Anti-violence event a 'success'

ROBIN RAYMOND
Last updated 12:41 23/11/2012
White ribbon day
Scott Hammond

Young support: The Bohally Intermediate kapa haka group get ready to perform as part of the White Ribbon Day event

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Men used pledges and sausages in Blenheim yesterday as they took a stand against violence towards women during a White Ribbon day event in Market Square.

Barnado's Marlborough manager and Marlborough Violence Intervention Project member Mike Henderson said the event, where volunteers handed out white ribbons and encouraged people to sign a pledge not to condone or remain silent about family violence, was a positive start to addressing a huge problem of violence by men towards women in Marlborough.

There were 12,000 incidents of family violence reported in Marlborough last year, he said.

"That's reported cases, but there's a heck of a lot of family violence that happens behind closed doors, that's quite scary," Mr Henderson said.

"The sad thing is the stats aren't improving dramatically yet, but that will come, we've just got to keep putting the message out."

Event co-ordinator Nathan Harmon said the day had raised about $425 for Marlborough Women's Refuge through a sausage sizzle and about 100 people had signed a pledge not to remain silent or condone family violence.

Volunteers from organisations ranging from Blenheim police to Birthright Marlborough handed out white ribbons to people passing through the square.

Members of the Marlborough Ulysses motorcycle club and Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman attended to supported the event and the Bohally Intermediate School kapa haka group performed.

Mr Harmon said the day had been a great success, which organisers would build on for next year. One of the most positive aspects was the way more men had stepped forward this year to run the event.

"In previous years the women had been running it and we decided we needed to start looking after our own, that it's our message and we need to front it."

The event had received great support from the community and Marlborough businesses who had donated items including a bouncy castle, the barbecue and sausages, he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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