Today's young people are constantly subjected to an array of confusing and mixed messages about relationships and respect, says Katy Wilson, the Taranaki Safe Families Trust (TSFT) co-ordinator.
"Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr ... wherever you look there are images and messages bombarding us about how relationships work and what respect looks like.
We live in a world where the President of the USA has openly discussed women in derogatory terms, implying it is ok to touch without consent. From advertising to video games, comic books to music videos, young people are exposed to a lot of images and messages about what relationships look like, and it isn't always healthy."
Katy says this year's White Ribbon Day has a theme of Respectful Relationships and aims to counteract some of the negative messages young people are exposed to.
"People need to understand what a respectful relationship looks like and how to be in one themselves. A respectful relationship means equality between men and women, it means consent, it means being violence free, it means choice and it means open and honest communication."
White Ribbon Day is an awareness day that aims to stop violence against women by encouraging men to lead by example.
"White Ribbon Day asks men to say yes to respectful relationships and to say no to violence against women. We want men not only to step up themselves to help end violence against women, but also to challenge other men, to call their friends and family members out when they see them behaving or talking disrespectfully."
It is vital men and women are on the same page when it comes to stopping / preventing family violence in the home, says Katy.
"There is no question that intimate partner violence is a gendered issue in New Zealand. Between 2009 and 2015 there were 92 intimate partner violence deaths in New Zealand. That is 92 men and women who died at the hand of their partner. Of those, 83 of them happened in a relationship which had a recorded history of abuse. And of those 83, only one of them was a male victim abused by his female partner."
While these statistics show a clear gender bias, family violence is not a solely female issue, says Katy.
"Men and women need to be on the same page and work together to change these statistics. We need to remember violence is the enemy, not each other."
The White Ribbon Campaign gives men the opportunity to take a stand and to change these statistics says Katy.
"It is all very well to have a joke with your friends, but you need to always be aware of the message underneath. A joke abut a woman being in the kitchen might be flippant, but there may be one man in the group of listeners who takes that as implied permission to treat women as inferior.
The only way we can truly stop violence against women is to challenge ourselves to adjust our thinking, our behaviours, our actions and our words. By role modelling respect to each other, we can lead the next generation by example."
This year's White Ribbon Day event for South Taranaki will take place in Kaponga, says Katy.
"We have a fantastic day lined up, with speakers, a barbecue, entertainment, games and more. The event is open to everyone and we encourage people to come along, to show their support for the campaign. By being present you can help us make a difference and join us in the stand against violence."
Taranaki Safe Families Trust White Ribbon Day event for South Taranaki will take place on November 23. See their Facebook page for more details: