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In response to Eurydice’s death: What can men do?

Prevention is the first step to ending violence against women.

Tips for men

White Ribbon Australia’s CEO, Libby Davies, reminds all Australians, especially men of all ages, that there are practical actions which they can take, behaviours they can change, and support that they can provide to reduce all forms of violence towards women.

“Our community is rightfully angry and frustrated as we mourn the loss of Eurydice Dixon to senseless violence,” Ms Davies said.

“This is compounded with the knowledge that sadly she isn’t alone, as each week a woman loses her life and thousands of families are impacted by the devastation of violence against women.

“There is no excuse, and men need to shoulder most of the responsibility as we address the root causes with a whole-of-community approach. In some areas, we need to rip the root out of the ground and start again with an emphasis on prevention.

“Regardless of your position in your community, or the importance of your relationships, there is no excuse NOT to speak up and act. We can’t leave it to the other guy or excuse the need for every man to role model the behaviour society expects.”

Men need to stand up and speak out, and incorporate one or all of the following actions and tips into their day to day lives.

“The evidence shows us that when men of any age act and speak up they do start the process of behaviour change,” Ms Davies added.

Here are a few tips, actions and facts:

You can also visit our Factsheets page for further information.

1. ‘Make it Clear’

If you are with some friends, and someone says something which makes you uncomfortable, or that you feel is wrong, you can say something like: “Sorry, I missed that”, “what did you say?” or “I’m not sure what you mean”.

2. ‘Bring it home’

Sometimes, people forget they are talking about a real person. You can challenge them with the following: “What if this was your sister/daughter/son?”

This will remind them that they are talking about a real person and will help change the conversation.

Asking a question helps people think about what they said. It is important to say this in assertive and calm manner.

3. ‘I believe’

This is a great way to give your opinion. You can say something like: “I believe abusing a woman is wrong.” Using “I” instead of “you” is easier for people to hear because it is not attacking anyone. People will feel less defensive and accept the opinion.

4. ‘We believe’

Have you ever found yourself in a situation with a group of people and you feel uncomfortable about what is being said? You’re probably not the only one who thought it was wrong.

You could ask: “Am I the only one uncomfortable with this?”

This lets others know that they are not alone and will encourage them to speak up.

5. ‘Talk’

Talk to the person privately about what they said or did and its effect on others. This increases the chance that they will listen to what you say. They won’t feel the need to defend themselves in front of other people.

Some examples

It is not always easy to identify if you or someone you know is experiencing violence or is in an abusive relationship. Below is a list of signs of abuse. These behaviours are typical of the jealousy, controlling behaviour, put downs, threats and violence that occurs in abusive, disrespectful relationships.

  • Unfairly and regularly accuses her of flirting or being unfaithful
  • Controls how she spends money
  • Decides what she wears or eats
  • Humiliates her in front of other people
  • Makes sexist jokes against women
  • Monitors what she is doing, including reading her emails and text messages
  • Discourages or prevents her from seeing friends and family
  • Threatens to hurt her, the children or pets
  • Physically assaults her (hitting, biting, slapping, kicking, pushing)
  • Decides what she uses for birth control
  • Constantly criticises her intelligence, mental health and appearance
  • Isolation in the workplace

In general, it is also everyone’s responsibility to speak up and act when they witness anyone disrespect any women in any circumstance. We encourage you to put the above tips into practice.

For those who wish to learn more and to TAKE ACTION, the first step can be to take the FREE e-learning module on White Ribbon’s website.

Beyond these personal actions and tips, White Ribbon encourages every man to ask the question about what is being done in their community (workplace, children’s school, community group) to prevent all forms of violence against women.

Learn more about what you can do here.

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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 welcomes the AHRC Inquiry into Workplace Sexual Harassment

World’s first inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces has to happen

White Ribbon Australia CEO, Libby Davies, has welcomed today’s announcement of a world-first Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces by Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, and Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, saying it is the necessary response to the revelations which triggered the #MeToo movement.

“With one in five women (1) experiencing harassment within Australian workplaces, it is well past time for our country to investigate the true extent of harassment, and to look to the evidence-based solutions that are showing positive organisational culture change,” said CEO, Libby Davies.

“Violence against women is a workplace issue affecting the health, safety and wellbeing of employees, organisational culture and reputation, and the bottom line.

