CFJ’s White Ribbon Campaign engages men in violence prevention

Media reports of violence against women jarring reminder more work must be done

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an annual event in which men and boys take a stand against domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Editor’s Note: Debra A. Greenwood is president and CEO of The Center for Family Justice, a nonprofit organization assisting victims and survivors of domestic violence, child and sexual abuse. The center serves the communities of Monroe, Trumbull, Easton, Stratford, Fairfield and Bridgeport.

Recent news has revealed disturbing details of abuse and violence committed by men against women.

These frightening images and videos, which are all over social media, are a stark reminder that we must think of ways to engage men and boys about the warning signs and root causes of intimate partner violence and how to prevent it.

Research shows both domestic violence and sexual assault cause long-term mental health issues in victims, including post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and suicide. While not all acts of intimate partner violence and sexual abuse are committed by men, most violence is.

The good news is The Center for Family Justice has been, through its White Ribbon Campaign, working hard to engage men and boys in ways to prevent gender-based violence. CFJ created the state’s first White Ribbon Campaign in 2008 to raise awareness about the critical role men have in ending violence against women and girls.

Chaired by Gary MacNamara, a retired police chief who is also a member of our Board of Directors, the White Ribbon Campaign works hard to create social change by speaking with men and boys about using their voice to speak up against intimate partner violence and other forms of gender-based violence.

Taking a sports analogy, campaign members liken their work to being an “upstander” – being on the field and doing something that makes a difference instead of being a bystander in the stands watching what is happening.

As Scott Redfern, CFJ Board Secretary and another member of White Ribbon, has said, “it doesn’t have to be major things that we do to make a difference. There are little things we can do every day to make a difference.”

Some examples: challenge victim blaming comments like “why did she stay,” educate yourself about violence against women, understand the risk factors for perpetration, be an example of a healthy relationship, respect all genders and gender identities, and speak up if you see someone disrespecting their partner in any way.

The White Ribbon Campaign is an international initiative that started in Canada after a gunman, claiming he was “fighting feminism,” shot 14 women on a university campus in 1989. The White Ribbon is a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.

CFJ’s White Ribbon Campaign spearheads many public initiatives – including our Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® event in April and our Speaking with Men breakfast every year.

We work with community leaders – coaches, athletes, fraternities, university staff, and others – who are male role models to young men. We engage college and high school students. Fairfield Prep and Masuk High School have their own Walk a Mile events to show solidarity and commitment to becoming upstanders.

Members of Sacred Heart University’s chapter of Delta Tau Delta hosts their own White Ribbon event and many attend CFJ’s Walk A Mile in Fairfield, some even wear the red heels for the entire mile.

Dr. Jay Taylor, an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Fairfield University, spoke at our Speaking with Men event in February. Students and community members alike gave Jay a standing ovation for his presentation about how men and even young boys actually suffer by trying to live up to society’s idea of being a “real man.”

Jay took the audience through his own story, and how he learned to live an authentic life that is now filled with genuine, meaningful and caring friendships.

We hope more men will join us as we build positive relationships so we can help prevent the violence that impacts so many lives. There is another way. Prevention is possible.

For information on getting involved in White Ribbon events, contact Director of Prevention & Community Engagement Amanda Posila at [email protected] or White Ribbon Committee Chairperson Gary MacNamara at [email protected].

All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog

The Monroe Sun covers all of the news of Monroe, CT

Follow Us

© Copyright 2023, The Monroe Sun LLC