. But what about the underlying, non-physical behaviours that might not be so easy to see? Violence against women and girls can take many forms – from making sexist jokes, to harassment on public transport, to coercive control and extreme violence. We sometimes dismiss some of these behaviours as low-level or insignificant, but when they are normalised in places of work and home, they can contribute to attitudes that perpetuate violence against women.  Misogynist jokes, when unchallenged, can lead to a broader culture that ingrains discriminatory attitudes towards women. This makes it easier to excuse and perpetuate more serious forms of violence and abuse.

This week let’s reflect on how our language and unconscious behaviours might help or hinder perceptions about women.

What you can do:

  • Self-reflect: How does my use of humour and language affect perceptions, beliefs and attitudes about women?
  • Make the White Ribbon promise:

‘I Promise to Never Use, Excuse or Remain Silent about Men’s Violence against Women.’ (You can do this officially on the White Ribbon website or make a silent or written promise to yourself.)

  • Wear a White Ribbon to show your allyship and support. You can make one yourself, or order one from WhiteRibbon.org.uk
  • Challenge it when you see it: whether it’s a harmful joke, stereotype or unintentionally hurtful comment, bring awareness to it compassionately. Often people are unaware that what they are saying is contributing to a harmful narrative.

As we approach White Ribbon Day, let’s not just observe but actively participate in rewriting the narrative. By collectively reflecting, challenging harmful behaviours, and engaging in compassionate, respectful discussions, we can contribute to a culture that breaks the silence and actively works to end men’s violence against women. Let us embrace the power to #ChangeTheStory, fostering a society built on respect, equality, and compassion.

Being allies with women every day shouldn’t be underestimated — even the smallest actions can affect big change. Not all men are part of the problem, but all men can end gender-based violence by refusing to accept attitudes and behaviours that put women and girls at risk.

“We can all play a part in change, we just have to want to,” White Ribbon Ambassador Mike Taggart.

Find out more about the White Ribbon Campaign.

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