WDHB's male staff members to honour White Ribbon Day

Ned Tapa enabling WDHB staff to experience a waka trip on the Whanganui River.
21 November 2016
Eleven male Whanganui DHB staff members will honour White Ribbon Day by offering white ribbons to visitors passing through Whanganui Hospital’s Main Entrance on Thursday 24 November.
Strong advocates of anti-violence towards women and children, the men will be on hand to talk to staff, visitors and patients interested in finding out what the White Ribbon campaign stands for and what sits behind the campaign’s tagline: ‘I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women and children’.
The positioning of a waka (used by Whanganui DHB cultural awareness programme participants) at the front of the hospital is expected to prompt a number of questions, which WDHB Maori Health Services whānau navigator (Haumoana) Ned Tapa says, the men will be happy to answer.
“We’re placing the waka there to highlight the need for communities to work together in eliminating family violence,” Mr Tapa says. “Just as people worked together to build the waka, so is our community working together to create a safer environment for women and children.”
Mr Tapa says men have a critical role to play in speaking out and responding when they hear, see or become aware of males behaving violently. While domestic violence such as punching, kicking or attempted strangulation is usually viewed as physical assault it can also be sexual, verbal, emotional or psychological.
“We encourage males to demonstrate their support for women and children wanting to live free of violence by refusing to accept any violent behaviour within their immediate and wider families which includes their peers, workmates, friends and sports clubs,” Mr Tapa says.
Meanwhile, WDHB Child Youth Mortality Review Committee regional co-ordinator Terry Sarten says the Whanganui DHB Violence Intervention Project is an important part of the collective approach to tackle family violence effectively. “While some might think it’s difficult to try and change the attitudes and actions that give rise to violence, I believe change is happening,” Mr Sarten says.
“Over the past eight months, Whanganui Women’s Refuge has seen increasing numbers of women who want, and expect, to live their lives free of violence so this in itself signals that change is occurring. White Ribbon Day provides an opportunity for men to walk the talk together, united in their intention to end violence against women and children.”    
White Ribbon Day on Friday 25 November will be marked with a community march along Whanganui’s Victoria Avenue at midday and a range of other events being held around the wider region. The waka will be rowed up to the start of the march at the bottom of Victoria Avenue.