Research into employees and employer attitudes to workplace culture change reports 94 per cent (2) of employees agree that employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women.

“It is up to managers and leaders to turn this around and create safe environments and foster positive and healthy working relationships between men and women,” Ms Davies added.

“We are pleased that the Commission’s Inquiry will examine the prevalence of incidences, take evidence from women across the country, and also use the opportunity to examine what approaches are effectively delivering the necessary changes.”

The White Ribbon Australia Workplace Accreditation Program is a world’s first violence prevention initiative focused on providing organisations with a comprehensive set of tools and strategies to actively prevent and effectively respond to men’s violence against women. Workplaces that complete the program become White Ribbon Workplaces. Accreditation is for three years. Since its commencement in 2012 there have been more than 170 accredited workplaces and the program has reached 600,000 people.

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For media enquiries, please contact Irina Kamychnikova on 0426 221 550

The White Ribbon campaign is the largest global social movement to stop violence against women. It engages and enables men and boys to lead this social change. In Australia, White Ribbon is an organisation that works to prevent violence by changing the attitudes and behaviours that support men’s violence against women and gender inequality. The prevention work is driven through social marketing, the Ambassador Program and prevention initiatives across communities, in schools, workplaces, universities and sporting codes.

  • One in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them. (3)
  • One in five women experience harassment within the workplace. (4)
  • 94% of employees agree employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women. (5)
  • In a recent survey, 48% of respondents who had experienced domestic violence disclosed it to a manager or supervisor, and only 10% found their response helpful. (6)
  • Disclosure is often a traumatic experience for victims of violence, but it can also be a stressful time for supervisors receiving the disclosure. Training and support is critical.
  • The Australian Government estimates that domestic violence costs the business and corporate sector about $1.5 billion per annum. The direct cost to employers in terms of staff absenteeism, lost productivity replacement staff costs and misused workplace resources is estimated to cost $465 million per annum. (7)
  • Most workplaces will employ current, former or potential perpetrators and victims of domestic violence, using workplace practices to educate, deter and support in a structured social setting is critical.
  • Of those who reported experiencing family violence: nearly half the respondents reported that the violence affected their capacity to get to work—the major reason being physical injury or restraint; and in the last 12 months, 19% reported that family violence continued in the workplace, with 12% indicating it occurred in the form of abusive phone calls and emails, and 11% stating that it occurred by way of the violent person attending the workplace. (8)

(1) Australian Human Rights Commission (2008). Sexual Harassment Guide. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1upBypH © White Ribbon Australia 2014
(2) Pennay, D & Powell, A. (2012). The role of bystander knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in preventing violence against women: A full technical report. The Social Research Centre. Melbourne.
(3) Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Personal Safety, Australia, 2012, cat. no. 4906.0. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1kK5e0I © White Ribbon Australia 2014
(4) Australian Human Rights Commission (2008). Sexual Harassment Guide. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1upBypH © White Ribbon Australia 2014
(5) Pennay, D. & Powell, A. (2012). The role of bystander knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in preventing violence against women: A full technical report. The Social Research Centre. Melbourne. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1osZjYt © White Ribbon Australia 2014
(6) McFerran, L. (2011). Safe at Home, Safe at Work? National Domestic violence and the workplace survey. Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse. Retrieved from: https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/media/FASSFile/National_Domestic_Violence_and_the_Workplace_Su rvey_2011_Full_Report.pdf p. 13.
(7) National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2009). The cost of violence against women and their children. 8 ADFVC, ADFVC National Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey (2011).
(8) ADFVC, ADFVC National Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey (2011).

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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Letter: Stopping dowry related abuse and violence

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is in support of the movement to make dowry abuse a global and United Nations’ issue in order to effectively prevent dowry related violence and abuse of women from immigrant communities.

White Ribbon Australia supports the advocacy work of Dr Manjula O’Connor, who together with like-minded individuals and organisations, is working to raise awareness of the issue of Dowry abuse internationally and establish legal deterrents to its practice.

Dr O’Connor is passionate about gender equality, domestic violence awareness and victim support both locally and abroad. Her advocacy to end men’s violence against women occurs across the breadth of her spheres of influence and is backed by sound research, deep professional knowledge and cultural understanding.

Dr Manjula O’Connor, is the Founding Director of Australasian Centre for Human Rights and Health and a White Ribbon Australia Advocate.

