Since 1991 men have joined in the fight against domestic violence by wearing white ribbons to show their solidarity with the cause. This action is due to the efforts of White Ribbon, a global campaign designed to “inspire changes in policy, practice and culture to address the root causes of gender-based violence” (White Ribbon). The White Ribbon campaign is asking men to be part of the solution to domestic violence rather than part of the problem. In Massachusetts, White Ribbon is partnering with Jane Doe Inc. (JDI), a state-wide membership coalition and advocacy group working to change “the way society views and reacts to sexual and domestic violence in ways that make our communities safer today and for future generations” (Jane Doe Inc).
Jane Doe Inc. began Massachusetts White Ribbon Day in 2008 as one of the first prevention initiatives to help end male violence against women. The campaign has only grown over the last decade, and now works with men and boys across Massachusetts year-round to:
- Promote safety and respect in all relationships and situations
- Change societal attitudes toward women and end excuses for domestic violence
- Foster a positive attitude toward personal space and cooperation
- Build a network of supporters to help advance JDI initiatives (Jane Doe Inc).
The JDI Massachusetts Ribbon campaign has three main components:
- White Ribbon Day: Held the First Thursday in March, Massachusetts White Ribbon Day (WRD) is designed to bring state-wide attention to the issue. On that day, JDI makes a proclamation at the Statehouse to emphasize the need for an end to domestic violence across the state. WRD also coordinates with other organizations, to have related WRD events year-round.
- White Ribbon Day Ambassadors: “The crux of the WRD Campaign is for men to take both a personal pledge to live by the values of the campaign and a public commitment to invite other men and boys in their lives to join them” (Jane Doe Inc). Ambassadors both help shift social norms and break the silence about male violence against women.
- White Ribbon Day Affiliates: JDI member programs as well as countless other groups join the campaign as WRD Affiliates. By signing on as an affiliate, a group both demonstrates their commitment to the cause and promises to have one public WRB event throughout the year. JDI provides materials and technical support for all WRD affiliates (Jane Doe Inc).
Jane Doe, Inc. has switched things up a little bit this year. Rather than having the usual White Ribbon Day event in Boston this March, JDI chose to have their largest public event in December of 2017. This event was the #ReimagineManhood summit and was designed to kick off 2018 as a year of action. JDI is hoping to focus this year’s WRD campaign in all Massachusetts’ local communities in order to “amplify voices state-wide” (Jane Doe Inc). This year, JDI will be coordinating five things for White Ribbon Day 2018:
- Mark the begging of WRD on March 1st by having a modest press conference
- Reissue the #ReimagineManhood Public Service Announcement to run on four major television channels.
- Provide tools, resources and technical guidance to support your prevention efforts. We will be distributing a White Ribbon Day Campaign Action Packet with suggested activities, information about WRD Flags, and more.
- Coordinate a strong social media campaign to promote WRD and messaging regarding healthy masculinities on social and highlight your local activities. Please join the online conversation! Follow us on our WRD Facebook page and Twitter. Use the hashtags: #ReimagineManhood and #WRD2018.
- Work with the Massachusetts Departments of Public Health and Transportation to bring the WRD message statewide through billboards on highways throughout the Commonwealth during March 2018 (Jane Doe Inc)
Read the JDI director’s statement about the shift in this year’s WRD campaign to see why Jane Doe Inc. is taking a different approach this year.
All PetsEmpower supporters are encouraged to also support Jane Doe Inc. and join in the Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign 2018 in order to continue to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence. Only by involving all members of society, including men, will we put an end to the problem once and for all.
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