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Mark NaperBergeronPosted by Mark Bergeron-Naper, DPH Sexual Assault Prevention and Survivor Services

Violence against women is a major public health issue – and everyone has an important role to play in stopping it. On March 1st at the State House, Governor Patrick and DPH Commissioner John Auerbach will be joined by men and boys from across the state for Massachusetts White Ribbon Day 2012. The event is designed to highlight how important it is for men to speak out, stand up and get involved in reducing and preventing violence against women.  

White Ribbon Day logo
The official logo of White Ribbon Day, a global human rights event

The facts are clear. A major new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that:

  • Women experienced high rates of severe intimate partner violence, rape, and stalking, and long-term chronic disease and other health impacts such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
  • Most rape and intimate partner violence is first experienced before age 24, highlighting the importance of preventing this violence before it occurs to ensure that all people can live life to their fullest potential.
  • Prevention efforts should start early by promoting healthy, respectful relationships, addressing the beliefs, attitudes and messages that create a climate that condones sexual violence.

That’s where the Massachusetts White Ribbon Campaign comes in. The goals of our state’s campaign, which is part of the international White Ribbon campaign, are to:

  • Change societal attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate and make excuses for violence against women.
  • Promote safety and respect in all situations.
  • Build a network of resounding voices that will support and advance the efforts of Jane Doe Inc. and other sexual and domestic violence organizations to promote the safety, liberty and dignity of survivors.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Take the pledge to be part of the solution of ending violence against women.
  • Join us on March 1 at 1 pm at the State House or create or attend a local White Ribbon Day Event  in your community.
  • Become a White Ribbon Ambassador in your community.
  • Start the conversation with your family, neighbors and co-workers about creating healthy and equitable relationships, respecting boundaries, and ending violence.
  • Support Massachusetts’ sexual assault and domestic violence programs that work every day to prevent violence against women and reduce its immense impact on survivors, victims’ families, and entire communities. Visit www.mass.gov/dph/violence to find a program near you, or call SafeLink 24/7 at 877-785-2020 / TTY: 877-521-2601.

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health communication writer and editor

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