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The final stretch of the White Ribbon ride

After a week out on the road, the annual White Ribbon Ride is heading into the final stretch, delivering the message that we need to Challenge the #UNSPOKEN RULES to communities across New Zealand.

Unspoken rules are the clichés such as ‘boys don't cry’ and ‘toughen up’. These outdated ideas of masculinity harm our young men by limiting them to stereotypes that are fundamentally unhealthy. If you can't express your emotions, you bottle them up and we know that men need to open up for their own mental health and to ensure they have healthy respectful relationships.

"The White Ribbon Ride began in New Zealand in 2009," says Takurua Tawera, the lower North Island Ride Leader. "It provides an opportunity to get in front of communities that might otherwise not hear these messages from a campaign like White Ribbon."

"Each campaign we try to visit around 80 communities where we deliver a specific campaign message in person," says Mr Tawera. "The key is using personal stories that weave in messages. That way our riders are using their own experiences and stories to support the campaign."

Ken Mahon, the new South Island White Ribbon Leader agrees, "The most powerful message is when it's delivered from the heart or personal experience. That's when you see an audience connect with a story or message."

"The #UnspokenRules campaign is the strongest campaign I've been involved in. As young boys most of us have been told to toughen up or that boys don't cry," says Mr Mahon. "That type of pressure and advice is unhelpful and damaging."

The Ride continues in the lower half of the North Island with a final event outside Parliament on White Ribbon Day (Monday 25th November, 12:30pm) with a special performance from the winner of White Ribbon's high school Spoken Word Competition Hannah Dorey.

The South Island Ride also wraps up on White Ribbon Day after meeting Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who has a special interest in family violence prevention on Saturday.

• For more information about White Ribbon, go to www.whiteribbon.org.nz
• Link to the #Unspoken Rules campaign HERE
• Link to the research HERE

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