Our Childs Voice – White Ribbon Day 2009

By Parentline, 4 March 2010

By Cathy Holland – Published in Hamilton Press on 25 November 2009

There is widespread acknowledgement that most violence remains hidden, with official estimates placing 80% of family violence as unreported to Police.

In spite of numerous interventions, the outcome is increasing person to person violence, in particular within families resulting in lifetime consequences for children. Official information states that at least 45% of reported incidents of family violence are witnessed by children; unofficial data suggests the number is as high as 77%.

At Parentline we work with these children – the silent victims of domestic violence.

Today marks White Ribbon Day to commemorate the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabel sisters who were political activists in the Dominican Republic. The three were killed on the orders of the Dominican ruler Trujillo.

In 1991, a group of Canadian men began a campaign to urge men to speak out against violence against women. The group adopted the wearing of the white ribbon as a symbol of men’s opposition to violence against women.  The first effort achieved the distribution of 100,000 white ribbons to men across Canada.

White Ribbon Day – International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women – is now part of the United Nations annual calendar and in New Zealand, the Families Commission has taken a leadership role in promoting the message of White Ribbon Day.

Our contribution to White Ribbon Day is to host a Fathers & Sons Breakfast this morning.

In the build up to White Ribbon Day, there have been a number of other events focussing on the impact of violence against women. On 19 November Parentline welcomed officials from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to meet with community agencies and to present the findings from their report Strong & Safe Communities- Effective Interventions for adult victims and survivors of sexual violence (2009).

On November 20, Hamilton hosted the launch of the book Trust: A True Story of Women & Gangs; the life stories of five women who lived in gangs and who were subjected to sexual abuse, violence and crime.

As a Child Advocate, Parentline has a key role to ensure family violence remains high on the public and political agenda, so that the issue is not hidden.

More information on this topic is available on our new website www.parentline.org.nz. Or you can contact Parentline on 07 839 4536.