White Ribbon Australia strongly condemns any form of violence against women and works to change the attitudes and behaviours associated with male privilege and power that result in this violence. We acknowledge and identify that Dowry is a cultural practice that has its genesis in gender inequality and is the result of male privilege and men’s violence against women. Dowry, as an ancient cultural practice originated from India, where parents gifted their daughter jewellery and/or cash at her wedding. It began at a time when women were not financially independent. Some interpretations suggest that Dowry was payment to the daughter in lieu of inheritance. In modern India, the inheritance is equally divided between sons and daughters and the Dowry Prohibition Act was passed in 1961. This should have eradicated this practice, however, the practice of dowry has now spread across the world. When a woman marries a man living abroad, her husband can command a premium Dowry. This financial abuse, demanding more and ongoing dowry payments, can escalate to physical, sexual, emotional, psychological abuse, social isolation, sometimes leading to the bride’s death.

Dr O’Connor has mobilized the Victorian Government, presenting evidence of dowry abuse to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016). Her advocacy resulted in the Royal Commission Recommendation 156 that states:  “The Victorian Government amend section 6 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) to expand the statutory examples of family violence to include forced marriage and dowry related abuse (within 12 months).”

White Ribbon Australia supports Dr O’Connor’s advocacy to mobilise other Australian State and Territory Governments to put in place wider reaching legal deterrents to this practice. We also endorse this action in the global context.

This work aligns with the aim of the White Ribbon social change movement to prevent men’s violence against women. Core to the movement’s work is advocacy and programs working to change attitudes, behaviours and practices that have become normalised and that drive violence and abuse.

We urge your support of the establishment of global deterrents to Dowry practice.

Yours sincerely

Libby Davies
CEO

White Ribbon Australia

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 Australia’s Breaking the Silence Schools program rolled out to record number of schools

The largest ever number of primary and secondary schools, a total of 115, have just completed White Ribbon Australia’s Breaking the Silence respectful relationships program.

The award-winning professional development program is a course adapted for primary and secondary schools which provides teachers with foundational knowledge, tools and strategies to ensure cultures of respect and gender equality in schools and to work with the next generation to stop men’s violence against women before it starts.

White Ribbon Australia, CEO, Libby Davies said: “We work to examine the root causes of gender-based violence, challenge behaviours, and create a cultural shift that leads us to a future without men’s violence against women.”
The program uses a mix of face-to-face workshops, eLearning and ongoing mentoring and support to enable schools to embed respectful relationships across curriculum, policies, procedures and school culture.

Amber Hitchcock of Lakemba Public School in NSW said the school saw it as an opportunity to lead a culture shift in their own community.

“We developed a K-6 program for all teachers to use in their classrooms. We also had a range of activities incorporated, including high school partnerships with our Stage 3 students working with two local high schools on White Ribbon workshops,” she said.

“We have witnessed a difference in the students’ attitude towards gender stereotypes. There is no longer the need to play boys vs girls games as the students are aware that everyone is equal. The students have also shifted the language they are using and are more conscious of the way they speak to others.”

Gai Beecher, Principal of Amaroo School in ACT, agrees that Breaking the Silence gave them a powerful platform to address negative gendered language and power imbalance in relationships with our students and staff.

“It has been great to see students and staff develop their awareness of some of the negative impacts of gender stereotypes and how this can influence our attitudes and beliefs. I believe that continued work, started through this initiative will support the school in addressing barriers for girls and boys in their social and educational lives. It will also provide us with opportunities to work through challenges together as a school community and allow our students to be respectful, confident and successful now and in the future,” Ms Beecher said.

Breaking the Silence, has reached more than 314,000 students and 23,800 teachers in over 560 schools, since the program began in 2009. It supports State and Federal education policies around healthy relationships, social and emotional well-being, and primary prevention of violence in school settings.

Breaking the Silence is provided to schools free-of-charge through White Ribbon Australia’s donors, including Myer, Harcourts, Suzanne Grae, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and other individual supporters.

White Ribbon Australia has opened registrations and are now accepting Expressions of Interest for the 2018 Breaking the Silence program.

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More information: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/breaking-silence-program/

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Statement in relation to the NRL and violence

White Ribbon Australia has zero tolerance approach to violence against women and expects that, as influential community institutions, all sporting clubs and associations also uphold a zero tolerance approach to help drive the change needed to stop this violence. NRL players and employees are role models for men and boys, women and girls across Australia, and should be held accountable for their actions at all times.

