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The official website of the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office V.E.T.O.

White Ribbon Campaign


EVENTS  |  PUBLICATIONS






The White Ribbon Campaign
(WRC)

The White Ribbon Campaign was originally founded in Canada, following the 1989 massacre of 14 young female college students at Montreal´s L´Ecole Polytechnique, a handful of men recognized that as men, they have a responsibility to urge other men to speak out against men´s violence against women, as it could no longer be treated as merely a "Women´s Problem."   These men organized the White Ribbon Campaign to ask men to take the pledge, wear a small white ribbon as a symbol of men´s opposition to men´s violence against women, and enter into a dialogue about men´s violence against women.

The philosophy of the White Ribbon Campaign is focused on men´s violence against women.   While concerned about all forms of violence, the purpose of the White Ribbon is to focus on men´s violence against women.   The campaign urges communities, schools and other organizations to participate in this effort to stop violence against women.   Men, young and old are encouraged to take the pledge to never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women.

In the wake of the recent school shootings in Colorado and Amish Country in Pennsylvania, the mission of White Ribbon becomes clearer.   Within a two week period, young women were targeted for violence because they were women.   These two acts were more than incidents of school violence, rather the attacks were well planned and women were the intended target.   Recognizing this, The White Ribbon Campaign is an avenue for men to become involved and join others in ending the violence.

In the year 2000, Plymouth County responded to the need to address violence against women in our own communities and initiated the Plymouth County White Ribbon Campaign.   The campaign encourages men and boys to play a vital role in constructing a healthier world, free of violence and founded on principles of equality and compassion.   For the last eight years it has given men an opportunity to become active supporters in this effort.   Events have been held at schools, town meetings, sporting events and local hospitals.

The Plymouth County White Ribbon Campaign is sponsored by V.E.T.O.
In Plymouth County, the mission of White Ribbon is expanding.   Abington, Bridgewater Raynham, Carver, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Norwell, Plymouth South, Rockland, and Whitman Hanson have all made a commitment to their communities and to their students to work towards ending violence against women.   High school boys in these ten schools have taken the pledge.

In 2008 & 2009, many schools have committed to have the White Ribbon Campaign in their schools.   V.E.T.O. supplies the materials needed to get started, if you are interested in becoming involved, email us at wrc.plymouth@gmail.com

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Fact Sheet:



THE PLEDGE

"I pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent
about violence against women."


ORIGIN

Originally founded in Canada following the 1989 massacre of 14 young women at Montreal´s L´Ecole Polytechnique, a handful of men recognized that as men, they have a responsibility to urge other men to speak out against men´s violence against women, as it could no longer be treated as merely a "women´s problem".  

These men organized the White Ribbon Campaign to ask men to take the pledge, wear a small white ribbon as a symbol of men´s opposition to men´s violence against women, and to enter into a dialogue about men´s violence against women.

PHILOSOPHY

While we are concerned about all forms of violence, our central focus is on men´s violence against women, whether it is physical or emotional abuse, financial control, sexual harassment, or other domineering behavior.

We do not think that men are naturally violent and we do not think that men are bad.
At the same time, we do think that many men have learned to express their anger or insecurity through violence and have come to believe that it is an acceptable way to control another person.   Yet the vast majority of men are caring human beings who can no longer remain silent.

The WRC offers a constructive means for men to speak out.

WHAT IS IT?

The WRC is a grass roots campaign whose goal is to foster a society free from any violence and in particular, men´s violence against women.

We encourage reflection and discussion that leads to personal and collective action among men.

We urge men to take responsibility to work with women to end men´s violence against women.

WHO SPONSORS IT?

The Plymouth County White Ribbon Campaign is sponsored by V.E.T.O. (Violence-free Education, Training, and Outreach), a collaborative to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

Members include Brockton Family and Community Resources, Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office, Plymouth County Sheriff´s Department, South Shore Women´s Resource Center and Womansplace Crisis Center.

Co-chairs of the Plymouth County White Ribbon Campaign are Plymouth County
District Attorney Tim Cruz, Plymouth County Sheriff Joe McDonald and Michael Pieroni, Esq.

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Get Involved

To learn more about becoming involved in the Plymouth County White Ribbon Campaign, please fill out the form below and a representative from the campaign will contact you.

First Name:


Last Name:


Address:


City:                State:                       Zip:



Email Address:


How I Can Help:

  I will wear the white ribbon and educate others about the significance of the white ribbon.

  I will identify other men who would be interested in wearing the ribbon and lending
     their support.

  I would be willing to attend and/or speak at Plymouth County
      White Ribbon Campaign events.

