SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) Stand up, speak out, get involved — that’s the message from Vera House for the 26th Annual White Ribbon Campaign that runs throughout the month of March.
Led by men, it honors survivor’s truths and raises awareness to end violence by putting men in a position to empower survivors, and help end domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Before March begins, Vera House hosts a White Ribbon Campaign breakfast on Friday, Feb. 28.
“It was a series of emotions, still going through it today,” said James Branche a co-chair of the White Ribbon Campaign. “So it kind of never ends, you never forget about that person.”
Knowing a survivor and the pain that violence leaves behind for years to come, Branche wears his white ribbon proudly, hoping it will spark a conversation and make a difference.
“Challenge their friends to what the idea of a healthy relationship is, that’s powerful,” said Branche.
That’s what the campaign is all about. “Men standing up and taking a lead saying ‘enough is enough,'” said George Kilpatrick Jr. the Men’s Outreach Coordinator for Vera House.
“There’s a small percentage of men who are committing these crimes, but it’s the overwhelming majority of us who stand by and do nothing,” said Kilpatrick Jr.
Part of the White Ribbon Campaign includes the 12-men model:
It’s an opportunity to flip the script, encourage men to speak out, organizations to start their own campaigns, and for the community to stand together at the walk on March 20.
“Are you silent in the face of it happening in front of you? Do you say something to your guys when they’re making sexist comments or comments that are demeaning to women? Are you saying anything or are you just saying ‘oh it’s locker room talk I’m just laughing it off,'” said Kilpatrick Jr.
“It can be as simple as being a little bit more kinder,” said Kilpatrick Jr. “It’s a change a subtle as that, that we can make a change and have an impact.”
It’s a commitment to never support, commit, or remain silent about abuse.
White Ribbon Campaign wristbands have the 24-hour crisis hotline number hidden inside 315-468-3260. Branche encourages people to wear the wristband and give it to someone who may need it, so they can call when they’re ready.
Ways to get involved:
- Hold a campaign at your place of work
- Wear a White Ribbon Campaign wristband
- Wear a White Ribbon pin
- Purchase Vera House White Ribbon Campaign candy bars
- Walk with Vera House on March 20
- Share your efforts with Vera House on social media by tagging @VeraHouseInc with the hashtag #NoExcuseForAbuse
For more local news follow Nicole Sommavilla on Twitter/NeSommavilla.