Did you know White Ribbon Day began as a male-led movement in Canada, in 1991?
Sparked by a student at the University of Montreal after the tragic massacre of 14 of his female peers, a group of men banded together to raise awareness of violence against women.
Now in more than 57 countries, including Australia, White Ribbon Day is pervasive. A Navy Seahawk helicopter even flew over Sydney Harbour in the day’s honour. This year, with the government having cut funding to women’s shelters, the broadcasting of the White Ribbon message is literally a matter of life and death.
The early-childhood education industry emerged amidst the cacophony of voices calling for an end to male-perpetrated domestic violence.
Early Childhood Australia (appropriately) focused on children:
— Early Childhood Aust (@EarlyChildAust) November 25, 2016
Shadow NSW Minister for Early Childhood Education Kate Washington shared a poignant reminder of domestic violence devastation:
— Kate Washington (@KateRWashington) November 24, 2016
The movement does have its detractors. Feminists such as Nina Funell have underscored the rhetoric/action divide, and claimed that the day absolves politicians of responsibility for implementing measures to curb violence, whilst encouraging laypeople to engage in slacktivism.
Social commentator Bettina Arndt thinks the movement oversimplifies the causes of domestic violence: “What started out as a sensible campaign to raise money for an important cause – providing support for battered women – has morphed into a huge propaganda industry determined to promote a simplistic male-blaming perspective on this complex social issue,” she wrote in a blog post earlier this year.
Contrary to the White Ribbon movement’s view – that the patriarchy is solely responsible – Arndt believes violence germinates in alcohol, mental illness and poverty.Do you have an idea for a story?
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