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Ambassador Q&A: Rod Harrod

Rod Harrod
June 2016

Long-serving White Ribbon Ambassador Rod Harrod is inspired by White Ribbon’s goals in addressing the root causes of violence against women.

What is your day job?

I am a Navy Active Reserve Officer.

How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?

I have been and Ambassador since 2008.

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?

When I first become an Ambassador I was appointed by White Ribbon CEO Libby Davies in 2008. White Ribbon was the only organisation that I was aware of designed to prevent the problem and address the root cause of violence through its programs. It’s about being active in addressing the attitudes and behaviours that lead to men’s violence against women, as well as being about changing our culture and educating men in particular to change the way we treat women in our society.

I also understand why the Ambassador Re-committal Process is necessary too, as it provides ongoing learning and support to Ambassadors which is very important. Everyone needs that chance to refresh your skills, and it’s about continuously educating yourself on the issue.

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

As a White Ribbon Ambassador I have organised the annual Defence Force White Ribbon Walk/Run held on White Ribbon Day, as well as the Defence Bank White Ribbon Golf Day, and have also spoken at a number of White Ribbon events, whilst serving on the ACT White Ribbon Committee.

My proudest moment I’ve experienced as an Ambassador would be the Defence Force Academy major event in 2015 which hosted Rosie Batty & Craig Lowndes. I issued the final address, and looking back at the video taken at that event, the impact I had on the young men and women of the Defence Force Academy was profound. Every young male and female face was glued to what I was saying, so that was a clear demonstration of my impact. You don’t realise the impression you have on people, but if you are committed to the issue, people will be inspired.

Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?

Simply, because all genders are equal. There’s a cultural aspect of inequality within our society that goes back many years. There’s a power imbalance that is inherent in this, and that breeds inequality, and part of that leads to the aggressive nature in some men to be violent. Whenever I’m at a White Ribbon event in the community I find that men with kids, particularly men with daughters, are much more ready to have the conversation about gender inequality because they can see the effect it will have on their own children.

I’ve learnt that, while people might have different roles in life, we are all equal, and there is nothing inherently inferior or superior about anyone. I rely very strongly on my wife, just as she relies on me, and we couldn’t function without working together.

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

As an Ambassador my one goal would be to do as much as I can to stop men’s violence against women and girls. I will continue to be active with the ACT White Ribbon Committee and organise and speak at events. Ultimately having an impact is good, and even if it’s just on one guy, if I can change his attitudes I’ve made a difference.

There are lots of men in Australia who see violence against women as an important issue, so if we are motivating those men to stand up and get the message out, then we can really change society for good.

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