25 November is White Ribbon Day or, to use its full and official title, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. By wearing a white ribbon, men demonstrate their opposition to rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence.
While almost every man is opposed to violence against women, we don't say so as often or as loudly as we should. We need to make sure other men take issues like rape seriously. Some people would prefer to change the subject, deny that there is a problem, or (most disturbingly) pretend that men are the real victims. That's not good enough, because it creates an environment that encourages and protects the perpetrators of violence against women. We need to make it clear that the so-called men's rights movement doesn't represent us.
The Australian White Ribbon Day committee offers some good reasons for men to wear white ribbons:
* We have heard about the pain and suffering that violence inflicts on women. We know that a fist in the face, a kick in the ribs, being forced into sex, having one's daily life controlled and policed and tormented, we know that these are horrible things that should never happen;
* We care for our wives, our girlfriends, our sisters, daughters, our female friends, our co-workers;
* We know it is men's wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends whose lives are limited by violence and abuse; and, whether we know about it or not, many of the women we know have been subject to men's violence;
* We know that men don't have to be violent, that men can do better, that men can be and often are loving, caring, and nonviolent;
* We want girls and women, and boys and men, to be free from the threat of other men's violence;
* We know that we, and all men will benefit from a world free of violence against women, a world based on gender equality: in our relations with women, instead of experiencing distrust and disconnection we will find closeness and connection. We will be able to take up a healthier, emotionally in-touch and proud masculinity.
So this Friday, every Australian man should wear a white ribbon. You should take the opportunity to inform yourself about the problem, and think about what you can do (pdf) to prevent violence against women. And most importantly, if you are concerned about a friend's behaviour -- or your own -- you should call the confidential 24-hour hotline on 1800 200 526.
Violence against women will only cease when men join with women to put an end to it.
[This post was written by Rob Corr; I've reposted it in full, with permission, as I completely agree with everything said above. Show your support, wear the ribbon, yet also keep in mind this is an awareness day but these issues always matter, every day!]