These hands won’t harm

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Brenda Kingsford, Anna Arrowsmith, and James Meager will be helping out with the White Ribbon campaign quiz night.
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Safe Families Ashburton are hosting a quiz night for their annual White Ribbon campaign.
The campaign aims to reduce men’s violence towards women and raise awareness about recognising, preventing, and changing abusive behaviour.
The quiz night, at the Hotel Ashburton on Friday, November 18, is the main fundraising effort for this year’s campaign, with proceeds going back into the community to support anti-violence efforts.
Anna Arrowsmith, safe families co-ordinator with Safer Mid Canterbury said, ‘‘The funds from the evening will go back into our local White Ribbon campaign, which we then use to create resources that fit with our community or to provide free educational training workshops such as Hindsight (held last week).’’
In support of the Mid Canterbury campaign, the ‘White Riders’, also known as the White Ribbon Riders, will be speaking at the Ashburton Motorcycle Show, on Saturday, November 19.
The White Riders are a group of men who travel the country on their motorcycles to speak about and stand against violence towards women.
‘‘A lot of them are ex-family violence perpetrators, and they tell their story of change,’’ Anna said, ‘‘but their whole purpose and campaign is really around eliminating violence towards women.
‘‘They speak around family violence in New Zealand, what that looks like and how we need to make changes and the changes that they’ve made. They’re going to be set up at the motorcycle show and just be interacting with the public there.’’
Many of the riders use their past to represent change and promote healthy masculinity, which is the focus of this year’s White Ribbon campaign.
The campaign addresses how it’s OK to for men to be vulnerable, to show and talk about their feelings, challenging preconceived ideas that too many New Zealanders carry.
It reflects on what we, as a society, can do to redefine this staunch culture, starting with what we teach our children.
‘‘It takes strength and bravery to stand up and speak out in a world that too often wants to limit you to stereotypical gender roles,’’ wrote White Ribbon manager Rob McCann.

‘‘We need to celebrate the good we see in our young men and change the script.‘‘Boys have heart – encourage them to show it, not just in being tough or brave or strong but in showing that they care. Boys can and should cry – it’s part of being human and it serves a purpose, expressing your feelings allows you to work through them – bottling up emotions isn’t healthy.’’
To promote this, Safe Families Ashburton will have male representatives who stand against violence towards women to speak at and host the quiz night.
James Meager, National candidate representative for Rangitata, will be one of the speakers.
‘‘It’s particularly important in smaller rural communities who don’t necessarily have the places for victims of family harm to go to,’’ James said, when considering why it’s important to spread awareness.
‘‘Without places for them to go, it makes it harder to get the help that you need and you’re almost forced to stay silent because you’ve got nowhere else to turn to.’’
Ambassadors present at the quiz will also include Evans Chibanguza, although an MC is yet to be locked down for the night.

The quiz will have rounds sponsored by local businesses, who will be able to contribute their own questions.
Anna said previous White Ribbon campaigns have increased public awareness, not just around what family harm looks like, but how people can help even if they’re removed from the situation.
‘‘The message is definitely more out there that family violence belongs to a community mobilisation response, instead of it just being ‘what happens in their house behind their closed doors is up to them’ sort of thing,’’ she said.
‘‘There has been a shift there, in that by-stander space, the by-stander being able to call out ‘what’s that – that’s not okay’, or however that looks. There’s more people willing to speak out against it or share their stories of it.’’
The quiz night is open to teams of six and costs $15 per person, payable at the door.
Registrations are essential, so register your team by contacting Anna at [email protected] or 027 722 3204.

Local businesses looking to sponsor a round can also get in contact with Anna. Sponsorship is $100.

-By Indi Roberts