Whanganui DHB male staff members honour White Ribbon Day

A team of male Whanganui District Health Board staff members have honoured White Ribbon Day (25 November) by offering white ribbons to visitors passing through Whanganui Hospital’s Main Entrance on Friday 24 November.
Strong advocates of anti-violence towards women and children, the men were on hand to talk to staff, visitors and patients interested in finding out what the White Ribbon campaign stands for and what sits behind the campaign’s tagline: ‘I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women and children’.
A waka (used by Whanganui DHB cultural awareness programme participants) was positioned at the front of the hospital to prompt a number of questions, which Whanganui DHB Māori Health Services whānau navigator (Haumoana) Ned Tapa says the men were happy to answer.
“Just as people worked together to build the waka, so is our community working together to create a safer environment for women and children,” Mr Tapa says.
Mr Tapa says men have a critical role to play in speaking out and responding when they hear, see or become aware of males behaving violently. While domestic violence such as punching, kicking or attempted strangulation is usually viewed as physical assault it can also be sexual, verbal, emotional or psychological.
“We encourage males to demonstrate their support for women and children wanting to live free of violence by refusing to accept any violent behaviour within their immediate and wider families which includes their peers, workmates, friends and sports clubs.”
Whanganui DHB Child Youth Mortality Review Committee Regional Co-ordinator Terry Sarten says the Whanganui DHB Violence Intervention Project is an important part of the collective approach to tackle family violence effectively. “While some might think it’s difficult to try and change the attitudes and actions that give rise to violence, I believe change is happening,” Mr Sarten says.
“Whanganui Women’s Refuge is seeing increasing numbers of women who want, and expect, to live their lives free of violence so this in itself signals that change is occurring. White Ribbon Day provides an opportunity for men to walk the talk together, united in their intention to end violence against women and children.”