In keeping with the ‘Thanks a Million’ theme of National Volunteer Week 2013 (13-19 May), White Ribbon Australia is taking this very special opportunity to thank its many volunteers, who generously donate their time to helping prevent violence against women.
National Volunteer Week (NVW), the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Australia, provides a platform to pay tribute to the six million Australians who donate their time to help others.
White Ribbon Australia CEO, Libby Davies, said the important role of volunteers in society should not be underestimated; many charities would struggle to survive without the support of volunteers, who contribute more than 700 million hours of community service. They are the unsung heroes.
"In the case of White Ribbon Australia, volunteers are essential for furthering our work in raising awareness, and changing attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence against women," Ms Davies said.
"Their support has also greatly contributed to the longevity of White Ribbon Australia, which celebrates its 10th year in May with the inaugural international conference Global to Local: Preventing Men’s Violence against Women – Research, Policy and Practice in One Space.
"Whether it be selling White Ribbon merchandise on White Ribbon Day (November 25) or lending your skills to our organisation, we are very grateful for your support."
White Ribbon Australia warmly welcomes new volunteers. To register your interest, please visit www.whiteribbon.org.au/volunteer or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on White Ribbon Australia’s inaugural international conference, visit www.whiteribbon.org.au/globaltolocal.
Friday, May 3, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
White Ribbon Australia welcomes former Chief of Army, retired Lieutenant-General Ken Gillespie as Chair.
Dear supporters/fellow Ambassadors
After six years as Chairman of the Board of White Ribbon Australia, I have decided to take a break. I will of course remain a very active Ambassador and in all likelihood will return to the Board at some stage in the future. But I feel the time is right for some new blood at the top of the organisation, and I'm genuinely excited by the expertise and enthusiasm we have waiting in the wings amongst our Ambassadorial brethren!
I have been an Ambassador for White Ribbon since the campaign's inception back in 2003 when it was really just a group of 12 or so people, sitting around a table, wondering what could be done about the silent epidemic of violence in Australia. At that point, I knew nothing about this issue other than that violence against women was plainly wrong.
But since those early days, I have watched with enormous pride as we, all of us, have helped to put VAW on the social map and on the political agenda, and have become a catalyst for the growing awareness that things CAN change. Domestic violence is no longer considered a private issue; Australians from all walks of life now feel empowered to speak up and demand justice; men are now seen as the key to the solution and not simply the cause of the problem; and prevention has become recognised as the foundation stone of change. This has all happened since White Ribbon Australia came into being and so much of it is due to your efforts.
Of course, there are many many women who have worked in the area of domestic violence and sexual assault for decades, whose teachings and support for White Ribbon have been crucial to our growth and whose wisdom we will continue to seek. I thank them all for their kindness and their acceptance of our male-led campaign into an area where many had every right to distrust us. One of the things that has warmed my heart most of all about White Ribbon is seeing the way that preconceptions and differences melt away when people honestly commit to a mutual goal for good.
There's a lot more we still have to do. Now that people are aware of the enormity of the problem of violence against women, our next task is to motivate them to want to end it. And then to give them the tools to make that change happen. That's a massive job, and it's our job.
Now, I'm not going to write a memoir here, but I do want to say one or two things to you my fellow Ambassadors, things that I think we need always to remember if we really want to get that job done.
- Firstly, I believe it's important that every one of us continues to learn about the problem of violence against women - its causes, its prevalence, its many impacts, and the strategies for change. It is essential that we become articulate spokespeople for our cause, that we really know our stuff, because it's our understanding and our fire that will win our mates over.
- Secondly, we should never pass up the smallest opportunity to demonstrate to our sons and mates and colleagues what respect and equality really means in our life, whether that's by the way we treat the women in our lives, or the talk that we tolerate amongst our friends, or the lessons that we chose to teach our sons and daughters about the things they see in the world around them every day. If we want them to see the possibilities for change, we have to be those possibilities.
- And lastly, we should all know that what we're trying to achieve is something completely new, and that the way we're going about it is at the frontiers of change. So we should never be embarrassed by what we don't yet know and we should never be afraid to test out new ideas. The White Ribbon office is there to support you, but you are the drivers of this change. So use our resources and be bold in the job fellas.
Your new Chairman is a wonderful asset to the Foundation. Former Chief of Army, retired Lieutenant-General Ken Gillespie brings to White Ribbon Australia a wealth of experience after a long and uniquely distinguished military career. He has a very strong track record of successful institutional and workplace reform, and just as importantly, Ken has provided strong personal leadership in acknowledging and addressing some of the key cultural issues currently facing our armed forces. His military and his recent industry experiences have helped Ken establish a very strong leadership reputation and as such he has a strong and influential network of national political, government and corporate leaders. Ken is well placed, along with the skills and capacity of other Board members, to keep White Ribbon Australia at the forefront of the cultural reform necessary to address the tragedy of men's violence against women.
Okay, well that's about it for now. Best of luck in all your endeavours this year, thanks for being the leading lights of the White Ribbon campaign, and I look forward to seeing you out and about at one of the Ambassador events. Keep up the great work…I know for a fact that it's making a difference to the lives of our wives and daughters and sisters and mums and friends and girlfriends, and the millions of other women and girls that we don't know, all of whom deserve the same opportunities for happiness and peace that most of us Aussie men take for granted.
Posted by White Ribbon Foundation at 1:02 PM