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 handful 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.
White Ribbon began in Australia in 2003 as part of UNIFEM (now UN Women), formally becoming a Foundation in 2007.