What Can You Do
CommitmentsWhat does it mean to wear a white ribbon?
Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. Wearing a white ribbon is a way of saying, “Our future has no violence against women.”
What Men and Women Can Do to End Violence Against Women
- Assume that you don’t have consent in intimate situations unless it is explicitly given. Make sure that all intimacy is active, mutual, uncoerced, and consenting. When initiating, be sure that what you want is reciprocal.
- Be open to women’s experiences and stories. Many of the women (and men) in
our lives have experienced harassment, violence and assault, whether or not we know about it. Don’t blame the victim.
- Educate yourself about the problem of sexual assault. Our not knowing about it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.
- If a man you know feels falsely accused, listen to him and help him find helping resources, but don’t assume that he was falsely accused. Someone can think that they have consent, when in fact, they did not.
- Take actions in support of ending violence against women. Actively show that you are part of the solution. Attend rallies, fundraisers, and activities and involve your organizations in them. Refuse to spend money on products that objectify women or normalize violence.
- Speak out against all forms of prejudice and violence. If you are uncomfortable with a comment or action, assume that others are as well and talk to them about it or intervene. If someone is abusive to a partner, talk to them or to someone who can help you decide what to do.
- Notice how men have invisible privileges and opportunities that are denied to women. These privileges include men’s ignorance about sexual assault and the fact that men don’t have to take precautions to avoid it. Learn the ways in which women are affected by violence and the precautions women take to avoid it.
- If a woman you know has been sexually assaulted, don’t blame her for what happened, even if you think that she could have taken different action.
- Don’t be afraid to change or to express your discomfort with the way you have
been taught to be a male or female. Others probably share your discomfort, but keep quiet, not realizing how many others are like-minded. Think independently about gender. Don’t conform to others’ ideas about what a man or woman should or should not be. Make up your own mind.
Used with permission by Alan D. Berkowitz - www.alanberkowitz.com