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A Man’s Role in Ending Violence & the significance of White Ribbons 

White Ribbon Day, which occurs on the 25th of November every year is a day recognised by the United Nations as The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  

Violence against women and girls is not a women’s issue, in 2021 globally about 45,000 women and girls were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that over five women or girls are killed every hour (United Nations Women, 2023).  

Violence against women and girls is not a women’s issue, an estimated 736 million women worldwide have faced physical and/or sexual violence from either or both intimate and non-intimate partners (United Nations Women, 2023). The previous figure does not include sexual harassment.  

Violence against women and girls is not a women’s issue, 1.7 million women in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022 (Office for National Statistics, 2022).  

Violence against women and girls is not a women’s issue, the use of sexist language by teachers has been heard by 60% of girls, a third of girls think if they reported sexual harassment schools would not take it seriously, and 24% of girls in mixed schools have said they have experience unwanted sexual touching in school (End Violence Against Women Coalition, 2023). 

Violence against women and girls is not a women’s issue, so this year White Ribbon UK is encouraging people to make consistent choices and actions to #ChangeTheStory for women and girls, so they can live a life free from the fear of violence. The first step to #ChangeTheStory is to understand what the statistics are telling us, which is that men do not experience fear of violence the same way as women (White Ribbon UK, 2023). #ChangeTheStory aims to change the narrative that violence against women and girls is a women’s issue, and that all men can have an active role in preventing violence before it begins by identifying and challenging harmful behaviours and attitudes that constitute as violence and could escalate into more severe cases of violence (White Ribbon UK, 2023). 

You can #ChangeTheStory, in several ways: 

  1. Make the White Ribbon Promise. Promise to never use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women and girls. Make a personal commitment to #ChangeTheStory for women and girls.
  2. Wear a White Ribbon. Wear the international symbol of ending men’s violence against women.
  3. Fundraise to Support White Ribbon UK. White Ribbon UK is the leading charity that works with men and boys to end violence towards women and girls. They aim to empower men to challenge harmful behaviours, so women can live life without the fear of violence. 
  4. Donate to White Ribbon UK.  Donating means that White Ribbon UK can continue their work of engaging with men and boys to change harmful cultures for women and girls. 
  5. Become a Change Maker and Join a Diverse Network of Allies. White Ribbon Ambassadors and Champions are individuals who have taken their commitment to ending men’s violence against women and girls to the next level. 
  6. Get your Organisation Involved. Organisations can make real changes for men and women by becoming White Ribbon Accredited and/or a Supporter Organisation. 

(White Ribbon UK, 2023) 

#ChangeTheStory, show your support for violence against women not being a women’s issue.  

#ChangeTheStory, show your support for ending violence against women this White Ribbon Day.  

References 

  • End Violence Against Women Coalition, 2023. It’s #AboutTime – A Whole School Approach to Ending Violence Against Women and Girls, London: End Violence Against Women Coalition. 
  • Office for National Statistics, 2022. Domestic abuse victim characteristics, England and Wales: year ending March 2022, Newport: Office for National Statistics. 
  • United Nations Women, 2023. Facts and figures: Ending violence against women. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures
    [Accessed 15 November 2023]. 
  • White Ribbon UK, 2023. White Ribbon Day 2023. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/white-ribbon-day-2023
    [Accessed 28 October 2023]. 

– Written by Amelia Phillips, Campaigns Volunteer at Quetzal 

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