  I would like to hold a White Ribbon Campaign event.

  I would like to be added to the White Ribbon Campaign mailing list.

  I would like to write an article for the Plymouth County
      White Ribbon Campaign Newsletter.

  I would like to make a donation to the Plymouth County White Ribbon Campaign
      by monetary or in-kind donation.

  I have some other ideas, please contact me:
      Phone number:

       Comments:
       



            
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Launching a White Ribbon Campaign:





Organize

Organizing your own White Ribbon Campaign will involve bringing interested people together, deciding what you want to do, and then getting other men to help out.

You, and a few others, will have to take a leadership role to ensure that nothing falls between the cracks.    It´s always best if you can work together as a team.

One thing to remember is that the White Ribbon Campaign is aimed primarily at males and is organized primarily by males.   Women have played an important role getting White Ribbon Campaign activities going, but ultimately we feel it must be males who take responsibility for challenging the guys around us.

Although we don´t keep saying so in the paragraphs below, we are assuming that you will see the White Ribbon Campaign as a chance for men of all ages to get involved.

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Four Steps to Getting Started

Here are the four steps toward getting things going.
After that, once people are interested, the campaign should take on a life of its own.


  1. Talk to your friends about the White Ribbon Campaign.

    • If they sound interested, plan a small meeting to discuss organizing a campaign.
    • Think of others who you might want to invite to this small meeting.


  2. Decide what type of White Ribbon Campaign you want to organize.

    • Think about what type of campaign would best suit your community.
    • Think how you could integrate it with other activities.
    • The types of activities you choose will depend on the size, participation level,
      and schedules of your team members.


  3. Make arrangements to invite any and all interested men to your next meeting.

    • Once you have made some initial decisions about the types of activities your team will host, think about how many people you will need to help make your White Ribbon Campaign a reality.


  4. Hold a meeting.

    • At your meeting, you should explain the goals of the White Ribbon Campaign to team members, and then discuss your proposed action plan.
    • It is important to be realistic, take on a project that you can pull off successfully.
    • Try to set some concrete goals, deciding what each person will be responsible for.


Now it's time to go to work.


With your plans established, the key to success will be ensuring that everyone who is involved keeps in touch.   If someone can´t do something they said they would do, it is important to find another volunteer.   As anyone who has ever organized anything knows, there will always be a few unexpected difficulties.


Remember:  Communication is the "KEY"


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Attracting Media Coverage

As you decide what activities you want to hold, you might want to consider whether you´d like some coverage from your local media to further your efforts.  Media coverage often helps to spread the message of the White Ribbon Campaign, and attract community interest and recognition.

To plan a successful event you should set the date, time and location of your activity first.
Your next step would be to seek approval from your school administrators.   If your group is interested in receiving some publicity for your event, keep in mind that the media generally looks for stories that are: timely, out of the ordinary and highly visible.   Once approval is secured you should prepare a news release for distribution.   It might be helpful to appoint a publicity team to prepare the news release and identify where to send it.

Helpful hints for a successful event:
  • Timely

    • Hold an event as a means of commemorating a tragic incident,
      such as the massacre in Canada.
    • Create a theme for your event around holidays
      such as Valentine´s Day,  Mother´s Day, or Father´s Day.


  • Out of the Ordinary

    • Most often, what makes an event interesting is that it is both timely and unique.
    • While handing out White Ribbons to students would probably not attract media interest, getting an entire student body to sign a White Ribbon declaration might.


  • Highly Visual

    • Newspaper editors and television news directors look for stories that are visual.
    • For example, get your entire school or organization to wear white shirts and form the shape of a giant White Ribbon.
    • Involve a guest speaker, school displays, or students willing to be interviewed.
    • In the case of radio coverage, reporters look for stories that have a sound element that they can use as a background to tell the story.   They also are looking for someone interesting to be interviewed.


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Understanding the Problem of Men´s Violence Against Women



The White Ribbon Campaign provides a forum for people to reflect, discuss, and act on an issue that has a huge impact on all women in the U.S.:   Men´s violence against women.   It is time when males, young and old, working people and businessmen, parents and kids, clergy members, and farmers, from all religious and social backgrounds, join together and speak out on an issue that all to often is defined as an issue only for women.

Violence against women includes wife assault, date rape, sexual harassment, stalking, domineering and controlling behavior, unwanted sexual advances, demeaning sexist jokes, and murder.

Even though the problem most directly affects women and girls, it affects many males too, especially when they are young, witness or experience the effects of this violence in their lives.   White Ribbon Campaign activities are an opportunity for you to make a positive change in your community.
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Understanding the Problem:  Some Frequently asked Questions about Domestic Violence

1.  Why does it occur?

2.  Is violence against women a big problem in the United States?

3.  Has it always existed?

4.  What is its cause?

5.  How has violence been institutionalized by our laws?

6.  Where does most violence against women occur?

7.  What forms of violence affect young women?

8.  Why haven't schools been a friendly environment for girls?

9.  How does the media support violence?

10.  What about music, music videos, and advertising?

11.  How else does some pop culture feed into violence?

12.  What impact does violence have on the lives of boys and young men?





Why does it occur?

The majority of men are not physically violent against women.   But we live in a society that raises men to believe that aggression and violence are acceptable forms of self-expression.

Young boys are encouraged to demonstrate strength and dominance rather than empathetic, caring and nurturing attributes- characteristics that are devalued and seen as "feminine."

We forget that the strongest people are actually the most self-aware and caring.   Socializing processes teach men to equate masculinity with power and urge them to try to control others who have less power.

As a result, some men learn to express their masculinity by using verbal or physical violence against women or other men.

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Is violence against women a big problem in the United States?

Violence against women is everywhere.   It is the most common crime in our country.   It affects women from all age groups, religions, socioeconomic classes, and cultural backgrounds.   The threat or experience of violence is a daily reality for the majority of women.

A study by the Family Violence Prevention Fund revealed that:

  • A woman is abused every nine seconds in the U.S.


  • 1 out of every 2 women will be physically abused by their partner at least once


  • Almost 4 million American women were abused by their husbands or boyfriends in the last year alone


  • 4,000 women and children are beaten to death each year in the U.S.


  • Every day, girls and women experience sexual harassment at school, at work, and on the streets


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Has it always existed?

Research over the past one hundred years tells us there were once many societies with little or no violence against women, violence against children, or violence among men.

In fact, half of the tribal societies investigated by anthropologists showed little or no violence.

The fact that violence did not occur in all societies tells us that violence among humans is not genetic or biologically necessary, but is a result of the way we set up our societies.

These same researchers discovered that those societies with violence were those in which women were second class citizens.

Where there was equality between men and women, there was little or no violence.

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What is its cause?

Men´s violence against women has its roots in the ways we have historically regarded women and men.

For about nine or ten thousand years, men in most societies have held positions of privilege, while women have been cast in subservient roles.

In effect, women have been treated as property.   Until this century, women were denied such basic rights as the right to vote, to pursue a career, to own property, and to pursue higher education.

Even today, some countries still deny women the basic rights that Americans take for granted.

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How has violence been institutionalized by our laws?

The expression "rule of thumb" is believed to have come from a 1767 English law that entitled a man to hit his wife with a rod as long as it was no thicker than his thumb.

U.S. laws replicated British laws that permitted men to batter their wives.   In the U.S., the legal right of men to batter their wives was finally rescinded in 1871.

More recently, Canadian law, for example, did not recognize a husband raping his wife as a crime until 1983.   In some parts of the U.S. this is still not considered a crime.

While American law on the issue of violence against women has improved in recent years, rulings continue to be made that, under certain conditions, justify violent acts against women.

In some states marriage can be used as legal defense for the crimes of sexual assault.   It was not until April of 1998, for example, that a bill was passed in the State House of Missouri that would take away marriage as a legal defense for men who sexually assaulted their partners.

This is an underlying message being conveyed by the courts that a man is less accountable for his actions if he is married.

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Where does most violence against women occur?

We have images of creepy strangers lurking in alleys, but most violence against women is committed by a boyfriend, husband, other family member, or friend.   And it is in women´s own houses where they are most likely to experience violence.

We used to think that whatever happened in our homes was a private affair.   We´ve all heard phrases such as "a man´s home is his castle," and "father knows best," that reinforce ideas that a man should be the head of a family, the one who should be in control.

Such attitudes have encouraged some men to assert themselves through violence.   A combination of these attitudes, fear, and a lack of alternatives has encouraged some women to remain in abusive relationships.   Largely because of the work by women in recent years, we now realize it is everyone´s business if a woman or child or, for that matter, a man, is being abused in the privacy of their home.

There can be violence by women against their spouses and, of course, this is wrong as well, but it is much less common.   A study indicates that intimate violence is primarily a crime committed by men against women.   In 1996 females in the U.S. were the victims of 3 of every 4 incidents of intimate murder and about 85% of the victims of non-lethal violence.

In many cases women were violent only after enduring years of abuse by their partner.   This was true in the infamous Bobbitt case in the U.S. in which Lorena Bobbitt was beaten and raped for years before mutilating her husband.

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What forms of violence affect young women?

Unfortunately, all forms.   About one half of all sexual assaults happen to women between the ages of 16 and 21.   Most of these sexual assaults happen in dating situations.

Some girls (and some boys) are survivors of child sexual abuse- that is unwanted touching or sexual acts performed by a family member, relative, or adult caregiver, most commonly a male.

Most girls experience sexual harassment in school and on the streets.   Sexual harassment refers to any unwanted touching, comments, put downs, or unwanted sexual advances.

With few exceptions (such as pressure to have sex) no one action is always harassment: it depends upon the context.   If male and female friends always comment on each other´s clothes, that´s fine.   But if a man stares at a woman´s shirt and says, with a certain tone of voice, "nice shirt", it is harassment.

All this, and the surrounding culture that still has men in positions of social power, has a deep impact on young women.   American women continue to experience the so-called "glass ceiling" that both limits their opportunities for advancement and lowers their earning potential.

In spite of affirmative action programs, women are still at a social disadvantage and form a small minority in many professions.   In some professions and jobs the situation is improving, however, women in the U.S. still earn only 68 cents for every dollar earned by men.

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Why haven´t schools been a friendly environment for girls?

Historically, our education system has contributed to the unequal treatment of men and women.   At the turn of the last century, experts argued against allowing women to pursue education, believing that it was too strenuous for their supposedly delicate constitutions.

For example, in 1873, a Harvard professor stated that if a girl "puts as much force into her brain education as a boy, the brain or the special apparatus [that is, the reproductive system] will suffer."

Until recently, educational materials reinforced images of women as caregivers acting on emotions and men as breadwinners acting on intelligence and strength.   Primary level stories about Farmer Brown and his wife, for example, reinforced the notion of defining men in terms of their work and accomplishments, while defining women in terms of their relationships.

To this day, study after study has shown that teachers call on boys more than girls and, that boys take more of the "air time" of classes than girls.

Schools remain an environment that usually still gives more attention to boys´ achievements: In most schools boys´ sports receive much more funding and attention than girls´ sports.

Schools also remain a physical space that boys control: In the hallways and playgrounds of some schools, girls are routinely put down, degraded, and harassed.   And many girls still experience harassment from certain male teachers who make comments about their looks.

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How does the media support violence?

The mass media plays a significant role in the way we perceive and respond to violence against women in our society.   There are many things that we all enjoy about TV and movies.   But at the same time, we often receive messages that encourage violence:

  • Violence is portrayed as the best way to resolve a conflict.   The main characters in action shows and movies regularly use violence as a means to solve a problem or conflict- alternative solutions are rarely explored.


  • Violent acts are glorified and presented as "heroic".   As such, these acts have positive results and are even seen as sexy.


  • Violence is portrayed as a "masculine" behavior.   Violent, unfeeling, and aggressive characters are portrayed as the epitome of masculinity.   The masculinity of such characters (particularly if they have bizarrely large muscles) is established by the number of violent acts they commit.


  • The media suggests that some women enjoy being sexually dominated.   Female characters are portrayed as being "turned on" by "masculine" aggressors who impose their sexual needs on them.   This rape myth promotes the idea that "no"means "yes"- that if a man forces a woman into sex, she will end up enjoying it.


At the very least, such messages reinforce and perpetuate the societal myths, attitudes, and stereotypes based upon which violence against women is tolerated.   The underlying notion is that women are not only less than equal to men, but are contemptible objects for men´s use.   This combination of inequality and contempt fosters attitudes which accept violence against women.

The extent to which this stuff influences guys´ behavior is subject to a lot of debate.   Some young men watch a lot of violent movies but have never been violent themselves.   In other cases, however, it desensitizes people to violence and encourages actual violent behavior.

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What about music, music videos, and advertising?

Music brings us enormous pleasure.   But in some music videos, as in some advertising, women are depicted as mere objects for male sexual gratification.   As objects, they are void of thought, feeling, and individuality.   Only certain parts of their body are important (and certainly not their minds).   The ideal woman is presented with being overly thin (but with very large breasts).

Increasingly, men´s bodies are being used to sell products and symbolize power and glamour.   Because of this, many boys and men are now beginning to understand what their female peers have been telling them.   It makes us feel lousy about ourselves because it sets up an impossible standard for most of us to attain without steroids and surgery.

But there is a difference: while media images of hunky men might be dehumanizing, they do not result (as they do for women) in sexual victimization.

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How else does some pop culture feed into violence?



For one thing, in some media images, relationships escalate rapidly from attraction to sex.   There is no time spent on relationship building- the key to any healthy, secure, and fun relationship.   As well, women are sometimes portrayed as wanting sex even when they communicate otherwise.

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What impact does violence have on the lives of boys and young men?

When males receive privileges within a society that values "masculine" traits, they suffer from the effects of stereotyping and sexism.   Men are forced to deny their sensitivity, compassion, empathy, and creativity- qualities inherent in all human beings- or face ridicule.

As well, men´s violence is not just against women.   There is a tremendous amount of violence among boys and among men.   Violence is incorporated into our modern sports and this violence has ruined the careers of many promising athletes.

Many young men are verbally abused or physically attacked if they do not fit the "strong male" stereotype.   And many young men are verbally abused or physically attacked if they are gay or are perceived to be so.   (And in the U.S., even though some people don´t like it that other people are gay or lesbian, attacking someone who is, is a crime).

Finally, many boys and young men are emotionally, physically, and sexually abused by adults.   The abuser might be a father or an adult in a position of responsibility and power.   All such abuse is a crime.

In other words, men´s violence against women is one terrible part of a sexist society that has discriminated against girls and women.   Inherently, many males who are violent or sexually harass females, are also violent and abusive against other males.

(All statistics used have been obtained from either the U.S. Department of Justice,
the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,
or the Canadian Status of Women Report- The War Against Women.)


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Answering Questions:

You will get a lot of support when organizing White Ribbon activities.
But there will be some people who will be hostile to your ideas.


You might want to practice answering typical questions with a friend or at a meeting.
Once you´ve found a comfortable way to answer a question, it will be easier when you are in public.

Acquaint yourself with a few statistics from this kit.   These are based on many studies that show how serious the problem is.

Answering the Legitimate Question:

There will be many legitimate and important concerns.

  • Always listen with attention and interest.


  • Remember that the purpose of any encounter, whether the person is very sympathetic or a bit hostile, is not to "win" an argument.   It is to listen to other people´s concerns, to correct inaccurate ideas, and encourage males to get involved.   Try to be friendly and positive, and try not to get defensive.


Answering the Hostile Question:

There will be times when someone will be hostile.

  • In most cases you´ll come off looking better if you don´t sink to his (or her) level.  
    Stay cool.   But be firm


  • Don´t let that person dominate.   Don´t get into an endless debate.   If it is a class discussion or meeting, after he/she has expressed his/her concern say, "thank you" and say something like, "Let´s see what other people have to say"; or even better, pose a question yourself for others to discuss.


  • In many such encounters, the real people you want to reach are those listening to the discussion.   Being firm, yet calm and polite, will serve you well.   Challenge what the person says, but don´t be insulting.


Responses to some typical hostile questions:

"You´re completely exaggerating the problem".

Recent studies tell us that the problem of violence against women is bigger than anyone thought.

Studies indicate that 1 in 2 women in the U.S. have experienced sexual or physical violence since the age of 18.   In addition, most women experience sexual harassment.   Twenty-nine percent of women (almost 1 in 3) who have been married to or who have lived with a man have experienced violence from that man.

"I´m sick of hearing about violence against women.   Don´t you care about violence against men?"

I´m very concerned.   But remember, almost all violence against males is committed by other males.   There is little physical assault of men by women and studies show that in most cases a woman is responding to past or current abuse by that man.   If a girl is violent against a guy, that´s wrong.   But all in all, the vast majority of violence in the U.S. among teenagers or adults is committed by males.

"You guys are just anti-male, you´re male bashing."

No, I like being a man.   I just don´t like some of the things that too many guys are doing or saying.   Those things are hurting the women I care about.   I´m not anti-male because I think you don´t have to be sexist or violent to be a real man.

"Just because someone cracks a joke about women, doesn´t mean he´s a rapist."

That´s true.   But sexist jokes, put-downs, pin-ups, harassment in the hallway, all help create an atmosphere in which women are degraded, males learn to be in control, and violence against women is socially acceptable.

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What Every Man Can Do...

...To Help End Men´s Violence Against Women.

LISTEN TO WOMEN...LEARN FROM WOMEN

The path begins with listening.  Who knows better about violence against women than women who experience it?
  • Studies tell us that in most counties 50-100% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence.
Learn about violence by asking a woman who trusts you, how violence has affected her life.   Then, if she feels comfortable to talk, sit back and listen.  

Your role isn´t to challenge her on the details, nor debate whether something really should have bothered her or not.   It is to listen.   Simply trust that if she tells you something hurt her,
then it did hurt her.

And turn to your local women´s organizations.   They have a wealth of accumulated experience and knowledge.   Talk to them.   Read their publications.   Contribute financially.
Learn from them.

LEARN ABOUT THE PROBLEM

Violence against women includes physical and sexual assault, sexual harassment, psychological abuse, or emotional abuse.   Not all violence leaves visible scars.   Emotional violence includes subjection to demeaning jokes, domineering forms of behavior, and sexual harassment.

Some forms of violence have a greater physical or emotional impact than others.   But all forms of violence contribute to the very real fear and suffering that women in our society endure.   The basic rights that most men enjoy- safety in their homes, the ability to go out at night, a job free of harassment- are a source of fear for women in much of the world.

The fear is greatest in women´s own homes.   A common myth is that most violence is committed by strangers.   In fact, women are most at risk from men they know- husbands, boyfriends, fathers, relatives, employers, and caregivers.

Most men love and care about women.   And yet frightening numbers commit acts of violence against the women they say they love.   It occurs throughout the world, among the rich, poor, and middle class, and among those of every nationality, religion, and race.

LEARN WHY SOME MEN ARE VIOLENT

Men are not naturally violent.   There have been societies with little or no violence.   Studies over the past century have found that half of the tribal societies studied had little or no violence against women, against children, or among men.   Furthermore, even today, in many countries the majority of men are not physically violent.   Violence is something that some men learn.   Men's violence is a result of the way many men learn to express their masculinity in relationships with women, children, and other men.   Many men learn to think of power as the ability to dominate and control the people and the world around them.   This way of thinking makes the use of violence acceptable to many men.

Most individual acts of men´s violence are pathetic attempts to assert control over women, children, or other men.   Paradoxically, most violent acts by men are a sign of weakness, insecurity, and lack of self-esteem combined with a capacity for physical or verbal domination and a feeling that they should be superior and in control.

Women are not immune from committing acts of violence.   Women´s groups have spoken out against the problem of violence against children, which is committed by both women and men, although most sexual abuse of children is by men.   Women can too be violent against men or other women, but it is far less common than violence by men.

In many violent incidents, men have been drinking alcohol.   This might be because alcohol unleashes feelings, fears, rage, and insecurities that some men, if otherwise cut off from their feelings, cannot handle.

But alcohol doesn´t cause violence.   Genes don´t cause violence.   Ultimately, violence is the attempt by some men to dominate women, adults´ attempts to dominate children, and some men´s attempts to dominate other men or groups of men.   Violence is a way of asserting power, privilege, and control.

WEAR A WHITE RIBBON

Change will occur if we each accept personal responsibility to make sure it happens.   As men who care about the women in our lives, we can take responsibility to help ensure that women live free from fear and violence.   Wearing a white ribbon is your personal pledge never to commit violence against women.   It is a personal pledge not to condone acts of violence, not to make excuses for perpetrators of violence, and not to think any woman "asks for it".

It is a pledge not to remain silent.   It is a pledge to challenge the men around us to act to end violence.

Wearing a ribbon provokes discussion, debate, and soul-searching among the men around us.   The ribbon is a catalyst for discussion.   It is a catalyst for change.

CHALLENGE SEXIST LANGUAGE AND JOKES THAT DEGRADE WOMEN

Sexist jokes and language help create a climate where forms of violence and abuse have too long been accepted.   Words that degrade women reflect a society that has historically placed women in a second class position.   By reflecting this reality they once again put women "in their place" even if that isn´t the intention.

One of the most difficult things for men is to learn to challenge other men- to challenge sexist language- to challenge men who talk lightly of violence against women.   And to challenge men who engage in violence.

LEARN TO IDENTIFY AND OPPOSE SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND
VIOLENCE IN YOUR WORKPLACE, SCHOOL, AND FAMILY

Sexual harassment refers to unwanted sexual advances or sexually oriented remarks or behavior that are unwelcome by another person.   Flirting and joking are fine if they are consensual and wanted.   But sexual harassment poisons the environment.

Harassment is ultimately about inequalities of power.   The same action done by a woman might not bother a man because, in general, our society has not given women power over men.

Men can join women in opposing sexual harassment by supporting efforts in our workplaces and schools to create a healthy and productive environment.

SUPPORT LOCAL WOMEN´S PROGRAMS

Around the world, dedicated women have created support services for women who are survivors of men´s violence: safe houses for battered women, rape crisis centers, counseling services, and legal aid clinics.   Women escaping violent situations depend on these services.

These and other women´s organizations deserve men´s support and our financial backing.   That is why we encourage local White Ribbon Campaigns to raise money for local women´s programs.

EXAMINE HOW YOUR OWN BEHAVIOR MIGHT CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROBLEM

If you´ve ever been physically violent against a woman, if you´ve committed sexual assault, if you´ve hit, pushed, kicked, or threatened your girlfriend or spouse, then you have been part of the problem.

If this happened long ago, admit what you did was wrong and make amends if possible.   But if such behavior has any chance of continuing, then you urgently need to get help getting to the root of your problem.   Don´t wait until it happens again.   Please act today.

Many men will never be physically or sexually violent.   But let´s examine ways we might try to control women: Do we dominate conversations?   Do we put them down?   Do we limit their activities?

Whether or not you´ve ever been violent, all men must take responsibility for ending all forms of violence.

WORK TOWARD LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS

Ending violence against women won´t happen overnight.   Real solutions are truly long-term solutions.   This is because men´s violence against women is rooted in inequalities between men and women, and in the way men learn to be men.

Legal changes to combat men´s violence against women (such as laws against rape and battering) are very important.    The police and courts must diligently enforce such laws.

But this is not enough.   Let´s work together to change our attitudes and behavior.   Let´s challenge the institutions that perpetuate inequality between men and women.

Let´s help men be better men by getting rid of our suits of armor, that is, attitudes which equate masculinity with the power to control.   Let´s make positive changes in our relationships with women, children, and other men.   Let´s involve men as caregivers and nurturers of the young.

Changes in attitude, behavior, and institutions take time.   And so we must look at how we raise future generations.   We must teach our children by example that all forms of violence are unacceptable, and that for boys to become men, they do not need to control or dominate women, children or other men.

GET INVOLVED WITH THE WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN´S EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS

The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is the largest effort in the world of men working to end men´s violence against women.

The WRC is a grass-roots effort, relying mainly on volunteers.   The purpose of the campaign is for men to take responsibility for working to end men´s violence against women.

Aside from organizing a WRC signing, local supporters can do other things throughout the year.   They can give talks in schools, communities, and workplaces; raise money for women´s groups; organize special events to support positive roles for men; talk to young people about building healthy relationships; start a local White Ribbon Campaign; and financially support the work of WRC and victim services.

We encourage you to contact us today at wrc.plymouth@gmail.com to receive information on starting up a White Ribbon Campaign Team in your community.

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Say Something:

Challenge Sexist Jokes and Sexist Language

Your buddy says:

"I have a good joke for you".

You get a little smile on your face waiting to have a good laugh but instead you hear a joke that degrades women.   It describes women as incompetent, weak, constantly hysterical, or as mere sexualized body parts.   Many jokes speak of horrible violence such as rape in a supposed "lighthearted" manner.

That frozen smile is still on your face but you feel very uncomfortable inside and you know that this just does not feel right.   You want to say something, but the rest of the guys seem to be enjoying it.   They have smiles on their faces and you don´t want to be the downer of the party.

But maybe, just maybe some of them are thinking the same thing as you are and that smile on their face is just as uncomfortable as yours.

What can you say?

Here is a suggestion:

"Hey man, that´s actually not very funny".

Too many guys joke about rape when rape is a traumatic event and a violent crime.
Joking about it kind of makes us forget what it really is, and how serious it is.

There is a good chance that someone in the room knows someone close to them who has been raped or sexually assaulted.
  • Statistics say that 1 in 3 girls will be sexually assaulted by their 18th birthday.
You may be surprised of the positive support you get.  If you don't receive support and are instead told to "lighten up", you can simply say, "I still don´t find it funny.  Would you be as comfortable telling a joke about people of color or Jews?"

This is especially effective if there are men from different cultures and backgrounds in the room.

Although, don´t be surprised if many of them tell you "you don´t have a sense of humor".   But at least you´ve planted the seed with these guys letting them know where you stand.   Challenging guys about this issue may be a difficult thing to do but it´s worth it, knowing you are doing your part to create a world where ending violence against women is taken seriously and sexism and violence are no longer a laughing matter.

Challenge A Man Who Is Abusing His Partner

If you knew your friend was abusing his girlfriend what would you do?   Many men have told us at the White Ribbon Campaign that they would want to say something but wouldn´t know where to start.   Challenging someone about abuse is never easy and there is no one way to go about it.   Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Before confronting any man about his abusive behavior, keep in mind that this may aggravate him to the point that he will take it out in his partner.   The best thing to do is to talk to his partner about what you would like to do.   Make sure she has a safety plan in case he was to become abusive again.   Inform her of her options such as the availability of local women shelters and crises lines.   Does she have friends or family to stay with?   Discuss your concerns with her and let her tell you how you can be the best help to her.    If you ever believe that she may be in immediate danger, you should consider calling the police and/ or help her find a safe place to stay.