White Ribbon works with the NRL in an advisory capacity, including in the development of the game’s ‘Voice against Violence’ campaign and other prevention activities and initiatives. We remain committed to this work ensuring the NRL and all sporting codes demonstrate accountability, respect and transparency in their efforts to address and prevent men’s violence against women. White Ribbon does not have in place a formal partnership arrangement with  the NRL.

Violence against women is a serious issue both in sport and in the community at large. It takes the whole of community working together and committed to a zero tolerance attitude to VAW  to stop this violence before it occurs by challenging the deeply ingrained attitudes, behaviours and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women.

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 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Rio Tinto achieve accreditation in world-leading workplace cultural change program

White Ribbon Australia will present the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Rio Tinto with their White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation, recognising the significant change both organisations have made through their participation in the 18-month whole of organisation culture change with the White Ribbon Workplace Program.

This brings the total number of White Ribbon Accredited Workplaces to 165, reaching over 600,000 Australians in their workplace to create safer and more respectful workplace for all employees.

The accreditation presented by White Ribbon Australia CEO, Libby Davies, to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Secretary, Dr Martin Parkinson, in Canberra on Thursday will be followed by a ceremony in Brisbane on Friday marking Rio Tinto’s achievement where Rio Tinto Growth and Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh, who has led the company’s work with White Ribbon, will be presented with its Workplace Program Accreditation.

“Over the past eighteen months, both organisations demonstrated impressive leadership and a commitment to whole of organisation culture change,” said White Ribbon Australia CEO, Libby Davies.

“They have satisfied 15 assessment criteria under three separate standards. They have demonstrated effective leadership, resource allocation, communication, HR policy development and training, to create safer and more respectful workplaces. They have delivered training to managers and staff on what it means to work in a safe and respectful workplace.”

The Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson, welcomed the accreditation as an important acknowledgement of the commitment demonstrated by staff across the department in supporting their colleagues impacted by domestic and family violence.

“This accreditation does not come easily, and that’s because it comes with great responsibility. For far too long workplaces across Australia have taken the view that domestic violence is ‘not their business.’

But supporting the elimination of violence is our business and I’m proud that at PM&C we are taking this issue so seriously.”

As head of the Australian Public Service, I consider it critical that we do our bit, alongside the broader Australian community, to stand up, speak out and act to prevent domestic and family violence in all its forms,” Dr Parkinson said.

Managing Director Australia Rio Tinto, Joanne Farrell, said: “We are proud to be the first global mining company in Australia to complete this accreditation program. We made a policy decision to change the culture of the company, and achieving accreditation is a significant outcome for our Australian workforce and leadership team. Violence against women and men is completely unacceptable – we are committed to the role that our company and employees can play by leading by example.”

“We condemn violence against women and we are committed to supporting our people who are impacted by such violence and ensuring our workplaces are respectful, inclusive and have the framework to support every employee. We are pleased to share today’s achievement with The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and look forward to sharing our progress as we strive towards common goals related to this important issue,” Ms Farrell said.

Rio Tinto and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet are now officially recognised by White Ribbon Australia as pioneers contributing to national cultural change to prevent and respond to violence against women and strengthen gender equality, joining the eighth group of White Ribbon Workplaces to be awarded a three-year accreditation.

“We congratulate these workplaces on their extraordinary effort and dedication,” added Libby Davies.

“Workplace Accreditation gives employers across all sectors the means to create and sustain a working environment based on equality and mutual respect. The benefits of standing up and speaking out about men’s violence against women extend beyond the immediate office environment.

“We acknowledge the vital role workplaces play in creating change within the broader community. 94 per cent of employees agree that employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women.”

White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation is for a three-year duration during which time organisations must provide evidence of an ongoing, sustainable commitment to the prevention of violence against women and promotion of gender equality.

Media contact:

White Ribbon Australia – Irina Kamychnikova on 0426 221 550 OR Jenny Muir on 0415 401 200

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – PM&C media on 02 6271 6039

Rio Tinto Australia –  Rachel Thompson on 0419 906 257

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Australian workplaces stand up to violence against women

White Ribbon is proud to announce the accreditation of 21 workplaces.

