On Feb. 14, 2005, West Chester University’s Man-Up Organization was stationed in Sykes Student Union to spread the awareness of White Ribbon Day to students and faculty. Each day last week was filled with programs and seminars for Men’s Issues Week. On Monday, there was a discussion on inner city violence and why African American men kill each other. The purpose of the Man-Up Organization is not to suggest that the male race is brutal and insensitive, but to encourage men to take an active part in helping to stop those few men who are.
White Ribbon Day is celebrated with the intentions of getting men to realize important issues, such as violence against women. Many men are unaware of exactly how much help they can be by wearing a white ribbon. Since it is only a small number of the male population that uses violence against women, it is up to the majority of the men to influence others and make a difference.
WCU males were asked to sign a vow last Tuesday which read as follows: “I pledge to: speak out my anger about rape; talk with other men about ending rape; look at how men are raised that helps create a culture where rape is possible; interrupt rape jokes; support laws that encourage men to take responsibility for ending rape; listen to women friends’ fears and concerns for their safety; pay attention to cries for help; challenge images of violence against women in advertising and pornography; encourage women to be strong and powerful; recognize that cooperation is power; change whatever I am doing that creates a culture where rape is possible; support women and men working to end rape.” Afterwards, they received a white ribbon to wear in order to increase the knowledge of White Ribbon Day to the rest of campus.
Wearing a white ribbon symbolizes the wearer’s credence that violence against women is bad, and needs to be ended. It does not mean that the wearer has lived a perfect life or has never had violent relationships in the past. It can be the newly-found belief that violent behavior is cruel and unnecessary. It shows acceptance of a responsibility that they have to help make the world a safer place not only for women but for males as well.
Usually, men who are involved in relationships or are very close to the female members of their families are very interested in becoming involved in this campaign. These men are able to realize that a violence-free world can result in more equality between men and women, creating closer relationships without distrust.
These males who wear white ribbons are also aware that without putting women in dangerous situations, they are still able to maintain their masculinity. Treating women with respect doesn’t lessen their ability to still be the “man of the house.”
Man-Up thanks the WCU males who wore white ribbons to acknowledge their commitment to this very serious cause. For more information, students may visit www.whiteribbonday.org.