Prevent men’s violence against women

Ambassador Q&A: Jericho Sayson

Jericho Sayson
August 2016

White Ribbon Ambassador Jericho Sayson shares with us how he spreads the White Ribbon message in his work at the Royal Australian Air Force and in his daily life.

What is your day job?

Personnel Capability Officer, Royal Australian Air Force

As the Unit Personnel Capability Officer at No 1 Recruit Training Unit, it is my responsibility to manage the administrative and logistic arms of the unit in order prepare recruits, newly enlisted Air Force men and women, for military service. No 1 Recruit Training Unit functions as a point of entry school training and transforming civilians into airmen and airwomen who have basic military knowledge, to become effective members of the Air Force team.

How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?

Since February 2014

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?

I believe the values that exist within White Ribbon correlate with those of my own. Fortunately, I have not been affected by violence myself, but have been indirectly affected through friends and work colleagues who are victims of violence from men. Coming into the Ambassador role, I came with a hope that I could be part of the change and influence that is needed in the Australian community – for my friends, family and all those who are and whom have been affected by men’s violence.

As a member of the millennial generation I believed that through becoming an Ambassador I would have an unique opportunity to connect, relate and empathise with my peers as we grow into the leaders of Australian society, while standing up and sharing an important message. I believed that through becoming a White Ribbon Ambassador I would be able to share with the following generations the fact that I am, and that my generation are, willing to listen and acknowledge that a change is needed – a change in Australia’s thinking about the treatment of the women in our lives.

Now being an Ambassador, I am proud to share that I have been able to reach a number of these goals and hope to continue to do so into the future.

In what ways have you been involved in the White Ribbon Campaign?

In 2014, I was given the opportunity to work with a dedicated team of Officer Cadets and Midshipmen towards gaining White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation for the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA). Together we raised awareness and engaged with the wider ADFA community through several White Ribbon events. This culminated with my brainchild to publicly showcase our commitment to White Ribbon on the Parade Ground. They say that a picture tells a thousand words. This photograph titled ‘Worth a Thousand Words’ represents over a thousand oaths recited by the Officer Cadets, Midshipmen and staff of ADFA, Australia’s Federation Guard, Capability & Technology College and the Defence Force Chaplains College – to stand up, speak out and act against men’s violence against women.

Having moved to Wagga Wagga, I am now working with local community leaders and the emergency services to raise awareness of White Ribbon through a number of initiatives. In November 2016, the inaugural Wagga Wagga White Ribbon Gala Ball supporting White Ribbon and the Wagga Wagga Women’s Health Centre will be held, inviting members of the community to a wonderful night highlighting the importance of and raising awareness surrounding the seriousness of violence against women and its prevention.

In October, I will be hosting an event titled the Wagga Wagga Millenials Cocktail Night Fundraiser held to “Empower and Inspire – the up and coming generation of Wagga locals” – with a primary intended audience of Wagga locals in the Millenial Generation (under 35s). The event will see notable Wagga locals sharing their stories of inspiration with their peers, and will be raising money towards organizations including White Ribbon.

Within my new workplace, I have been empowered to lead the White Ribbon charge to the newest members of the RAAF family. Recruits will be exposed to White Ribbon from early into their training through lessons linking the White Ribbon message with the RAAF values, later expanding furthermore onto sexual ethics training. Later in the year, we will be hosting the “1RTU White Ribbon Breakfast”. This event aims to promote the White Ribbon message, to the recruits and staff of the unit in working “through a primary prevention approach” with a number of presentations provided by White Ribbon ambassadors outlining the significance of the White Ribbon campaign with the RAAF; its values and its provision of capability.

Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?

Different generations have had their counter culture movements. I believe my generation’s moves go beyond counter cultures and towards equality. There is an ever-growing recognition of the need for gender equality and diversity within our society. This has led to a global community response supporting the empowerment of women within male dominated industries and throughout the community.

As a millennial generation White Ribbon Ambassador working within a male dominated organisation, it is my hope that through open discussion and everyday actions I will be able to encourage my peers to embrace equality for all, regardless of gender, creed or race.

What goals do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador in the future?

It is my hope that I will be able to continue working with my fellow airman, airwoman and officers towards achieving White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation for the RAAF.

On a personal front, as a White Ribbon Ambassador, I hope to continue to work within the local community, supporting local organisations which aim to prevent and support those inflicted by violence. In particular, I hope to work with members of the next generation to start the right conversations in school and with them work towards creating a better tomorrow.

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