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Rotorua White Ribbon Ride urges stand against violence

26 November 2014

Rotorua White Ribbon Ride urges stand against violence

Dave Donaldson will never forget the story of a woman who escaped her violent partner by going to jail.

Some years ago while the Rotorua deputy mayor was still a police officer, he escorted a woman to Auckland to serve jail time for dishonesty offences. Her story has stayed with him.

“For her it was a huge relief to be going to jail because she was getting away from her family environment,” he recalls. “Her only regret was that she would miss her son’s birthday. But she was still under pressure from her former partner, his family and other gang members and felt safer than she had in a long time – going to jail meant she would be safe, that’s how desperate she was to escape.”

Cr Donaldson says everyone has a part to play in eliminating violence in the community and this weekend’s White Ribbon Ride in Rotorua is one way for people to take a stand.

The ride has been organised by Rotorua District Council as part of this month’s White Ribbon campaign which aims to eliminate violence against women and promote positive male role models who are committed to non-violence.

Last year Mayor Steve Chadwick and Cr Donaldson took the While Ribbon pledge on behalf of the Rotorua District Council, committing to the campaign and urging people to take a stand against men’s violence towards women.

“Council has a leadership role in the community and part of that is working to ensure our city is safe for all residents and visitors,” Cr Donaldson says.

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“Sadly, the home is the most unsafe place in terms of violence and we need to confront domestic violence and speak out if we suspect or know it’s happening.

“As individuals we can speak to our friends, family and colleagues and as a community we can say we don’t accept this.”

On Saturday (29 November) Cr Donaldson will lead a White Ribbon ride, a fun event with a serious message.

The “cruisy” 4km cycle ride through the central city, lakefront and Government Gardens will have a police escort to ensure the safety of all road users and participants are being asked to dress in black and white to acknowledge White Ribbon month.

“The ride is a way to highlight the simple pleasures in life and make a statement that there are no grey areas when it comes to violence – it is unacceptable,” Cr Donaldson says.

The White Ribbon Ride leaves the Village Green at 10am Saturday and will end there with a Whanau Day celebration featuring activities, music and food.

Riders will also explore a proposed cross-city pedestrian/cycling route, the “Green Corridor”, which is on display for feedback at Council’s Ideas Store in Tutanekai Street, a few doors along from Hannah’s shoe store.

White Ribbon
• The White Ribbon campaign aims to eliminate violence against women and promote positive male role models who are committed to non-violence.
• One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives
• Less than 20 percent of abuse cases are reported
• More than 3500 men are convicted of assault on women every year
• On average, 14 women a year are killed by their partners or ex-partners

You can help
• Check that your actions and those of your mates are OK. Be man enough to make a call on inappropriate behaviour.
• Make sure the women you know are OK. If not, start a conversation with them, with their partners, or with someone who can help
• For advice, call the helplines It’s Not Ok 0800 456 450 or Women’s Refuge 0800 733 843 or visit www.nnsvs.org.nz
• Wear a white ribbon every day, join a White Ribbon activity and show your support

For more information about the White Ribbon campaign, to donate or to take the pledge against violence towards women, go to www.whiteribbon.org.nz

ENDS

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