HISTORY OF WHITE RIBBON DAY - INTERNATIONALLY
On the 2 December 1989, 14 women were massacred at L'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. Two years later a handful of Canadian men initiated White Ribbon Day (WRD) to mark the anniversary of the 1989 massacre. The group of men established the WRD Campaign to urge men to speak out against violence against women.
In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly declared November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The white ribbon (WR) has become the recognised symbol of the WRD campaign. Wearing a WR is a visible statement to the community that this person will not commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. The Australian Government's Office for Women joined the campaign in 2000. Today, thousands of WR are worn by men and women across Australia. Ballarat WRD supports and promotes the movement to end violence against women.
The initiative of men as WRD ambassadors invites men to stand up in their community and say no to violence against women. WRD ambassadors are men in society who hold an influential position at a national, state or local level. Furthermore they are considered to be an exemplary role model, an inspiring and motivational leader and someone who is a significant representative of a large male community. Men interested in becoming Ambassadors can find the necessary information on the national website.
HISTORY OF WHITE RIBBON DAY - LOCALLY
The Ballarat White Ribbon Day Committee
In 2003 the Australian Committee of UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) decided to partner with men’s and women’s organisations to create a national appeal to raise awareness of the White Ribbon Campaign. This would lead to the formation of the White Ribbon Foundation in 2007.
In 2004 a member of the Zonta Club of Ballarat on the UNIFEM (now UN Women) Australia board approached a number of Ballarat organisations to join the White Ribbon campaign. A group of Ballarat community organisations gathered to discuss the formation of the Ballarat White Ribbon Day Committee and to drive the White Ribbon Campaign in the local community and in 2005 a committee with representatives from Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA), Victoria Police, Zonta Club of Ballarat, WRISC Family Violence Support, Child and Family Services (CAFS), Women’s Health Grampians and the City of Ballarat was formed.
The early years of the committee saw regular White Ribbon Day functions held on the 25th November, the establishment of the Community White Ribbon Ambassador program and the Youth Ambassador program.
Ballarat White Ribbon Day Inc has now been incorporated, with a Committee elected by members. Committee members are connected with a range of community organisations and local businesses and work to raise awareness of the campaign all year round. The President's report to the first Annual General Meeting is under the About Us - News tag.