ANZASW Statement: White Ribbon Day 2020

ANZASW would like to offer our acknowledgement and support of White Ribbon Day. The theme for this year’s day is Challenge the #Outdated as decided by the White Ribbon organisation.

We would like to offer particular acknowledgment of our members who work on both on the frontlines and behind the scenes to reduce the shocking levels of domestic violence that is present in Aotearoa.

The White Ribbon annual campaign promotes respectful relationships and aims to prevent violence against women. It is intended to be a community effort that educates, increases awareness and builds commitment to respectful behaviour.

A recent study based in Australia found that 42% of young men do not consider punching and hitting to be domestic violence, with 43% not believing that frightening, humiliating, degrading or punishing a person is domestic violence.

White Ribbon manager Rob McCann highlights that “While we don’t have a similar study in New Zealand, Police data for the year to August show that women make up 90% of those violently assaulted by a partner or ex, and 98.6% of those sexually assaulted by a partner or ex, and [New Zealand] has the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world.”

This year people are encouraged to speak up about the outdated ideas they hear. Research has shown that such ideas can lead to pressure to conform to these beliefs as well as subsequent links to acts of violence.

The White Ribbon Campaign highlights that phrases like Be A ManHarden UpKids Should Be SilentTreat E’m Mean Keep E’m Keen, and Show Them Who’s Boss need to be challenged and replaced with conversations around what healthy attitudes around masculinity look like and how we might best support those who need it. 

ANZASW would like to offer our recognition to all social workers who work to reduce the unacceptable rates of violence against women and as well as other forms of domestic violence in Aotearoa.