Most men aren't violent, but all it takes for bad things to happen is for good people to do nothing. This year, White Ribbon is asking men to 'stand up' and protect against violence by taking an online pledge and making a commitment to one of eight actions.
Made with the help of Ocean Design and Lot23, this year's White Ribbon campaign is not a fundraising appeal – rather it has been designed to lead a change in attitudes and behaviour.
The eight actions offer men choices to build respectful behaviour patterns that undermine violence. When taking the pledge, people are asked to specify which action they plan to take: 'talk to women about their experiences with men – and believe what they tell me'; 'ask myself how I've treated women, and how I can behave more respectfully'; 'disrupt other men when they disrespect or threaten women'; 'treat women as equals in everything I do'; 'choose how I will be a man and how I will act'; 'talk with a young man about breaking out of the man box'; 'think about what I'm watching and the media I use'; and 'talk with young men about respectful relationships and porn'.
White Ribbon refers to the expectations that men must always appear dominant as 'the man box'.
The actions listed on the pledge are accompanied by a series of 'Action' videos in which White Ribbon ambassadors talk about how each action relates to their own experience.
White Ribbon manager Rob McCann says too many of us have let the violent actions of others slide.
"We currently have the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world, while our front line police officers spend 41 percent of their time responding to family violence.
"It's time for men to get off the sidelines and play a role in violence prevention."
In 2016, the New Zealand Police investigated 118,910 family violence incidents, equating to one every five minutes. Between 2009 and 2015 there was 92 'intimate partner violence' deaths in New Zealand – and 98 percent of death occurred after a period of recorded abuse where the woman was the primary victim.
As well as the pledge, White Ribbon launched ad summing up this year's campaign and what it is trying to achieve. The ad has been released in nine languages: English, Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Chinese, Fijian, Hindi, Japanese and Korean.
“Too often people think violence is just someone losing their temper, but research clearly demonstrates that violence is more about controlling behaviour and men’s socialisation. We know that promoting and understanding respectful relationships is a protection against violence," McCann says.
"As men we can make a real difference if we stand up for our values. How many of us ignore the guy telling sexist jokes in the pub or look the other way when a friend is making derogatory comments? Too many! How many dads sit down with their sons and talk about what a respectful sexual relationship looks like?"
The White Ribbon pledge is available to sign here.