Prevent men’s violence against women

Archive for September, 2018

‘White Ribbon Approved Training Provider’ initiative launched

White Ribbon Australia is changing our approach to engagement with providers of training for organisations participating in the Workplace Accreditation Program. From the 1st October 2018, White Ribbon will be introducing White Ribbon Approved Training Provider Status. This launch will instill a process of ongoing quality checking of branded White Ribbon training to ensure high standards of design and delivery are maintained.

In the years since the program began, over 80 training organisations have delivered training to workplaces participating on the program. The official list of White Ribbon Approved Training Providers in Australia and each state can be viewed here.

“Training providers have never had the chance to label their training as “White Ribbon Training” before,” said Tracy McLeod Howe, CEO at White Ribbon Australia. “It will give them an unbeatable competitive advantage and position them as leaders in the workplace training space.”

For more information about this new initiative, or to come on board as an Approved Training Provider, contact the White Ribbon Workplaces team.

This policy statement represents the organisational position of White Ribbon Australia. It does not represent the individual opinions and views of our stakeholders, including, but not limited to, our Ambassadors, Advocates, Partners and staff members.

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The importance of supporting men through positive fatherhood

Ron Mitchell here again, Fatherhood Program Coordinator at White Ribbon Australia. I hope you enjoyed my last blog about modern dads. I really enjoyed writing it and sharing a bit about my life as a young dad.

My time at the Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory

I want to now talk about a different aspect of my life. My work life.

Prior to leaving Darwin in December 2017, I was the Program Manager at the Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory (MCNT) based in Darwin. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Australia’s top end as a practitioner and advocate in the multicultural sector.

For twelve years, I was committed to quality service provision and best practice project management. I worked with colleagues in Darwin’s collaborative community services sector to identify and address the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals and families within the Australian multicultural community.

I learned that resettlement is a multi-layered and long-term process and that recently-arrived migrant and refugee families continue to experience challenges with successful resettlement in Australia many years after arrival.

Migrant men and their challenges

From my time at the MCNT, I learned a lot about perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood from the experiences of recently-arrived migrant men settling in Australia. For many of the men I worked with, the resettlement experience was disempowering – particularly with long-term unemployment (when they expected to be the primary ‘breadwinners’), changing family dynamics (their wives gaining a sense of independence through receiving Centrelink benefits), and intergenerational conflict from their children becoming ‘Westernised’ and no longer respecting their authority.*

For many men being resettled, there was a clear division between the experiences in their home countries and their new experiences of Australian life. There was a constant tension between maintaining traditional cultural practices and parenting styles while adhering to the demands of a new society. I saw these issues create ongoing challenges for maintaining good relationships with their wives and children, often leading to alcohol abuse and even domestic violence.

As service providers in Darwin, my colleagues and I at MCNT were very concerned about the impacts of the resettlement process on migrant men and their families. So in November 2017, in partnership with my colleagues from the community services sector in Darwin and consultation with community leaders, I co-founded the first ever Multicultural Men’s Group in Darwin. The group explored many issues of concern for migrant men including the lack of information about living in Australia, competitiveness for employment, health and wellbeing, and respectful relationships within the family unit.

Positive masculinity

The entrenched patriarchy of society has reinforced the attitudes, behaviours and violence-supported social norms of male dominance and privilege. Not just for newly arrived migrants, but for all Australians born and raised.

I believe it’s so important that we, as a society, start building a positive vision of masculinity. I can see it starting to happen in the men around me. Many fathers are taking on more equal care-giving responsibilities and breaking down the gendered stereotypes that they have been told to traditionally follow.

The importance of fatherhood

It is estimated internationally that about 80% of men become biological fathers during their lifetimes.

The birth or adoption of a child is a milestone for men and provides an opportunity for men as fathers to review their lives and often generates the motivation to take greater responsibility, and develop stronger and more respectful relationships.

Supporting dads as they go on this journey of caregiving, and empowering them to reject the traditional roles or “boxes” that hold them back was one of the aims the Multicultural Men’s Group addressed. Now I’m proud to be part of White Ribbon’s Fatherhood Program, building on the aims and goals I first set out to address in the Northern Territory.

Fatherhood is truly a time of transformation that inspires men to adopt a caring masculinity and act as positive agents for social change. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for the dads of Australia.

Author Ron Mitchell is White Ribbon Australia’s Fatherhood Program Coordinator, a proud husband and father of two.

*I must openly state that there is ultimately no excuse for any form of men’s violence and abuse against women, and that the perceptions within this article relate to the experiences of some migrant men I encountered in Australia sharing their personal perceptions of their resettlement.

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Statement: The cold case of Lyn Dawson

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Lynette Dawson.

