25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and We Can! Singapore is launching a local chapter of the White Ribbon campaign.
Originating in Canada, the White Ribbon Campaign is a global movement which unites men and boys in working towards an end to violence against women and girls.
White Ribbon Week (25 November to 1 December) will take place during the global ‘16 days of activism’ against violence against women (25 November to 10 December). Both will be marked in Singapore with activities organised by We Can! Singapore.
The activities will be accompanied by an ongoing social media campaign highlighting the role that men and boys can play in opposing violence against women and girls.
During the campaign, male supporters are invited to wear white ribbons to express opposition to violence against women and girls.
We Can! will send white ribbons to prominent men in Singaporean society, including:
● All male Members of Parliament
● Top-ranking civil servants and public servants including those in law enforcement and security agencies, such as the Singapore Police Force, the Attorney General's Chambers and the Singapore Armed Forces
● The Board and CEO of the People’s Association
● Prominent corporate leaders
● Major figures in the sporting, cultural, artistic and other community spheres, including the Singapore Lions, SEA games athletes, MediaCorp artistes, local radio DJs and more
These men will receive a card and letter along with the ribbon explaining the campaign. They are asked to wear the ribbon, and to post selfies and messages of support with the hashtag #WhiteRibbonSG. Members of the public are also invited change their social media profile pictures to white ribbons.
Some organisations have already pledged their support of the campaign. Many of the white ribbons were made by staff of the Centre for Creative Leadership Singapore, whose male staff will also wear the ribbon during the campaign week.
All-male barber’s shop Truefitt and Hill, as well as bars Kyo and Refuge, will not only see their male staff wearing ribbons, but will also display white ribbon decals and flyers in their premises. The Singapore Lions will also be endorsing this campaign by publicly sporting the ribbons.
Kokila Annamalai, We Can!’s Campaign Manager said, “In Singapore and globally, women and girls are more likely to face some kinds of violence - like domestic violence, sexual violence and harassment.”
In 2014, 2951 Personal Protection Order (PPO) applications, three in four applications, were made by women.
Over 200 women sought help from AWARE's Sexual Assault Care Centre last year, and the centre says that the number is rising.
“Violence against women isn’t simply a women’s issue,” said Alvin Wong, We Can!’s Programme Coordinator. “It’s a leadership issue – all of society’s leaders need to show decisiveness and vision by addressing it.”
Events held during campaign week:
- From 25 November to 1 December, prominent men will wear white ribbons as part of a #WhiteRibbonSG social media campaign.
- Supporting organisations – from the Football Association of Singapore and the Centre for Creative Leadership to the Singapore Kindness Movement, bars and barbers – are spreading the word with #WhiteRibbonSG posts and white ribbon displays.
- On 25 November, White Ribbon releases a campaign video featuring Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam, actor Adrian Pang, professional race car driver Alex Yoong, Vasantham personality Varman, and others.
- On 28 November, the Ride Against Violence bike and jeep rally will take place, organised by We Can! together with partners Beyond Social Services, Harley-Davidson of Singapore and Chrysler Jeep.
- On 2 December, the ‘Because I’m a Man’ campaign video will be released, highlighting the role that men can play to help end violence.
- On 6 December, the annual We Can! Arts Fest returns for a third time with RALLY at the Singapore Arts Museum, which will include a guest speech by author Neil Humphreys.