White Ribbon Day is on 25th November every year and marks the beginning of 16 Days of Action against gender-based violence. The White Ribbon movement began in Canada in 1991 following the massacre of several female students at a university in Montreal. A small group of men got together and looked for a way for men to oppose violence against women.
They decided to encourage men to actively show their opposition by wearing a white ribbon. Since then, the White Ribbon movement has developed internationally and is active in many countries around the world.
Safety is one of the key priorities for young people and the issues of gender-based violence and public sexual harassment were topics that were discussed at Sutton’s Youth Summit in September 2022. This year, the Young Commissioners have worked alongside Sutton Council, Sutton Women’s Centre, and the organisation Reclaim Sutton Streets to learn more about and raise awareness of these issues and the aims of the White Ribbon Campaign.
The Young Commissioners have been involved in talks and workshops and took part in Reclaim Sutton Street’s ‘Have a word’ advert which highlights these issues and the White Ribbon pledge. The advert was broadcast in Sutton High Street on 25th November and the Young Commissioners helped with handing out leaflets at the event.
Staff at Volunteer Centre Sutton and the Young Commissioners took the White Ribbon promise:
"To never use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women"
Young Commissioner, Anusha Garimella said:
"As a Young Commissioner, it is very important that we use our platform to encourage others to take a stand to prevent gender-based violence. We took part in the White Ribbon Sutton engagement event, which was a great opportunity to introduce the cause to people along the High Street. We are very proud to represent the movement and hope many more young people contribute their voices."
Volunteer Centre Sutton are now working towards becoming a White Ribbon Supporter Organisation and as part of that work two staff members: Ben and Nick, have become White Ribbon Ambassadors. You can see them making their pledges here and here.
Anita Maullin, CEO of Volunteer Centre Sutton, said:
"I’m incredibly proud of the work that the Young Commissioners and our staff have put into raising awareness of gender-based violence and for highlighting the aims of the White Ribbon campaign. We will ensure that this work is embedded across our organisation and that all staff and volunteers are provided with support and information about how to access domestic abuse services in Sutton."