We believe there should be justice for Lynette, her family and friends. Not knowing what happened to her 36 years ago and the circumstances leading to her disappearance must be extremely difficult for her family to comprehend, and we support all efforts to resolve this.

As a global social movement, we aim to eliminate all forms of men’s violence against women and children and locally, focus on creating an Australian society where all women can live safety, free from violence and abuse.

Whilst we can’t comment on the case and judgements made previously by the DPP and the police, we do hope that justice can be served and those who are responsible are held to account.

Ends

For anyone needing support please phone 1800RESPECT for sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling – 1800 737 732

For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14

If you are in danger, please call the Police – 000

This policy statement represents the organisational position of White Ribbon Australia. It does not represent the individual opinions and views of our stakeholders, including, but not limited to, our Ambassadors, Advocates, Partners and staff members.

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White Ribbon Day 2018 is moving to 23 November

From 2018 onwards, White Ribbon Day will move from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to the Friday before 25 November. 

This year, White Ribbon Day will be on Friday 23 November. 

White Ribbon Day will continue to be a time for the community to come together and stand up, speak out and act to end men’s violence against women and children.

White Ribbon also looks forward to supporting the United Nations UNiTE to End Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism campaigns which are held internationally from 25 November – 10 December each year.

Why the change?

White Ribbon Australia’s single objective is to eliminate all forms of men’s violence against women and children.

White Ribbon Day is the most important day of the year in our movement’s work. This isn’t changing. It’s a BIG day – but so is the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. So we’ve asked ourselves, why have two BIG days of action on the same day? Why not separate them, to have maximum impact from the work we are all doing to end men’s violence against women and children?

Over the past 12 months there has been a significant spotlight and global outcry in response to the sheer magnitude of sexual harassment and other forms of violence that women everywhere suffer, every day.

Moving the day will make sure that the hard work we do together on White Ribbon Day has the greatest impact possible, and will also support the work of the international community on November 25 in our common goal.

Because we know that together every community can end violence against women and children.

 

This policy statement represents the organisational position of White Ribbon Australia. It does not represent the individual opinions and views of our stakeholders, including, but not limited to, our Ambassadors, Advocates, Partners and staff members.

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Are you a modern dad?

By way of introduction, I’m Ron Mitchell the Fatherhood Program Coordinator within the Community Development & Engagement Team at White Ribbon Australia. As background, I am a happily married man and the proud father of two adult sons (born 21 months apart), who I like to believe are now fine men. To a large extent, my views of involved fatherhood were formed and evolved during the early 1990s when my sons were still infants.

Evolving definition

You might have seen our launch of our new Fatherhood Program over the weekend to celebrate Father’s Day 2018. Today I wanted to discuss the role of fathers and father-figures as I’ve seen and experienced during my time as a father and share an anecdote with you about an experience with one of my sons. I also invite you all reading this, to share your perspectives, experiences and anecdotes with us on social media. Use #whiteribbon #fatherhood to let us know your stories.

As we’re currently seeing in contemporary Australian society, the role of ‘father’, the concept of ‘family’, and the expression of masculinity and gender roles within families are becoming more socially diverse and broadly defined than in the past. The term ‘father’ now includes a range of males who function in a caregiver role for children.

In addition to biological fathers, there are adoptive fathers, foster fathers, stepfathers, and a range of relatives and friends who, as social fathers, play significant fathering roles in the lives of children. I think you’d agree that positive male role models in every form are essential in shaping the lives of young kids. That’s the remit of White Ribbon Australia and our new Fatherhood Program.

My story

By all accounts I was effectively a stay-at-home dad in the early 1990s, although I had not heard of the term at the time. I was at University undertaking studies towards a Bachelor’s Degree and I was the primary caregiver for our sons. My wife was working full-time to support my studies. My infant sons were enrolled in the University child care centre. I recall I took my sons to a playgroup a few times near where we lived. I was certainly the only man there at that time amongst all the other female caregivers. Somehow we fitted in okay, although it was still a social stigma at that time for a man to attend a playgroup.

I recall very well one time when I arrived at the child care centre. To my alarm I found my older son wheeling around a toy pram with dolly passengers.

I asked the educator, “What are you doing to my son?”

She replied, “One day he is going to be a father”.

Her comment really put me in my place.

Upon reflection, the child care centre was quite progressive for the time, and in their own way was normalising male caregiving for the children in their care. My son was probably modelling my own behaviour as a caring father.

I often wonder how many other dads have had experiences similar to mine. I think it’s a good time now for modern dads and social dads to celebrate special moments with the kids in their care. And to reflect on their impact on the small humans whose lives they help shape.

Author Ron Mitchell is White Ribbon Australia’s Fatherhood Program Coordinator, a proud husband and father of two.

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