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Shine A Light On Stories Of Change

White Ribbon is gathering ‘stories of change’ to Shine a Light on violence prevention and what works.

White Ribbon’s annual November campaign is sharing the real-life experiences of both perpetrators and survivors to highlight the need to tackle men’s violence towards women.

The charity is asking people to submit their ‘story of change’, via a secure website in any format e.g. a video, word document or audio file.

“We want to shine a light on what works and what supports people to change,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “We know that when you have real life examples of change, that can be really motivating. But all too often, most of us don’t share our stories of experiencing or breaking the cycle of family violence. Too often these parts of our lives are hidden in the shadows in much the same way that family harm is often hidden behind closed doors.”

“Our first story this campaign is being told by Catherine Daniels, a new White Ribbon Ambassador who experienced childhood trauma and sexual abuse. Unable to talk about the abuse she suffered, she began her own journey of healing by telling her story through her sculptures and art,” says Mr McCann.

While telling her story has helped Catherine heal, she has also helped many survivors to recognize their own experiences in the artwork, and enabled them to begin their own journey of healing.

“My husband and I had been married for nearly eight years before my secrets made me sick enough, that I couldn’t hold them in any longer. When I opened up to him about my childhood sexual abuse, he struggled to cope. It was easier for him to shut his anger down and say all that stuff is grey. I don’t do grey. I only do black and white. My husband shut it out for over 25 years. We never spoke about it and when we did, it caused a lot of pressure on everyone.

“When I made the first girl sitting on her suitcase with a small teddy bear beside her, I brought it inside to show him. He said “what’s that?” I told him it was me as a little girl and read him out a small piece of writing I had written.

“He just looked at it staring as if he could finally see what had been hidden inside of me all those years. That was the light bulb moment for him and the start of ‘The Secret Keeper’ for me. Showing my husband what was hidden inside of me as something tangible that he could see and talk about, was like pulling a plug out of a dam we had both built up.

“For the next five years, emotions flooded out as we talked about every sculpture and read each piece of writing. These sculptures and their story have shown him an entirely different way. He has completely changed and is now able to see and think in grey, not just black and white, says Catherine.”

Stories of change can come in many forms, and by sharing your story, you might be able to inspire others to recognize their behavior or their experiences and help others find the strength to make a change.

For more information about this year’s White Ribbon Campaign or to share your story www.whiteribbon.org.nz The campaign will also highlight four key messages; Healthy Masculinity, Respectful Relationships, Consent, Call-in Culture along with working the Disabilities sector and Rainbow community for the first time.

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