This March a further 21 workplaces from across Australia have achieved White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation following 18 months of comprehensive development and training to create a safer and more respectful workplace.

Reaching over 600,000 employees since 2012, the internationally recognised White Ribbon Accreditation Program assesses workplaces against 15 compulsory criteria under three standards. Each workplace demonstrates effective leadership, resource allocation, communication, HR policy development and training, supporting employees to be respectful across all areas of business.

In Australia, one in five women experience harassment within the workplace. White Ribbon Workplaces are committed to changing workplace culture to prevent abuse of and violence against women.

This cohort of newly accredited White Ribbon Workplaces brings the total number of accredited Australian workplaces to 166, with a further 80 organisations working toward accreditation.

Accreditation as a ‘White Ribbon Workplace’ results from the independent assessment of documented evidence of policy and practice against White Ribbon Australia’s Workplace Accreditation Framework. Accreditation lasts for three years.

Recent findings commissioned by White Ribbon Australia and evaluated by KPMG found that the Workplace Accreditation Program demonstrates the positive impact of evidence-based prevention strategies involving polices, procedures, education and training, in improving attitudes and behaviours to prevent violence against women and drive gender equality.

Newly Accredited Workplaces

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Response to the 2018 Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia Report

Violence and abuse is sadly more common in Australian households than it has ever been said White Ribbon CEO, Libby Davies, in response to the 2018 Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia Report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The AIHW report has highlighted some startling statistics, revealing that one in six women have experienced violence or sexual assault at the hands of a current or previous partner[1], which increased from one in ten in previous research.

“It is devastating to learn that the number of women experiencing physical and sexual assault at the hands of their partner is only increasing, sadly it is not surprising,” Ms Davies said.

“Disrespect and violence against women is pervasive in our community and needs to be addressed as a national priority. This figure also underlines the significant investment needed by governments, business and community to reverse this trend immediately.”

The White Ribbon CEO highlighted the critical need for more resources to be placed into primary prevention programs. The AIHW report also showed that two in five Australians have experienced at lease one incident of violence since the age of 15[2]. Further, it found that young Australians’ attitudes to violence against women may be contributing to this alarming statistic with almost half believing it is acceptable to track a partner by electronic devices, compared to approximately a third of Australians over the age of 35[3].

“It is these types of attitudes which need immediate attention in order to see a real cultural shift among Australians,” Ms Davies added.

“More needs to be done to educate the wider community and change embedded beliefs about the various forms of violence. Emotional abuse, financial abuse, psychological abuse – all of these are forms of violence that needing further addressing through primary prevention.

“White Ribbon is seeing positive change through their focus on primary prevention, and is committed to working hard to turn these statistics around. We are seeing a shift, through our work on a grassroots level with communities, and with schools through the Schools Program.”

The White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program has successfully accredited 165 workplaces across Australia.

“This shows organisations are committed to building a workplace culture with zero tolerance to any form of violence or abuse, both inside and outside the workplace and supporting their staff who may be experiencing harassment. We are excited to be announcing more workplaces who have become White Ribbon Accredited tomorrow.”

The AIHW report highlights that there is still a long way to go before Australia is free from all forms of violence and abuse. White Ribbon urges the government to continue to support and strengthen partnerships with governments, corporates and communities, to help continue this social change drive and end harassment, abuse and violence towards both men and women.

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[1] 2018 Family, domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) p. ix

[2] 2018 Family, domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) p. 1

[3] 2018 Family, domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) p. 14

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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Commonwealth Games have just launched MyGames 2018 and White Ribbon charity partnership

Be a champion! Play against your mates or try a new sport, and raise money for White Ribbon Australia. 

White Ribbon are excited to announce partnership with MyGames 2018.

With less than two months to go until the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018), the Office of Commonwealth Games have just launched MyGames 2018 – a free fundraising platform for people to raise funds. White Ribbon Australia has been chosen to be one of MyGames charity of choice. The fundraising platform allows you to set your own Games challenge – play against your mates or try a new sport, whilst raising money.

We’re asking people to be a champion and raise money for White Ribbon Australia by registering your event on the www.mygames2018.com website.

Through funds raised, White Ribbon will be supported to deliver primary prevention initiatives that aim to stop violence before it happens, through education, awareness raising and by challenging ingrained attitudes and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women. White Ribbon is dedicated to delivering programs in schools, workplaces and the broader community.

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