WDHB male staff members to host White Ribbon Day event

21 November 2014
Close to 20 Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) male staff members have committed to take time out from their jobs on Tuesday 25 November to help publicise this year’s White Ribbon Day. Besides greeting staff and visitors in Wanganui Hospital’s front entrance, the men will hand out white ribbons, brochures and contact details for agencies available to help victims and perpetrators of family violence.
WDHB Violence Intervention Programme (VIP) coordinator Barbara Charuk says the campaign matters to all the men on a professional and a private level.
“I am very proud that they want to make a visible stand against family violence and that they are doing so on the WDHB campus,” Mrs Charuk says. “Sadly, family violence affects the health of many people throughout the Whanganui district.”
Meanwhile, recently appointed WDHB child & youth mortality review coordinator Terry Sarten says growing up in an environment in which the threat of violence is ever present is hugely damaging for children. “Research evidence tells us that children who are the victims of violence or witnesses to it, often echo this behaviour as adults,” Mr Sarten says.
“As a key health provider in the region, the WDHB sees the results of family violence in the injuries to women and children. While working to keep them safe is paramount, we need to change attitudes and it’s the influence that men have on their peers that has the greatest long-term effect on family violence.”
New Zealand’s White Ribbon campaign has its origins in Canada’s White Ribbon Day movement and the United Nations International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. Driven by a national campaign team and a diverse range of community groups in towns and cities throughout New Zealand, White Ribbon Day includes a variety of events and activities. In Whanganui, a march is being planned to take place in Victoria Avenue around midday on Tuesday.
The first White Ribbon Campaign was launched in 1991, by a group of Canadian men following the brutal mass shooting of 14 female students at the University of Montreal.
Eight years later in 1999, the United Nations officially recognised 25 November as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Over the years, White Ribbon has become officially recognised as a symbol of hope for a world where women and girls can live free from the fear of violence. By asking men to be involved, helping women to break their silence, and encouraging communities to come together to build a better world for all, the White Ribbon campaign is having a significant impact on those who experience family violence and those who want to see it end. Wearing a white ribbon sends a strong statement that violence is not acceptable.