man speaking at the MA 2016 White Ribbon Day celebration
MA White Ribbon Day celebration, 2016. Photo: © 2016 Marilyn Humphries

Men’s Activism: White Ribbon Campaign

By Craig Norberg-Bohm | October 15, 2011
Last Revised on Apr 20, 2016

In 1991, on the second anniversary of one man’s massacre of 14 women in Montreal, Canadian men created the White Ribbon Campaign to urge men everywhere to speak out against violence against women. Today, this is a worldwide campaign in 60 countries that has collected more than 5 million signatures to the pledge, “I promise to never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women.”

While violence affects us all, men have a particular relationship to violence against women and the means to help stop it. This campaign asks men to eliminate the social values among males that support and foster violence against women. Although not all men are violent, each man has a role and responsibility to play in ending this violence. That starts by changing long-accepted and deeply rooted beliefs about male authority.

The White Ribbon campaign focuses not on individual acts of violence but rather on broader social frameworks that encourage unhealthy behaviors. It fosters a deep mutual accountability among men to one another and to women. We seek to uphold our commitments as fathers, partners, friends, colleagues, brothers, and sons of women and girls and to broaden definitions of masculinity to include men and boys who support, nurture, and foster authentic and respectful relationships.

At local White Ribbon Days around the United States and the world, this campaign celebrates nonviolence as a demonstration of our manhood and holds this value as an example for our children and other men. Check out these photos and videos from Boston’s 2016 White Ribbon Day. For more information, see White Ribbon Day Massachusetts and White Ribbon Day Worldwide.