On 25th November 2014 the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) celebrated its annual ‘White Ribbon Day’, whereupon they beat their chests about the wonderful job they (say they) are doing, and sought to fill their coffers via donations and merchandise sales.
I visited their Facebook page at that time and noticed quite a number of dissenters posting comments there. In true feminist fashion these were slyly removed during the course of the day (as discussed in this blog post). WRC representatives responded to the nay-sayers by castigating them for complaining about WRC’s focus on female victims, and/or by telling them to go and start their own organisation to address violence towards men.
Without doubt there would be many people out there who would say, how could anyone be so mean-spirited as to criticise the White Ribbon Campaign? So what if they focus solely on female victims of domestic violence, at least they are still helping someone? Surely any publicity that raises awareness of the problem of domestic violence is a good thing? Lots of celebrities support WRC so they must be doing something useful otherwise those people wouldn’t risk their reputations, right? Right?
The WRC believes, or at least tries to make others believe, that those opposing it are misogynists who are angry about its sole focus on female victims. In actual fact, in most cases, that is not the root cause of disquiet about their operation.
So, if this issue isn’t the main issue of concern, then what is?
1. WRC’s lack of honesty and transparency, and their censorship, shaming and attacks on others holding alternative views
Publicly, the WRC’s rationale for focusing solely on female victims is based on their claim that the “overwhelming” majority of domestic violence is perpetrated by males upon females. Privately, the driving force behind WRC is its rigid adherence to feminist ideology.
Misleading statements, concerning the nature and extent of domestic violence, sabotage the efforts of others to institute fairer and more effective programs to combat domestic violence. It is hard to believe that this continual misrepresentation of statistical ‘evidence’ to support the focus adopted by WRC is inadvertent. The strategic invention &/or misrepresentation of ‘facts’ in this manner is a hallmark of contemporary feminism.
These false assertions have the effect of denying male victims of domestic violence appropriate recognition or support, and of unfairly demonising men in general. Another outcome is the lack of attention given to abusive women through, for example, the provision of behaviour modification programs for female offenders.
Thus the problem is not that the WRC focuses on male violence towards women, but that – for strategic reasons – they fail to acknowledge other significant elements of domestic violence. No, in fact they do more than that. They argue that those whose priorities differ from their own are (at best) ignorant and misguided, and at worst that they are abusers themselves.
The message disseminated by WRC seeks to make a complex social issue appear simple. This is useful in attracting and maintaining the interest, and subsequently the financial support, of the public. Part of this involves inventing a single easily-identifiable bogey-man – the heterosexual male.
WRC’s approach also handily puts the onus for addressing the problem onto men and absolves women of any responsibility in relation to either causing the problem or fixing it.
2. The fact that WRC diverts, both strategically and inadvertently, public and private funds away from programs where they might be used more effectively in the fight against domestic violence and/or in assisting victims of DV
The effects of misrepresentations by WRC, when combined with substantial marketing efforts, political acumen, and a social environment highly supportive of feminism, sees WRC exert a significant influence on government policies and decisions regarding resource allocation to DV.
WRC compromise efforts to reduce domestic violence and assist male victims because they misrepresent both the nature of the problem and the nature of potential solutions. In so doing they side-track us from identifying and implementing more effective solutions. This skews the nature of research undertaken, in turn skewing the nature of support services provided.
WRC are not satisfied for a reasonable share of funds to be directed towards feminist groups like their own, they want all available funds so directed.
Questions have also been raised as to WRC’s ability to competently manage public funds, and the extent to which its operations are financially self-serving. Ironically this is happening at the expense of men, given that men contribute the majority of tax revenue.
Browsing through a recent annual report for White Ribbon Australia was illuminating. To give an example, unless I have misread this page, WRC burnt more than $400,000 in one year just on share trading.
According to White Ribbon Australia’s corporate annual report for 2013, they gambled their donations in the stock market and lost one fourth of their current assets! In other words, they lost almost $500,000 AUS playing the stock market with the public’s donations! Here is what their corporate annual report states:
“Total equity declined from $1,193,398 to $751,611 as a result of the trading loss.”
Society’s current predilection for placing feminism and feminist organisations on a pedestal, goes hand in hand with inadequate government oversight and serious lapses in accountability. History has shown us that this type of situation usually ends badly. It is quite simply a scandal waiting to happen. (I talk about this problem in my post on the Domestic Violence Industry)
WRC’s involvement in running programs in schools
White Ribbon’s involvement in running what are essentially feminist indoctrination programs in schools has been a source of considerable concern for many. This is the subject of the sources listed below, and is discussed further in this blog post.
Bankstown Public School boys “all say no” to abuse against women in their own hip hop song and video (24 March 2015) Hmm, no sign of a girl’s choir singing nice things about boys … funny that.
We mustn’t make boys feel bad about being male (3 December 2014) with 193 reader’s comments
Why does the White Ribbon Campaign make these errors of judgement, and why will it continue to do so?
WRC will continue down its current path because doing so supports feminist ideology and helps grow the influence of that movement, a goal that is of paramount importance to them. As a consequence, targeting anything or anyone that threatens the feminist narrative in relation to domestic violence is accorded a high priority (see my posts on Tanveer Ahmed and Sallee McLaren for example).
Secondly, it is financially lucrative for WRC to continue their current operating model. Misrepresenting the nature of domestic violence, and exaggerating its scale, stimulates further public support and government funding. This then channels additional funds towards themselves, other feminist enterprises and individual feminists (as per my post on the Domestic Violence Industry).
(Postscript November 2018: Could this be the end? Sponsors abandon White Ribbon and Bye Bye White Ribbon (13 November 2018). And now ‘Anti-domestic violence organisation White Ribbon in $800,000 debt‘ (19 February 2019)
Mixed feelings on the demise of White Ribbon Australia, by the One in Three organisation (8 October 2019)
White Ribbon Australia entry in ACNC database with links to annual reports
Public money wasted on domestic violence organisations, by Bettina Arndt (9 July 2016)
We stop violence at the source. And the source is men (28 June 2016) White Ribbon CEO Libby Davies defends White Ribbon (see article below), and in so doing happily throws men under the bus. Oh, but see the readers comments that follow (240+ at last count), NONE of which support Libby’s misandric stance. Here is a subsequent radio interview with Tom Elliot concerning Libby’s article, with further comments from Tom here.
Reddit discussion thread concerning RSL employee forced to recite White Ribbon pledge (29 February 2016) See also detailed comment by ‘Imnotmrabut’
Domestic violence and White Ribbon day – help change the debate, by Bettina Arndt (21 November 2015) Australia
The secrets and lies of White Ribbon (November 2015)
Men’s anti-Domestic Violence advocate says scourge “is a male problem” (13 September 2015) Unlike Tanveer Ahmed this WRC Ambassador stuck to the script … good boy Dean … good boy <pat on head>
White Ribbbon misinformation (11 September 2015)
Paul Elam from AVfM on the White Ribbon Campaign (4 December 2014) Video interview
Video critical of White Ribbon Campaign blocked in Australia (1 December 2014)
White Ribbon Australia lies – Interview with Dr Greg Canning (24 November 2014)
False claims undermine good causes (24 November 2014)
White Ribbon Day overestimates reported rapes eight-fold (25 November 2014)
Please click on the ‘White Ribbon Campaign’ tag at the bottom of this page to see further blog posts related to this organisation.