White Ribbon Campaign

October 16 to 23 is White Ribbon Week

This community-wide event raises awareness about domestic violence in Ravalli County. Show your support for ending domestic violence by wearing a white ribbon during the week.

We all have an interest in ending domestic violence. Wearing a ribbon is a simple way to send a powerful message: We all deserve to live in homes that are safe and free from violence. When you wear a white ribbon, you tell people who are experiencing domestic violence their community is supportive and invested in healthy relationships. Some people wear a ribbon to honor lives lost, some to connect with their own experiences. Some people want to show support for victims, some want to raise the standard for how we treat one another. Some people wear a ribbon to start a conversation, and some to renew their commitment to building a healthier community. Why do you wear a white ribbon? Tell us on Facebook, find SAFEintheBitterroot.

What is the White Ribbon Campaign?

The White Ribbon Campaign is a community-wide event to raise awareness about domestic violence in Ravalli County. The campaign gives people an opportunity to make a statement against domestic violence. Wearing a white ribbon symbolizes your commitment to not condone, commit or support domestic violence. It is a very simple way for our community to send a very powerful message- that our families deserve to live in homes that are safe and free from violence.

What is the history of the White Ribbon Campaign?

  • In Ravalli County, we have hosted a White Ribbon Campaign since 1999. That year we distributed about 750 ribbons.
  • This year, the campaign’s 16th, we expect 10,000 plus people will wear a white ribbon.

The White Ribbon Campaign began in Canada in 1991 in response to what many Canadians refer to as “the Montreal Massacre.” On December 6, 1989 a lone gunman walked into the engineering wing of the L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. He separated all of the females from the males and yelled, “You’re all feminists” at the women. He began shooting the women, leaving 14 women dead. This incident caused a Canadian national debate about violence against women. Two years later, a small group of men founded the White Ribbon Campaign as a way of making a statement in support of ending violence against women.  Since 1991, the Campaign has grown tremendously and each year, over a million Canadian men and boys wear white ribbons as a way of remembering the women who died in 1989 and as a way of making a statement against domestic violence.

Why does it matter?

  • Nearly a quarter of the women in our community and nation will experience relationship violence at some point in their lives.
  • Each year, in Ravalli County, S.A.F.E. serves about 400 victims of domestic violence, more than 100 of them children. Studies show that children, particularly boys, who witness domestic violence, are much  more likely to become abusive in their own adult relationships.
  • The CDC estimates that the health-related costs of domestic violence total $8billion annually, including nearly 8 million lost days of paid work-the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs-and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity each year (CDC 2003).

Our entire community benefits from decreasing both the incidence and impact of violence against women.  While this campaign is aimed at adults, particularly men, we are sending a strong message to our children when we do not condone violence against women. When children receive this message, they are hearing the community  say that we, as community members, believe in their safety, we believe that relationships can be non-violent and that every person in our community has value. Delivering this message while children are young is vital to their ability to grow into healthy, loving adults.

How can I be a part of the Campaign?

During the week of the White Ribbon Campaign, we hope men and women in the community will join us in making a statement in support of ending intimate partner violence. By wearing a ribbon, you are making that statement.  We hope community members will also take time during White Ribbon Week to examine their own beliefs about violence and relationships. We hope adults will speak to children about violence being an unacceptable way to solve problems, and we hope adults will speak to each other about creating and modeling respectful relationships.

By wearing a white ribbon, you join in sharing and strengthening a very important message to our community.

In addition to wearing a ribbon, you can:

  • Learn more about intimate partner violence.
  • Encourage co-workers, friends and family to wear a white ribbon.
  • Be a role model – walk the walk and talk the talk. Make sure you act in a non-violent way in your relationships and that you always treat women and girls in a way your sons can admire.
  • Teach early – it’s never too soon to talk to a child about violence. And, teach often – use every opportunity to reinforce the message that violence has no place in a relationship.
  • Speak to other adults about what is respectful and healthy in relationships. Learn to identify and challenge behavior that encourages violence against women.
  • Attend White Ribbon Week events.
  • Write a letter to the editor (Ravalli Republic 363-3300, Bitterroot Star 777-3928,  Missoulian 523-5294)
  • Invite a campaign committee member to speak to your group or workplace about White Ribbon Week and domestic violence (Call 363-2793 to get connected).

Where can I get ribbons?

Ribbons will be available at the S.A.F.E. offices at 150 Morning Star Way and at a variety of businesses and organizations throughout the valley. If you would like ribbons, or if you would like more information about the White Ribbon Campaign, please call 363-2793.