The White Ribbon Riders roar into Waitakere today to promote an end to violence towards women.
The 9-day motorcycle ride in the North and South Islands is a key White Ribbon project organised by the Families Commission to encourage men to take action and end unacceptable levels of violence towards women.
'Last year was fantastic,' says Aaron Morrison of the Patriots, 'and we can't wait to get on the road again and continue spreading the message.
We know that men want to live non-violent lives but sometimes they need to be shown how. It's no different from bringing up your own children - they learn by watching their parents. We hope to talk directly to those men who want to stand up and lead a movement of non-violence.'
'If you're a perpetrator of violence, it's no walk in the park to make changes to your life. To achieve this you need the support of your mates and your family. By talking about our own experiences (both violent and peaceful) we want to help all men accept that it's our responsibility to end this violence and give them some tools to bring about change. No one, especially women and children, should have to experience violence,' says Mr Morrison.
This year the riders will include messages about non-physical violence.
'We've been talking about physical violence for a couple of years now and it's fair to say most men understand how wrong it is to use their fists', says Rob McCann, Families Commission White Ribbon Campaign Manager. 'What is less well understood are the effects of non-physical violence.'
'Non-physical violence can leave scars which no one can see, and that affect your whole personality. It's hard to comprehend that violence can have that effect, but women will tell you, bruises and bones can heal while the effects of fear can last a lifetime.'
'Non -physical violence is about manipulation and coercion, and affects your emotions and personality, rather than your body. Women who suffer emotional abuse can feel like they are going mad, can be very frightened, and feel like they have no choices. Add to this they are often made to feel like it's their fault. We want men to understand how devastating non-physical violence can be and ensure they do not remain silent when witnessing such behaviour', says Mr McCann.
The White Ribbon Riders will gather at the Marae at Waitakere Hospital at 12:30pm on Friday 23 November to take part in the Waitakere White Ribbon Parade.
The parade starts at 1:00pm and travels through Henderson to say 'Family Violence - It's not OK in Waitakere'.
The parade will end at Falls Park, Alderman Drive, Henderson where there will be a BBQ and music by The Project.
Waitakere residents will have the opportunity to meet and chat to the riders, as well as check out the bikes.
Following the Waitakere Parade, at 4:35pm, the Riders will be sharing afternoon tea with the staff at Man Alive in Henderson.