Australia: Federal and State Governments show support for White Ribbon Campaign Print E-mail
 Office for Women October 30 2008

Eliminating Violence Against Women (White Ribbon Day)

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - also known as White Ribbon Day - is marked on 25 November each year and is an opportunity for governments, businesses and community groups to focus on a problem that affects many people in Australia and throughout the world.

Violent crimes against women and girls - like domestic violence, sexual assault and people trafficking - are committed every day. It affects everyone in the community, and the White Ribbon Campaign provides a time for us to pay particular attention to this very important issue.

About the day
On 17 December 1999 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW). This resolution was supported by Australia, and since this date the Australian Government has marked the event with a range of community activities alongside the rest of the international community.

The White Ribbon Campaign now run in conjunction with IDEVAW is designed to encourage governments, businesses and community groups all over the world to support activities to raise public awareness of violence against women. The White Ribbon Campaign specifically focuses on the role of men and boys.

The White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort in the world of men working to end men's violence against women, and wearing a white ribbon is seen as a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

Violent crimes committed against women and girls - like domestic violence, sexual assault and people trafficking - continue to be pervasive in Australia and around the world. Violence against women and girls affects everyone in the community. Men's lives are personally affected if their girlfriends, wives, daughters, mothers, grandmothers or sisters experience violence or the threat of violence.

Men and boys have a crucial role in helping reduce violence in the lives of women. Harmful attitudes and beliefs in the community are also a very important part of the problem, and tackling these will assist in building a community that is safer for women and girls.

A history of the day
The United Nations: On 17 December 1999 the United Nations adopted Resolution 54/134 on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Resolution 54/134 designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It calls on governments; relevant bodies, funds and programmes of the United Nations system; other international organisations and non-governmental organisations to organise on that day activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem of violence against women.

The Resolution noted that endemic violence against women was impeding women's opportunities to achieve legal, social, political and economic equality in society. The term "violence against women" refers to acts capable of causing physical, sexual or psychological harm, whether in public or the private life of women.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is also linked to the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which arose from the Global Campaign for Women's Human Rights. In June 1991, a forum involving 23 women from 20 countries called for this campaign in an effort to highlight the connections between women, violence, and human rights from 25 November to 10 December. The time period encompasses four significant dates: 25 November, IDEVAW; 1 December, World AIDS Day; 6 December, the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when 14 women engineering students were gunned down for being feminists; and 10 December, Human Rights Day.

The Mirabal Sisters
Prior to the United Nations Resolution, 25 November was observed in Latin America and a number of other countries around the world as "International Day Against Violence Against Women". With no standard title, it was also referred to as "No Violence Against Women Day" and the "Day to End Violence Against Women".

It was first declared by the first Feminist Encuentro for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Bogota, Colombia in 1981. At that Encuentro women systematically denounced gender violence from domestic battery, to rape and sexual harassment, to state violence including torture and abuses of women political prisoners.

The date was chosen to commemorate the lives of three sisters from the Dominican Republic (Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa Mirabal) who were violently assassinated in 1960 during the Trujillo dictatorship. Referred to as the "Inolvidables Mariposas" (Unforgettable Butterflies), both the memory of the sisters and the day itself stand as global recognition of gender violence and the victimisation of women.

The White Ribbon Campaign
White Ribbon Day is held internationally in conjunction with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort in the world of men working to end men's violence against women, and wearing a white ribbon is seen as a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

In Australia this year, the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA) will support White Ribbon Day by distributing White Ribbons to all FaCSIA staff.

Amnesty international first launched the White Ribbon Campaign nationally on 25 November 2000.

Internationally, the aim of the White Ribbon Campaign is to include men and boys in the effort to end gender-based violence. Women and girls are especially vulnerable to particular types of violence such as incest, rape, domestic violence, people trafficking, female genital mutilation and so-called 'honour crimes'.

----------------------
Monday, 24 November 2008

David Bartlett, MP Premier
Media Release

Wear a White Ribbon and take a stand against violence towards women

Premier David Bartlett today called upon the Tasmanian community to wear a white ribbon tomorrow to take a stand against violence towards women.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data taken from the Personal Safety Survey 2005 estimates that a third of all Australian women have experienced physical violence at some stage in their lives since the age of 15.

“That one in three women in Australia is likely to have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 is simply appalling,” Mr Bartlett said.

“Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show also that one in five women is estimated to have experienced sexual violence at some stage from the age of 15.

“This is one of the most widespread and serious human rights abuses in Australia.

“Every Tasmanian should feel safe and be safe. The Tasmanian Government has already taken a strong stance against family violence, with the introduction of the Family Violence Act.

“The legislation’s Safe at Home initiative has recently been recognised at a national level, winning a major award at the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards in Canberra.

“This is a great step forward, but we still have a way to go. White Ribbon Day presents an opportunity for men from all walks of life to publicly disclaim violence against women and children.

“I am proud to be an ambassador for White Ribbon Day this year, and I call on all Tasmanians, particularly men in our community, to unite against violence towards women.”

White Ribbon Day, which will be Tuesday 25 November, is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Further information on White Ribbon Day events being held around Australia can be found on the White Ribbon Foundation website at http://www.whiteribbonday.org.au/