Stand up and Swear

White Ribbon25 November marks the beginning of 2014 White Ribbon campaign. I had the privilege of running the Queensland White Ribbon campaign in 2009 and provided some support again in 2012. The prevention of domestic and family violent is a passion of mine and again this year I am challenging you to take a stand a swear “Not Violent, Not Silent”.

Getting involved in the campaign is easy

  • Swear online and sign the oath to “not commit, not condone, and not be silent about domestic and family violence”.
  • Update your social media covers and profile pics with the awesome campaign artwork. White Ribbon Australia have got funky artwork for Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Pintrest and Tumblr. I would love to see nothing more than a sea of white ribbons plastered on social media for the duration of the campaign.
  • Wear a White Ribbon or Wristband. Hell why stop there? White Ribbon Australia have grown their campaign merchandise so much and now have an awesome selection of White Ribbon branded stuff like drink bottles, laptop covers, brollies cuff links. Everything you need to publicly show you swear “Not Violent, Not Silent”. Just go check it out.
  • Sell White Ribbons and Wristbands (and their other cool merchandise). White Ribbon Australia offer consignment for their merchandise.
  • Host an event.  This is a grass roots campaign and every cupcake matters. I am arranging a bring-a-plate style morning tea at my workplace this year.
  • Attend an event. There are hundreds of events happening around the country (and wolrd). If you’re hosting an event make sure you send the details through to White Ribbon Australia so they can post it on the events calendar.
  • Become a White Ribbon Ambassador. I am proud to have extraordinary long term friends, colleagues and mentors who have become White Ribbon Ambassadors.

Why White Ribbon matters to me

  • In Australia two people die every week from domestic and family violence. These women, men and children are your mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, neighbours and friends.
  • In Australia one in three women (34%) will experience violence and abuse in their relationship at some time in their lifetime.
  • In Australia intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44.
  • In Australia domestic and family violence is the principle cause of homelessness for women and their children.
  • In Australia one in four children are exposed to domestic violence, which is a recognised form of child abuse.

And it is campaigns like this that provide education about what domestic violence is and that it is a community issue to solve–standing together, supporting both the survivors and users of violence.

Since I wrote My White Ribbon Story back in 2009, I have left two other relationships attributed to domestic violence. In either of those relationships I was not hit. It doesn’t change the fact that it was domestic violence.

Domestic violence isn’t just about the smacking around. It is also about the verbal abuse and constant belittling the abuser does to the person they claim to love, the threats, the dominance and control through withholding money, affection and attention. It’s about the promise it will never happen again.

It’s about the power that the abuser gains through fear. From my own experience, being hit is easy. It’s everything that leads up to it and the fear of it happening again which is worse than the actual whack.

I am painfully aware that victim blaming is still a very real and ugly conversation in our community.

You can put a stop to violence against women.

Don’t be afraid to stand up.

Swear the Oath and join the conversation.

And remember, thousands of good people have got your back.

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