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Three Dads Speak Out for White Ribbon Week

19 November 2006

Three Dads Speak Out for White Ribbon Week

Men have to step up and take leadership if we are to reduce New Zealand's very high rate of domestic violence.

Dads have a crucial role to play in modelling caring and respectful relationships and challenging other men to do better, the National Network of Stopping Violence Services says.

"Too many men only know how to show anger. We need to bring our boys up to be able to show feelings of disappointment, rejection, fear, sadness, without masking them with violence," Brian Gardner, national co-manager said.

Waikato family violence expert Neville Robertson said ""Everyone must take responsibility for contributing to the cultural change which is needed – right from refusing to buy cars advertised by soft core porn advertising to challenging friends and family, refusing to laugh at rape jokes, to voting for political parties which promote policies which will increase the status of women."

Shaun Robinson, CEO Presbyterian Support East Coast says, "Violence is not just a working class issue. People of all walks of life use all forms of power and control and there are usually multiple forms of violence involved in abuse."

Shaun, Neville and Brian are all Dads who have made a commitment to living violence free in all aspects of life. They are calling on all Dads to do the same.

"The common scenario in New Zealand domestic violence murders is the rejected man murdering his expartner and/or the children. He can't handle his feelings without violence," Mr Gardner said.

The four out of five New Zealand men who don't use violence have a vital role to play in changing our culture of "show no feelings", he said.

Statistics show that most perpetrators of domestic violence are men and most victims are women and children. Men use a pattern of behaviour to intimidate and control their partners and children.

"This is learned behaviour – no-one is born violent," Mr Gardner said.

"Our message for White Ribbon Day this year is 'be proud – don't condone violence towards women'. We want men to speak out in all aspects of their lives – at work, at home, at school, in the community and in the street – when they see or hear men using violence."

We call on men to: • wear a white ribbon to show you don't use, tolerate or condone violence towards women • challenge attitudes and behaviour which condone/tolerate violence • spread the word about the White Ribbon campaign and its message • support men who are caring and respectful towards women.

White Ribbon Day is 25th November. A week of events is planned in New Zealand starting with a national launch in Wellington on Monday 20th.

The National Network runs programmes for men who want to give up violence and for women and children affected by violence.

It also works with organisations to develop violence free environments.

ENDS

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