Strong but not silent about violence

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 13/11/2012
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ANDY JACKSON
Anglican Bishop Philip Richardson is getting behind the White Ribbon Appeal.

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Prominent Taranaki men Bishop Philip Richardson and "Lotto Man" Michael Self want to encourage manly behaviour in Taranaki blokes.

They join 70 other men from the region who have joined the White Ribbon pledge this year to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women - double the number of signatures White Ribbon received in Taranaki last year.

Bishop of Taranaki Philip Richardson said his support stemmed from a strong personal conviction against any kind of violence.

"New Zealand has a terrible record for violence. Men are largely the perpetrators and it's not acceptable, it's not manly."

A global change needed to start at a local level, he said.

"If my support helps even one person it will be worth it. The local community needs to take a stand."

He said any kind of violence was unacceptable but men in particular needed to clean up their act.

"The reality is that 14 women a year are killed by their partners," he said.

"Yes, there is violence against men, but violence against women is far more prevalent."

"Lotto Man" Michael Self said he was "chuffed" when his daughter suggested he join the campaign.

"She said: ‘Dad you're a little bit well known, why don't you sign the pledge?"'

Mr Self said the presence of Wilson, the Lotto dog, on the campaign carried important symbolism.

"Dogs will never fight and attack bitches. A dog will fight a dog, but never attack a bitch. That's a pretty strong symbol."

It was about breaking the cycle of violence in society and getting men to step up, he said.

"Violence is a horrible thing which has never changed. It's part of our society and it needs to stop."

Mr Self recalled a job he had lost because he stood up for a colleague's wife who was a victim of violence.

"It's not just something that happens in low decile groups. Some are just better at hiding it."

Taranaki Safe Families Co-ordinator Marion James said it was good for the community to see prominent men speaking out against family violence.

Family violence levels in Taranaki were about equal with other regions, but a lot went unseen.

"Over 50 per cent of the calls received at the New Plymouth Police Station are family violence related, but only 20 per cent are reported."

White Ribbon Day was introduced to New Zealand in 2004.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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