Ambassador Q&A: AJ Masefau
White Ribbon Ambassador AJ Masefau talks about what engagement with the White Ribbon social movement has entailed for him, and what he hopes to achieve moving forward in the role.
What is your day job?
Personal development coordinator Melbourne High School.
How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?
I have been an Ambassador since 2013.
Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?
The influential responsibility and opportunity to be part of a movement that educates and empowers men, of all ages, to change their behavior and create a culture which prevents violence, not only towards women, but to children and the wider community is what lead me to this awesome awareness campaign.
In what ways have you been involved in the White Ribbon Campaign?
Over the last 3 years we have included the ‘White Ribbon’ campaign in the culture of Melbourne high school with events like ‘Stay In’, BBQ fundraising and general White Ribbon awareness. Some specific achievements include:
- The rugby 1 st XV having the white ribbon emblem embroidered onto their playing jersey to further declare their commitment to this important campaign;
- The White Ribbon pledge being a part of the Rugby Fraternity’s code of conduct;
- Over 300 student pledges to White Ribbon being acknowledged; and
- Breaking the Silence sessions being held with the rugby fraternity and Yr 11 mentor leadership students.
I also opened the national eLearning course at the immigration international museum, and have been the keynote speaker about ‘understanding men’s violence towards women’ for programs such as Sons of the West and events held by Purpose Living City Church and Pakenham Secondary School.
I make an effort to attend community and corporate partnership events such as the Grand Prix, L’Oréal Citizen Day and the Myer Ball.
Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?
Gender equality is important to me, not just because I am an Ambassador, but because it is an extension of who I am. The realization of my role and responsibilities within society relies on healthy connections with all people. I am blessed to have wonderful and influential women that have shaped my life. Without the love and prayers of these women, I would not be the man I am today. The sense of duty as a male, to create an environment whereby all people can do life without violence, has been embedded and inspired by the presence of influential women within my life. Gender Equality is the expression of the heart to value others as you value yourself.
What goals do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador in the future?
One of my goals as a White Ribbon Ambassador is to advocate our government to secure funding and inclusion of the Breaking the Silence Schools Program to be made available to every school across Australia. Additionally, I aim to seek funding for programs to be available to sporting codes and community sectors in facilitating short course programs to ‘understand men’s violence towards women’ across cultures in their native language.