Martha’s Vineyard Programs Promoting White Ribbon Day Pledge

OAK BLUFFS – Multiple groups on Martha’s Vineyard are working to raise awareness for the White Ribbon Day campaign.

The campaign seeks to end violence against women and other gender-based violence by asking men and teen boys to take a pledge.

Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ CONNECT to End Violence Program and Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s Stand With Everyone Against Rape, or SWEAR, program are recruiting men on the island to commit to the campaign and serve as ambassadors.

“Violence against women, all gender-based violence, touches everyone, whether it’s specifically directly to themselves or to someone they know and love,” said Jennifer Neary,  MVCS’s CONNECT to End Violence Program Director.

“It’s a good opportunity to be engaged when maybe you might not have time to otherwise.”

Men on the island are asked to take the pledge themselves and encourage male colleagues and friends to commit to taking the pledge and wearing a white ribbon.

White Ribbon Day is Thursday, March 5.

“We each can do a small part and help combat this epidemic,” Neary said.

Neary said there has been strong community support on the island over the last decade when it comes to awareness about violence against women.

The CONNECT program is spreading awareness through displaying information at community buildings on the island, including town halls, libraries and police stations.

“Our youth is very much engaged,” Neary said. “We have an outstanding group of student leaders at our Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.”

Thirty-two students involved with the SWEAR program take a leadership role in raising awareness.

Students will be hosting table events with the sports teams’ captains for boys and girls basketball and hockey games leading up to White Ribbon Day.

“They will be spreading awareness and the team captains will be making statements at the beginning of each game to raise awareness about the issue and the White Ribbon Day pledge, and welcome everyone who is there to take the pledge with them,” Neary said.

Neary said they look forward to continuing to spread the awareness and inviting everyone to be involved with being part of the solution.

White Ribbon Day started in 1991 in Canada two years after the Montreal Massacre, which saw 14 female college students killed by a gunman with 13 others wounded.

The campaign has grown internationally over the past two decades.

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