White Ribbon Day was created by a handful of Canadian men in 1991 on the second anniversary of one man's massacre of 14 women in Montreal. They began the White Ribbon campaign to urge men to speak out against violence against women.
In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly declared November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) and the White Ribbon has become the symbol for the day.
From 2000, the Commonwealth Government Office for Women ran awareness activities on the International Day, and, in 2003, the Australian branch of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM, began a partnership with men and men's organisations to make this a national campaign.Ten thousand white ribbons were distributed this year.
In 2004, 200,000 ribbons were worn by men and women across Australia - men at work; men and women in all Australian police forces; men in national and local sporting matches and organisations; men in the media; men and women in politics; men in the defence forces; men and women in capital cities and in rural and regional Australia.
In 2005 the campaign grew even stronger and almost 250,000 ribbons were distributed across the country and beyond.
The 2006 campaign is already gaining strength and we expect to have at least 150 ambassadors Australia wide, more events across the country and more organisations and individuals participating. The ribbons will again be assembled by the Sobhana Foundation in Phnom Penh.
Wear a White Ribbon
Wearing a white ribbon can make a difference because:
- it is a visible sign that the wearer does not support or condone the use of violence against women or children.
- most men do not use violence. Most men treat women and girls with respect. But a minority of men treat women and girls with contempt and violence, and it is up to the majority of men to help create a culture in which this is unacceptable.
- men, as community leaders and decision-makers, can play a key role in helping stop violence against women.
- men can speak out and step in when male friends and relatives insult or attack women.
- women can show their support for men and their commitment to work in partnership with men to end violence against women.
More Information about White Ribbon Day: