"Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man" - Mahatma Gandhi
The Black Ribbon New Zealand campaign (BRNZ) is a slowly growing movement of New Zealanders working to end violence in it's communities, including (and primarily) domestic violence. It was formed by a group of people concerned about the discriminatory messages of anti-violence campaigns which infer that domestic violence is something done almost exclusively to women by men.

Black Ribbon seeks to remove all forms of discrimination from discussions about violence, and bring about a heightened national awareness that anyone can be a perpetrator of violence, and anyone can be a victim.

Discrimination prohibited under the New Zealand Human Rights Act 1993 includes sex/gender, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status, and sexual orientation.

Black Ribbon New Zealand focuses on violence as a human concern and addresses violence in all forms and against all persons, with primary focus on forms of violence most often perpetrated by partners, spouses, and caregivers of children, the elderly, and the disabled. Violence includes interpersonal, collective and self-directed violence, and therefore Black Ribbon also acknowledges the high rate of suicide in New Zealand, and proposes that self-harm and suicide are forms of violence that urgently need to be addressed.

Black Ribbon NZ Petitions on Behalf of Male Victims

Black Ribbon NZ Petitions Ministers for Justice, Social Development on Behalf of Male Victims

Black Ribbon New Zealand has sent a petition calling for open discussion about the level of support available to male victims of intimate partner violence to the Ministers for Justice and Social Development.

The petition calls for a public inquiry into the nature and extent of domestic violence against men and their children, and for public discussion to provide New Zealand men with information and options should they find themselves in a situation where they are the victim of domestic violence.

Male victims have in the past had few options when they try to escape abusive relationships, and for that reason many stay as long as they can. Men who have been 'red flagged' by Police as being in danger may find themselves with no means of relocating away from potential violence, and may be forced to remain until the violence escalates out of control. There are no safe houses or support systems in most areas of New Zealand, and there is little public recognition for male victims of domestic abuse.

The petition, found at Change.org and signed by 180 men and women, reads "Where there are a multitude of refuges for women... the same unfortunately cannot be said of safe havens for men and their children. Where there are domestic abuse programs for men, they are primarily concerned with men who are perpetrators of domestic violence, not victims."

The petition highlights information from the New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey 2014 which identified that in the year for which data was collated (2013), 5.7% of women and 4.4% of men were likely to be the victim of a violent interpersonal offence by an intimate partner, 3.8% of women and 2.7% of men were likely to have experienced threats and damage committed by an intimate partner, and 3.4% of women and 2.5% of men were likely to have experienced a physical offence committed by an intimate partner.

A volunteer and spokesperson for Black Ribbon New Zealand, Rachel Rolston, says "We know there are no quick fixes, but at the very least we need to be having the conversation, making sure there are options for men and their children, and letting them know what those options are when they need to get out quickly to protect themselves. This is increasingly becoming an urgent priority for the safety of the victims."

"It's very clear that intimate partner violence and abuse is a two way street, that women are not the only victims and men are not the only perpetrators. We need to start openly and honestly addressing the imbalance of victim support our communities are offering."

Black Ribbon New Zealand has called upon Amy Adams and Anne Tolley, Ministers for Justice and Social Development respectively, to seriously consider and publicly discuss the problem of the apparent inequality in the area of domestic abuse, where male victims of interpersonal and domestic violence have no readily available safe place to go when they cannot stay any longer in the home.

The petition is still available and open for signing and a link to it can be found at the homepage of Black Ribbon, www.blackribbon.org.nz.

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