It may not yet be ubiquitous like the pink breast cancer ribbon or the red HIV/AIDS ribbon, but the white and purple ribbons are getting up there.
The Sexual Assault Network and Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women are running the White Ribbon Campaign – the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women – in Ottawa.
“For so long, sexual assault and domestic violence have been considered women’s issues,” said Bailey Reid, program co-ordinator of the Neighbours, Friends and Families Campaign and one of the White Ribbon Campaign partners.
“We’ve been leaving men out of the conversation. It’s important that we include them, because there are lots of men out there that are wonderful, healthy role models.
“This is a men’s initiative… for men to wear them, it’s to say that they will never commit, condone or stay silent about violence against women.”
In every community, one in three women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime,” said Reid.
OCTEVAW executive director Erin Williams said statistics for Ottawa show that the violence is not decreasing.
Eight women a day are sexually assaulted in Ottawa, said Williams, and only about 10 per cent of people will report sexual violence cases.
The launch event for 16 days of activism to end violence against women is held at Amnesty International from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. The event is open to the public.
A Vigil to Remember and a Call to Action will be held on the National Day of Remembrance on Dec. 6. The public is invited to gather at Minto Park at 6 p.m. The event will be followed by an indoor vigil at All Saints Anglican Church in Westboro at 7:30 p.m.