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Official White Ribbon Event on the Steps of Parliament

Friday 22 November


White Ribbon Day is on Monday 25 November. Communities and organisations will be holding events all over New Zealand focusing on the elimination of men's violence towards women, and sharing the CHALLENGE THE #UNSPOKEN RULES collateral on their Facebook and media pages. “We invite New Zealanders to support this cause by going one step further and sharing their personal stories of change on their own social media,” says White Ribbon Ambassador Richie Hardcore. “Sharing stories of change is empowering and can help make a real difference.”

Tag your contribution with #UNSPOKENRULES so that White Ribbon can find these messages and share them.

New Zealand has the highest rate of reported violence against women in the developed world. Mr Hardcore notes “That’s not because men are born bad, but it’s because so many men don’t learn how to resolve conflict non-violently. From boyhood, far too many men are pushed into a limited box of behaviour that’s all about solving problems with violence, being tough, manning up and being the boss, and this carries over into our relationships. When men don’t know how to express their feelings, compromise and communicate, violence is often the result.”

This year White Ribbon are Challenging the #Unspoken Rules. These are the expectations that boys and young men inherit from society, based on outdated ideas of what a man is, how he acts, and how he should express himself. Even if we don’t agree with them, these rules still exist silently in the background for far too many. Rules like, Be the Man, Toughen Up and Boys Don’t Cry reinforce unhelpful stereotypes about what it is to be a man.

Research found that that 47% of men were told that ‘boys don’t cry’ while 65% were told that ‘boys should harden or toughen up’ when they were boys. Conversely only 9% of women were told that ‘girls don’t cry.’

“These numbers are disturbing,” says Mr Hardcore. “But having worked in this space for years now, we know many men are working on themselves, rejecting these old stereotypes and role modelling healthier behaviours not just to their sons, but to the men around them.”

“We want cultural change to happen through a ripple effect of men sharing their experiences online, challenging these old and limited ideas about masculinity,” continues Mr Hardcore. “Men are capable of being great at sports, enjoying a night out with the boys and being vulnerable, loving, and nurturing. It’s not one or the other. Sharing stories online creates the social permission for other men to step outside the old paradigms, instead of so much of the banter that teases men for being ‘soft’ and stops us from being open.”


Steps of Parliament at 12:30pm Monday 25th November

If you’re in Wellington, come and join White Ribbon outside Parliament at 12.30pm on Monday 25 November as we welcome back the team of riders who have been spreading the White Ribbon kaupapa around the Lower North Island for the past week.

We will also hear the poem ’Respectfully’ by Hannah Dorey, winner of this year’s White Ribbon Spoken Word Competition for high school students in the Wellington region.

Chief Ombudsman Judge Peter Boshier, Deputy Police Commissioner Wallace Haumaha and Air Marshal Kevin Short, Head of the New Zealand Defence Force will also be there to speak and show their support for changing the narrative and encouraging men to express their emotions in a healthy way.

It is time to eliminate violence toward women. Join us and show your support!

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