Don´t become hostile or aggressive since that will likely put the abuser on the defensive.   Remember that you are trying to talk to him about non-violence, so the last thing you want to do is follow his lead.   You can simply let him know that what he is doing is not right and that it is really hurting someone he cares about.

You may find that he will react in two different ways.   He may deny the whole thing, make excuses (such as being drunk), try to blame her, or become angry at the insinuation that he was abusive.   Or, on the other hand, he may tell you that he feels ashamed of his behavior.   He may ask for help in ensuring that it does not happen again or he may just want to talk about it with you.   When listening to him, it is important never to excuse his behavior but to remind him that you are not judging him as a person, but that you cannot allow his behavior to continue unchecked.   Let him know that he has control over his behavior and what he does about it.

She kept saying "no".

If your friend tells you how he "convince" his date to sleep with him, even though she kept saying "no", you have a perfect opportunity to say something.

Any unwanted touching or sexual act committed upon another is sexual assault.   You may get the same reaction as described above in the physical abuse situation but still you must say something.   You should tell your friend that what he has described to you is sexual assault, which is illegal, and that he must be accountable for his actions.

You may suggest to him that he seek professional help and to cooperate with the authorities if they become involved.    Again, this is not an easy thing to do, and not one to be taking lightly.   But imagine that girl or woman was your future wife, your daughter, sister, niece, or mother.   You would want someone else to say something, wouldn´t you?

Don´t Support Programming That Portrays Women In A Negative Light

Another way of saying something is to refuse to support programming that portrays women in a negative light or refuses to acknowledge the seriousness of violence against women.

Write letters to the editor of a newspaper who seems to dismiss the importance of funding women´s shelters.   Write the TV network executives letting them know that you will not watch programming that portrays women in stereotypical roles such as unintelligent sexual playthings, "bitchy" corporate go-getters, and submissive "man trappers" only looking to snare a man.

Write to advertising agencies to let them know that sexually objectifying women to sell products is irresponsible and degrading.

Always Do It For the Right Reason

Always remember that you are not speaking out because you are a hero, or because you are saving a woman with chivalry, or because you want to be patted on the back.

You are speaking out because it is the right thing to do and it is a meaningful way to do your part in ending violence against women.

Say Something About Yourself

When thinking about putting an end to violence against women, remember the importance of taking a look at yourself and how you view and treat women.

Do you share household duties?   Do you share childcare responsibilities?   Do you support equal work for equal pay?   Do you dominate conversations with women or are you a good listener as well?   Do you believe there is ever a time when a woman "asked for" or deserved abuse?   Do you support your local women´s shelter?   Do you ever use degrading language when referring to women?   Do you view women as mere sex objects?

Take some time to talk with the women in your life and ask them what their thoughts are on the issue of violence against women.   Most of all, listen to them-  truly listen.

The best way to help influence other men about ending violence against women is to set an example and then spread the word.

And finally, support other men who are working to make a difference and are standing up for what is right.

Let them know that they are part of a larger community of caring men, since many men stay quiet simply because they think they will be alone in their stand.

White Ribbon Campaign



We welcome all men, who are serious about taking a stand against violence toward women, to use the White Ribbon Campaign as a vehicle to help create positive change for all men and boys and to make the world safer for women and girls.

Please e-mail us at: wrc.plymouth@gmail.com if you would like more information about joining the campaign.

For any further information please contact the following members:

Brockton Family & Community Resources

Contact: Susan Tower
18 Newton Street
Brockton, Ma. 02301
(508) 583-5200
Email: Susan.Tower@bfcrinc.org



Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office

Contact: Tamara Dzialo
32 Belmont Street
Brockton, Ma, 02301
Tel: (508) 894-6312
Fax: (508) 427-1799
Email: Tamara.Dzialo@state.ma.us


Plymouth County Sheriff´s Department

Contact: Liisa Budge-Johnson
24 Long Pond Rd.
Plymouth, Ma. 02360
(508) 830-6200 Email: LBJohnson@pcsdma.org


South Shore Women´s Resource Center

Contact: Marianne Shean
P.O. Box 6237
North Plymouth, Ma. 02362
Tel: (781) 582-0078
Fax: (781)582-0170
Email: Germanms@aol.com


Womansplace Crisis Center

950 West Chestnut Street
Brockton, Ma. 02301
Tel: (508) 588-8255
Fax: (508) 588-0034



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