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How did White Ribbon start?

On the afternoon of 6 December 1989, a man walked into the École Polytechnique University in Montreal and massacred 14 of his female classmates. His actions traumatised a nation and brought the issue of violence against women to the forefront of our collective consciousness.

Two years later, a group of men in Toronto decided they had a responsibility to speak out about and work to stop men’s violence against women. As a result, the White Ribbon Campaign in Canada became an annual awareness-raising event, held between 25 November and 6 December.

In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly declared 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, with a white ribbon as its iconic symbol.

A network of Men Against Sexual Assault (MASA) groups brought the White Ribbon Campaign to Australia in 1992. For approximately 3 years, MASA ran awareness raising events and activities including "White Ribbon Week". From 2000-2002, The Office of the Status of Women ran White Ribbon events and UN Women took up the campaign in 2003. In 2007, the White Ribbon Foundation formed, and in 2013 it was renamed White Ribbon Australia.