Unfortunately the news is full of terrible atrocities as a result of men harming and killing women. Getting men and boys to speak out and show their opposition to violence against women by wearing a white ribbon is one of the aims of White Ribbon Week which runs each year from November 25th.
This years campaign is focusing on challenging the age old stereotypes of how males behave. I love video clip from the White Ribbon website changing up common saying which have been ingrained in our culture, my favourite is around changing ‘Be The Man’ , which portrays staunch, powerful, unrelenting, ‘The Boss’ attitudes to become ‘Be The Man You Want to Be’ portraying empowering, hopeful, future facing, role models. Congratulations to those men who are taking up the challenge to look at themselves and the influences in their lives.
Programs that support men to realise that they don’t have the right to abuse, threaten, take advantage, bully, grope, frighten or shame another human being especially women and children should be fully endorsed by everyone in the community, as it benefits us all.
Any step within the journey of changing how men see men and acknowledging that past behaviours of violence as not acceptable is a huge leap forward and it is uplifting to see that many men are taking responsibility and finding ways to help change their lives and the lives of others by being the man they want to be. This often involves confronting their emotions and recreating their ‘self’.
I watched this amazing video this week, Matt Brown – The Barbershop where men go to heal, where Matt shares an amazing raw reflection on his experiences with violence and the path to recovery. Part of his testimony acknowledges the fact that many abusers are following a pattern of abuse and do not have the skills to do better, they were hurting too and although it is hard to do so, it is important to forgive to release yourself to enable your recovery. Forgiveness does not condone their behaviour.
Matts video really resonated with me as I to grew up with a father who was violent however my method of coping saw me shelving my memories behind rosy coloured glasses.
Fortunately not all men are violent and many are already in touch with their feelings and respect the people in their lives, and are good role models, they are a beacon of hope for others on the journey. I am so fortunate to be loved by a man who is kind, considerate, loving and not abusive, loud or threatening.
Wearing a white ribbon helps remind us to be kind and strong of heart and not accept the violence against others. It is not OK.