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False information about White Ribbon does nothing to prevent violence against women.

Earlier this week, Miranda Devine and Bettina Arndt spoke on 2GB about White Ribbon Australia. Preventing violence against women is not well served by sensational journalism that spreads falsehoods about the White Ribbon social change movement. Publication of information that is blatantly wrong is a perpetuation of attitudes and behaviours that fuel misunderstandings and turn myths into seeming truths. In order to clarify these false statements, we have put together key information about White Ribbon. These are the facts.

The misconception:

  • That White Ribbon receives a wealth of funding from the government.

The reality:

  • White Ribbon Australia receives less than 10% of our funding from a mix of local, state, and federal governments. We are 90% funded by the community, relying on donations and fundraising to drive social change, and challenge attitudes and behaviours that can lead to men’s violence against women. We deliberately avoid reliance on government funding so that critical funds can be directed towards tertiary services.

The misconception:

  • That White Ribbon hates men.

The reality:

  • White Ribbon is not anti-men and clearly states that only some men are violent and abusive towards women. White Ribbon is anti-men’s violence against women. We strive to realise a nation that respects women, in which every woman lives in safety free from all forms of men’s abuse. We work to achieve gender equality, reframe masculinity, combat patriarchy and foster social justice and the right of all to live a life free from violence.

 The misconception:

  • That White Ribbon is a domestic violence prevention charity.

The reality:

  • White Ribbon is a not-for-profit that seeks to end men’s violence against women. Whilst domestic violence makes up a significant percentage of such violence, it can also include a range of different types of abuse that are not in the home – they may be in the workplace, in schools, on the street or in other social settings.

The misconception:

  • White Ribbon does not care about front-line services such as shelters, or other forms of tertiary prevention.

The reality:

  • White Ribbon’s focus is on primary prevention – stopping the problem before it starts, by challenging the deeply ingrained attitudes, social norms and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women. By stopping violence before it occurs, we hope that in the future there will be no need for tertiary services for victims and survivors of violence. We advocate for support of and funds to support the critical work of frontline services.

The misconception:

  • White Ribbon is simply an awareness campaign designed to make people feel like they are making a difference by just wearing a ribbon.

The reality:

  • The wearing of a ribbon symbolises support for the prevention of violence against women. Understanding the issue and breaking the silence is made possible through public awareness campaigns. White Ribbon also drives prevention programs in schools – respectful relationships education; and in workplaces – workplace accreditation; through training and e-Learning, providing resources to and supporting the community; and all based on research.

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