This is the second in a series of blogs titled “Cause of the Month”.
December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (or White Ribbon Day) in Canada. Today, I decided to write a blog talking about it, not only because it is today, but also because it is a cause that should be important to everyone. We all have women in our lives who we love, so let’s take a look at what started this movement and what we can do to help support women.
What is White Ribbon Day?
White Ribbon Day started as a result of a massacre that happened in 1989. A gunman killed 14 women on this day, in an attempt to fight feminism. There was a public reaction that caused the Canadian Parliament to declare December 6, the day of the massacre, a national day of remembrance.
How do we observe White Ribbon Day?
Observation of White Ribbon Day is solemn. Canadian flags are at half-mast, and many Canadians wear white ribbons to signify their support of this cause. Some places also observe a moment of silence to remember the women whose lives were lost. These are the most common ways to observe, although many people will work with charities or other organizations to bring awareness to this cause.
Why is this still celebrated today?
Violence against women will probably never end. While massacres are uncommon, other forms of violence happen often. Various forms of abuse still need to be combatted, as there are new cases of violence reported regularly. White Ribbon Day gives people the chance to openly discuss these issues and strive to prevent incidents like this from occurring.
Who is spreading awareness?
Many organizations work to spread awareness, as well as raise money for women who are victims of violence. White Ribbon is a Canadian-based international organization that works with men to change their approach toward women. Right now, there is a campaign running for men to spend 20 minutes talking to their sons about sexual consent. This is based on the Brock Turner case. The organization also works with influential men to get the message out there that violence against women is bad. This comes in the form of publications, public events, and pledges to stand together.
What can I do today?
Everyone can spread the message of White Ribbon Day to their friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else they may know. It is important to get the word out about this cause. You can also speak with women you know about the struggles they go through with safety. While we may not be able to steer everyone away from violence, we can brainstorm other ways to stop violence before it starts. Finally, we can stand together with women, showing our support for their well-being.