Today marks the start of the third annual White Ribbon Campaign on campus, a week of events designed to raise awareness about and discourage violence against women.
Men will be handing out white ribbons on the Diag throughout the week as well, and a vigil is planned for next Wednesday night.
Featured events also include a teach-in on sexual assault, sponsored by the University”s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, and a film that looks at the role of violence in today”s media.
“Wearing a white ribbon is a simple way to take a stand and tell other men around you that you don”t support violent behavior or violence towards women,” said Rackham student Gary Brouhard.
As a member of Men Against Violence Against Women, the student group that sponsors the local White Ribbon Campaign, Brouhard said he recognizes the need for change and improvement in society as far as violence towards women is concerned.
“Men are going to have to come out and stand up and say that this is not something we tolerate,” he said. “If we want to get those men who are the vast majority of perpetrators of violence against women to stop or have a society in which these men are prevented in being violent, it”s going to take other men working on that problem as well.”
He added that men have a vested interest in getting involved. “Every man has a women in his life that he wants to be safe. If you want the world to be safe for her you have to work to make the world safe for women everywhere, because as long as some women are potential victims, all women are,” Brouhard said. “Every man has a woman out there he should be taking up this cause for.”
Rackham student Joe Mikels said he”s involved in the campaign because he recognizes the pressing need to address the issue. He said that after having female friends share incidents from their pasts with him he realized how common of an occurrence violence is and how many people it really affects.
“If I want to be a good friend to these women then I need to take a stance on the issue and fight for them, and consider how in my own actions and behavior things need to change,” he said.
Mikels also said he”d like to see more men getting involved in addition to a raised awareness in the community and in the minds of men about the issue.
He added that Men Against Violence Against Women sponsors workshops and talks designed to raise awareness year round, and that he hopes this week will serve as a springboard to get more people involved.
“This issue needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed this week,” he said.
The White Ribbon Campaign is an international organization that has been spreading the initiative around the world since 1991, using the white ribbon to signal opposition to violence against women.