The Wheaton College baseball team and SMART (Sexual Misconduct and Assault Resource Team) collaborated this year to sponsor the sixth annual White Ribbon Campaign to end violence against women.
A table was set up in the Balfour-Hood Campus Center on Thursday, March 7 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Here students signed a pledge to “never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women and girls.” Signers could pick up white ribbons to pin onto their clothing to show support for the movement. The table also provided information on the worldwide anti-violence campaign, as well as information on resources one could use if they or someone they know is a victim of violence or assault.
The White Ribbon Campaign debuted in 1991, on the second anniversary of the massacre of 14 women in Montreal, Quebec. The campaign was set up with the purpose of urging men to step up and speak out about violence against women. Today there are currently over 5 million signatures in support of the movement.
“Manly men stand up for the weak regardless of gender or race,” said Marcel Wolf Angliviel de la Beaumelle ’15. “Violence against women isn’t acceptable — it’s a violation of the social contract and men should be especially attentive to uphold it.”
The campaign points out the outdated stigma of what manhood is and encourages change through education, increased awareness and outreach.
Further goals of the movement surround the promotion of safety and respect in relationships, creating a positive image of masculinity that includes personal peace and cooperation and changing attitudes that make excuses for violence against women.
“Violence against women is an act against masculinity, it’s a sign of personal weakness,” said Julian Fox Spector ’15. “Strong men don’t hit women.”
Jane Doe, Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, created the Massachusetts White Ribbon Day in 2008. The organization has recruited nearly 500 ambassadors to promote the pledge. It works to secure funding, create laws and change regulatory and administrative practice and policies to enhance sexual assault and domestic violence intervention and prevention services for victims and their families. They also work to ensure that perpetrators are held responsible for their actions.
The Wheaton College baseball team will be hosting a game on Sunday, April 14 against the University of Southern Maine to support the initiative and increase awareness. The Wheaton website also offers various resources for students seeking support such as the Counseling Center, the 24-hour New Hope hotline, Safelink and other hotline