White Ribbon Ride shines light on domestic violence

updated By Regan Paranihi

Domestic violence is an ongoing issue and statistics show that New Zealand has the highest rate of reported violence against women.

Every year on the 25th of November people across the country recognises the pain, dangers and unspoken rules that lead to domestic violence.

White Ribbon advocates have been riding around the country to deliver a message to challenge the unspoken rules that lead males to become violent towards their partners.

The White Ribbon Ride began in 2009 and former domestic violence offender, Takurua Tawera, says the ride raises awareness of where the behaviour begins and the expectation on males to be tough can be damaging.

"It provides an opportunity to get in front of communities that might otherwise not hear these messages from a campaign like White Ribbon."

South Island White Ribbon leader, Ken Mahon adds, "As young boys, most of us have been told to toughen up or that boys don't cry. That type of pressure and advice is unhelpful and damaging."

He also says the message delivered around the country prior to White Ribbon day resonates with many communities and he says personal experiences address the root and causes of domestic violence.

"The most powerful message is when it's delivered from the heart or personal experience. That's when you see an audience connect with a story or message."

The research found that that 47% of men were told that ‘boys don’t cry’ while 65% were told that ‘boys should harden or toughen up’ when they were boys. Conversely, only 9% of women were told that ‘girls don’t cry.’          

The riders arrive to the steps of Parliament today with a special performance by Hannah Dorey, the winner of White Ribbon's high school Spoken Word Competition.