White Ribbon Ireland

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What You Can Do:

Don’t endanger your own safety. Call 999 in an emergency.

 If you witness a violent act, you can:

  • Call the police.
  • Be a witness. Stand far enough away to be safe but close enough for the violent person to see you and be aware that they are being watched.
  • Get others’ support. Ask others who are nearby to help.
  • Verbally intervene. Tell the violent person clearly that their actions are not okay, they are a crime, and you are calling the police. Ask the victim if they need help.
    • “Are you okay, do you need a taxi?”
    • Say something to the man: “Hey, what are you doing?” “That’s not on, mate.”
    • Stick around to make sure the situation has cooled down.
    • Create a distraction – so that the abused person has time to get away or the perpetrator slows down or ceases their violence. For example, ask a man harassing a woman on the street for directions or the time.

If you’re aware of violence, you can:

  • Talk to a friend who is verbally or physically abusive to his partner in a private, calm moment, rather than in public or directly after an abusive incident. Tell him that what you witnessed was not okay, and he needs to get some help.
  • Talk to a group of the perpetrator’s friends and, together, decide on a course of action.
  • If you have witnessed a friend or colleague abusing a partner, talk to a group of the victim’s friends and strategise a group response.
  • Talk to the woman – at some point – and let her know you saw what was going on and you’re willing to help her.
  • If you’re a high school or college student, approach a trusted teacher, social worker, or health professional. Tell them what you’ve observed and ask them to do something, or ask them to advise you on how you might proceed.

In situations when your friends are engaged in harassing or abusive behaviour, such as sexually harassing a woman walking by, you can:

  • Distract your friends by saying something like “chill out, guys”.
  • Try to convince your peers to stop.
  • Walk away, signalling your rejection of their harassing behaviour.

Standing up to violence:

Speaking up against violence can be tricky and varies depending on the situation.

To show you are against violence, you can:

  1. Make your concern known.
    • “Hey mate, that’s sexist and I don’t think it’s funny.”
    • “I think those words are really hurtful.”
    • Refrain from laughing when you’re expected to.
  2. Personalise the violence or injustice. Bring it home.
    • “What if that was your sister / daughter / mother?”
    • “I hope no one ever talks about you like that.”
    • Remind him that she has feelings and rights.
    • “Just like your mum or your sister, she has the right to be treated with respect.”
  3. Ask for an explanation.
    • “What are you doing?”
    • “What are you saying?”
  4. Remind him of his ‘best self’.
    • “Come on mate, you are better than that.”
  5. Use your friendship.
    • “Hey mate… as your friend I’ve gotta tell you that getting a girl drunk to have sex with her isn’t cool, and could get you in a lot of trouble. Don’t do it.”
  6. Invite group pressure.
    • “I don’t feel good about this. Does anyone else feel uncomfortable too?”

Find help

White Ribbon is a primary prevention campaign – that is, we work to change the attitudes and behaviors that lead to violence against women. If you or someone you know is experienceing violence and need help or support, please contact one of the support services below. There are national and state-based agencies that can assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Men’s Development Network


Safe Ireland


Women’s Aid

4 steps towards prevention

Four steps towards the prevention of men’s violence against women

1. Live the White Ribbon Commitment

The White Ribbon Commitment is more than just a statement of support for the White Ribbon cause. When you make the commitment to lead by example, to be a role model and to intervene safely when needed, this means:

  • being aware of how your behaviour influences others
  • raising awareness in your friends and colleagues using information from our Resources page, andchallenging sexist and violent behaviour by speaking up about it, urging the perpetrator to seek professional help or contacting the police in an emergency on 999.

2. Break the silence about violence

Violence against women is everyone’s business; the costs to our community are far too great for us to continue turning a blind eye. We need good men like you to make some noise, to issue the “enough is enough” rallying cry. Consider:

  • discussing the issue at every available opportunity, especially in public forums and at public speaking engagements
  • posting a blog or writing an opinion piece on violence against women for your local newspaper, andusing social networks like Twitter and Facebook to spread the White Ribbon message.Grow the campaignUse your influence, and social and professional networks, to increase the campaign’s reach and get more people involved. This could include:

3. Grow the campaign.

Use your influence, and social and professional networks, to increase the campaign’s reach and get more people involved. This could include:

  • hosting a White Ribbon event and raising funds by selling white ribbons and pens
  • completing fundraising challenges and nominating White Ribbon for corporate charity events, and
  • joining, or nominating a friend to join, White Ribbon’s growing organisation of Ambassador

4. Host a White Ribbon event and ‘do your bit’ to help stop men’s violence against women.

White Ribbon Ireland needs your help to raise awareness about the issue of violence against women and there is no better way to do that than to host an event with your colleagues, mates, family or community.

In addition to awareness raising, White Ribbon Ireland runs an Ambassador Program and prevention initiatives with communities, schools, universities, workplaces and sporting codes – all of which require essential funding. You can help us continue this work by selling merchandise and/or holding raffles and auctions at your next event and donating the proceeds to White Ribbon Ireland.

By hosting a White Ribbon event, you are helping to break the silence around violence against women.

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