White Ribbon: Taking Action Around the World to End Violence Against Women – Part 2, the Americas

November 27, 2013 Michael Kaufman

The second of a week-long series with White Ribbon stories & links from around the world.  Scroll down or click here for part one: Australia, New Zealand and the south Pacific.

And check out The Guardian article by Gary Barker and me, “We Must Enlist Men and Boys in the Fight to End Violence Against Women”

Because White Ribbon is a decentralized network, it’s impossible to track down most WR activities in the world.  What is below is only a small sample. I hope you’ll add your own stories and links in the comments section.

Ecuador - Lazo Blanco White Ribbon Poster: Respect is Not Earned by Hitting

The Americas

Argentina Lazo Blanco (White Ribbon) runs workshops and presentations to men, women, and children throughout the year focused on healthy relationships and preventing violence against women. Lazo Blanco organizers work in several South American countries.

Brazil – Laco Branco: As a result of the work of the NGOs that organize Laco Branco, the Brazilian government has proclaimed December 6 as White Ribbon Day. Laco Branco focuses on wide-spread distribution of prevention materials, workshops, and public events that raise awareness about violence against women in the country. This year, in addition to events in many schools, there is a focus on work with refugees, carried out in partnership with the UNHCR. Actions are also planned for many parts of the country, including Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. Each year during Carnivale, there is a white ribbon contingent in Recife. Click here for a Brazilian WR pubic service TV ad.

Canada is the  birthplace of the White Ribbon Campaign and has developed with many independent initiative across the country.  The new mayor of Edmonton, Alberta joined over a hundred men on the steps of City Hall to make a public commitment to speak out to end violence against against women. The group Muslims for White Ribbon encourages Canadian Muslims to take a pledge to fight violence against women in their communities.

Muslims for White Ribbon (Canada)

Together with the Ontario Government, WR has a program aimed at teachers and parents called “It Starts With You”.  The white ribbon, along with red roses, are fixtures in schools, in legislatures, and in many workplaces across the country on December 6, the country’s National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. And here’s a 2009 powerpoint video that talks about the history and approach of the WRC.

Chile – Lazo Blanco organized a poster campaign and large march on November 25 in Santiago together with Red Entre Lazando focused on ending violence against women in the country.  The UN Population Fund supports their work.  Lazo Blanco is active blogging this week and tweets from here.

Santiago, Chile - At the Lazo Blanco Rally - Nov 25 2013

Costa Rica: Lazo Blanco events involve both children and parents to talk about gender roles and violence against women and are run in partnership with  El Instituto Costarricense de Masculinidad, Pareja y Sexualidad. A concert was also held in June to support White Ribbon.


Costa Rica - White Ribbon-Lazo Blanco - Men signing a commitment not to commit, excuse, or remain silent about violence against women

Ecuador Lazo Blanco works in partnership with women’s organizations to do education work and awareness-raising through workshops, marches, public theater and school events. Its Facebook page.

Guatemala: Liston Blanco and its sponsoring NGO, Mujeres Iniciando en las Americas has joined with other courageous women and men to work to end the terrible number of murders of women, both in domestic relations and anonymous murders. They also put on a series of workshops for boys to teach them about the issue of violence against women.  Here’s a video about some of their work.


Nicaragua – Lazo Blanco march 2013


Nicaragua: Lazo Blanco and the Red de Masculinidad por la Iguladad de Genero/REDMAS helped organize a large march in support of a new law against violence against women which, sadly, many in the country, , including well-known political and religious leaders are trying to overturn. been showing our total support to the law. In other activities, the campaign has sponsored a touring theatre performance.

Peru: The campaign has been doing outreach to the press, work with local governments, and public activities where men renounce the use of violence in their relationships.

University of New Hampshire

United States: Because there is no central WR organization in the US, the many Ribbon efforts happen at different times of the year. For example, Massachusetts has a big annual campaign involving political leaders and a government proclamation of an annual WR Day—this year on March 6, helping lead up to International Women’s Day.   … Colleges and universities sponsor much of the WR action, again at different times of the year. For example, University of New Hampshire reached its goal of having 1000 campus men (out of about six thousand) taking a white ribbon pledge…. And here are just two of hundreds of local activities: from Wisconsin and from a fathers’ group in Ohio.

Uruguay: Working with Lazo Blanco in Argentina, events in both countries help raise awareness about violence against women through postering, workshops, marches, and wearing ribbons, as well as events and workshops for youth on the subject. Their facebook page.

ALL THIS WEEK: White Ribbon in Europe.  In the Americas. In Asia. In Africa & the Middle East. In Australia & the Pacific.

Prepared by Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite & Michael Kaufman

White Ribbon’s messages:

  • Although most men don’t use violence in our relationships, all men have a responsibility to helping make it end. Why? Because our silence becomes a form of tacit consent. White Ribbon works to end men’s silence.
  • We know that the violence stems from social inequality between women and men. The violence won’t end until women enjoy full equality in the law, within our religions, in our workplaces, and in our families.
  • We also know that men’s violence stems from the ways we raise boys to be men and the impossible expectations of manhood. If we want to raise boys to be good men who won’t ever use violence, then a model of caring, non-violent masculinity must start in the home. We must stop raising our sons to fear showing feelings, to fear vulnerability, to feel they must always be in control.
  • We recognize the need to go beyond awareness-raising campaigns. We push for better laws, police training, new policies in workplaces, courses for new parents, and school-based programs.

White Ribbon works like this:

  • It is a decentralized campaign. We believe that people know best in their own countries and communities how to reach the men and boys around them.
  • It’s international. Over the years, it’s spread to 70 or 80 countries.
  • In some countries there is an actual WR organization. In most, it’s a campaign run by other organizations or a government office or simply a group of volunteers in a school, workplace, community, or place of worship.
  • It works in partnership with women’s organizations and urges men to listen to women’s voices and concerns.
  • It focuses on positive messages. This is not about collective guilt. This is about working for healthy and loving relationships, and positive models of parenting.

3 Comments on “White Ribbon: Taking Action Around the World to End Violence Against Women – Part 2, the Americas

  1. hace 10 años que accedi a ser un varon del lazo blanco , donde mi compromiso diario se ah cumplido en todos los aspectos , ahora quiero abri , me gustaria q me den asesoramiento y ayuda como personas un centro de varones contra la violencia hacia la mujer y niña en el sur de españa ( granada ). gracias

    1. soy un varon del lazo blanco , donde mi compromiso diario se ah cumplido en todos los aspectos , ahora quiero abri , me gustaria q me den asesoramiento y ayuda como personas un centro de varones contra la violencia hacia la mujer y niña en el sur de españa ( granada ). gracias

  2. I appreciate and applaud what you and other men are doing to STOP violence. Sometimes, silence can be deadly. Not doing anything is actually looking away from the problem. Thank you for starting the white ribbon movement. I look forward to thanking you in person someday.

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