Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Zonta International and White Ribbon Campaign, together, say NO to Violence against Women.

Imagine this ..... suburban Canberra, a high school full of boys and Matt Hollis is wondering if any of them are going to turn up.

Matt is a teacher at this school and he is also an Ambassador for Australia's White Ribbon Campaign. He is working hard in the school to raise awareness with the boys and his fellow teachers about having respect and care for the women in their lives. Matt has a special event planned and is hoping he'll get enough of the students to show the school that the effort is worthwhile.

So what is Matt's purpose?

To help these young men to grow up creating a world of safety and respect for others. Because currently, Australia is like most western nations - living with an approx. 30% of women reporting some form of domestic violence incident in their lives.

1 in 3

I'll stop for a moment to let that sink in.

That means in our daily lives, going to work, sport, Zonta - where ever - we are mingling with both the victims and the perpetrators. Just as White Ribbon suggest, it is likely we will come across such violence.

White Ribbon is the world's largest male-led movement to end violence against women. Launched in Canada in 1989, White Ribbon was brought to Australia by the then UNIFEM in 2003.

Today in Australia the White Ribbon Campaign is well established and is fast making in roads in supporting men to help their mates understand and live in respect. Of course, Aussie blokes make it their own with their "Hey Mate" campaign.

Stephen Carter, the White Ribbon Organiser here in Canberra tells me that the script for this commercial was from a real conversation overheard down at the local pub.  ummmm ..... struth!

The Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast has linked up with the White Ribbon Campaign to plan a joint event to recognise November 25 - the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - a day important to both organisations.

All Zonta Clubs across the world are joining together in 2013 as a united front in our Zonta says NO campaign. 


Here in Canberra we are hoping to join with White Ribbon in the conduct of an awareness raising event with some of the local boys schools, local White Ribbon Ambassadors and our Zonta club members.

I wonder if our kids will be as inventive as these Canadian school students?

EHHHH! Respected Ladies!! Wow!!

So I can hear you saying ... But Mrs Banks! What happened to Matt and his school students??

OH - yes Matt! Matt visited our Club monthly meeting and shared this story with us. Matt had arranged a large long sheet of black fabric and tins of white paint. The young men would leave their white hand print on the sheet as a pledge that hand would never be raised in violence against women.

The school had to delay classes.

Matt ran out of paint.

Kids were queued down the corridor and painted both hands.

All the male teachers then joined him on stage at the school assembly and together recited the White Ribbon Oath.

I am SO thankful to have Matt in Canberra, doing the work he is doing, changing the lives of these young people and making the world a better place.

What is your club planning for the Zonta says NO Campaign?

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