Guest Editorial: Man up and stop the violence

By Andrew Austin

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The White Ribbon campaign is something that men who are repulsed by violence against women should support.

White Ribbon is a global campaign led by men and the initiative is being spearheaded by the Families Commission in New Zealand. Men all over the country are being encouraged to wear a white ribbon as a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent on the subject.

International White Ribbon Day is on November 25, but there are a number of events leading up to it. Locally there are a few things happening, starting with a Man Up rally in Hastings tomorrow. One of the speakers there will be Mark Longley, the father of 17-year-old Emily, who was killed by her violent boyfriend in London last year.

The case made headlines here and in the UK because it was so shocking and because the boyfriend's parents tried to hide his crime.

It prompted debate about domestic violence and also the fact that people should not remain silent.

Another event to hit Hawke's Bay next Wednesday will be the White Ribbon Riders, a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who will spend nine days riding in the North and South Islands.

Families Commission White Ribbon campaign manager, Rob McCann, said most men understood how wrong it was to use their fists, but the effects of non-physical violence was less well understood.

"Non-physical violence can leave scars which no one can see, and that affects 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.

"We want men to understand how devastating non-physical violence can be and ensure they do not remain silent when witnessing such behaviour."

It is good to see that so many normal, decent men are getting behind the campaign and showing that violence against women should not be tolerated.

For more information about the White Ribbon campaign you can go to http://whiteribbon.org.nz. While you are there you can also take the pledge to stop violence against women. Causes like this can make a difference.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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