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An Open Letter To Todd Minerson, The White Ribbon Campaign, Canada

Filed under: Domestic Violence — Darryl Ward @ 10:12 pm Tue 2nd January 2007

2 January 2007

Todd Minerson

Executive Director

White Ribbon Campaign


[email protected]

Dear Mr Minerson


I am writing to express my deepest regret at the misleading and hateful attitudes that your organisation is promoting. I am particularly concerned that you totally ignore women’s violence against men, which is just as prevalent as men’s violence against women.

For many years I have counselled many men who were victims of domestic violence at the hands of women. Few of them dared report their suffering to the authorities. If they were lucky they would be laughed at. If they were unlucky, they would be arrested for the crimes of their batterers.

I have met many men who feared their violent partners, but were more afraid of people finding out they were scared of a woman. The shame of being a battered man is often worse than the actual battering.

Studies undertaken by independent bodies (as opposed to groups with vested interests like the refuge industry) are overwhelmingly consistent in the conclusion that women can be just as violent as men.

We often hear the red herring of physical size, but the reality is that most men would never hit a woman; it is not the done thing for a man. Conversely, it is not rare for a small woman to physically attack a larger man, pull his hair, scratch his face, bite him and kick his genitals, knowing that he will never fight back. On the rare instance that a man does defend himself, he is invariably the one arrested.

Your white ribbon day campaign helps to suppress the grim reality of violence against men.

Male victims of domestic violence do not have national networks of refuges. They do not have state-funded support agencies. Their plight is not the subject of massive advertising campaigns. They are left to suffer in silence.

The very least they deserve is recognition.

Allow me to ask you a question. Would you ever promote a high profile nationwide campaign that only addressed violence by First Nation Canadians? Or Muslims? Or women?

I believe I know the answer.

If I am correct, and your answer is “no”, why then are you promoting a campaign that only highlight’s men’s violence and why will you not be promoting a similar campaign against women’s violence?

By highlighting men’s violence, you are contributing to the invisibility of women’s violence, which is constantly under-reported and over-excused.

I therefore respectfully call upon you to make white ribbon day inclusive to acknowledge of the reality of domestic violence against both women and men.

By challenging the one-sided view of domestic violence with which we are presented, you can make the one step that is needed to really do something about domestic violence. You would show that you genuinely are concerned with violence and not just political correctness.

What a wonderful legacy that would be for your organisation to leave.

Or would such a bold move impact negatively on your organisation’s funding?

Violence is violence, regardless of the sex of the perpetrator, and it is not helpful for groups with vested interests to promote irrational fear and hysterical hatred of half of the population.

Until it is recognised that domestic violence is a two way street, and that women are just as capable of violence as men are, this blight on our society will never be removed.

Yours sincerely

Darryl Ward


  1. Greetings Darryl, and thanks for your letter.

    I am compelled to address some misrepresentations in your note, and hopefully provide some clarification for you about White Ribbon, and our work in over 55 countries around the world.

    Let me begin by saying that we operate from a position that all violence is appalling. Violence against anyone causes damage and trauma that goes well beyond the physical, and leaves emotional and psychological scars for a very long time. This principle applies equally to violence against women, violence against men, violence against children, elders, gays and lesbians, victims of crime, acts of war, gang violence, road rage, etc. We are conscious and concerned about all forms of violence. We are also concerned about the well-being of all victims of violence, and recognize the courage it takes for any victim to come forward about their trauma. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to tackle every form of violence in our world.

    The White Ribbon Campaign began in Canada in 1991 as a specific response to the murder of 14 women at a university in Montreal, a murder where women were systematically separated from the men, and killed by virtue of their gender. This incident brought the issue of men’s violence against women to the forefront of our collective consciousness in Canada, and that first year over 100,000 men across our country felt that as men, they had a responsibility to act against men’s violence against women. Hundreds of thousands of men around the world from Canada, to Brazil, to Pakistan, and New Zealand have subsequently organized, and shared this feeling of responsibility.

    Thus, White Ribbon has chosen as it’s focus, the issue of men’s violence against women. I must stress that this is not at the expense or invisibility of any other forms of violence, nor does it in any way diminish the real pain of men who have been victims not only of female violence, but violence from other men. I also must point out that this in no way is a reflection of our organizations funding priorities as you imply, as we receive no core government funding for our work, and rely completely on fundraising and donations for our efforts.

    You may be under the impression that White Ribbon is solely an anti-domestic violence campaign, and while that is certainly one area of concern for us, it is not the exclusive focus of our work. We are also very concerned about rape, sexual assault, date rape, honour killings, acid burning, ineffective violence prevention laws, harassment in schools and the workplace, and gender equity education in schools. Regrettably I do not have statistics for New Zealand, but in North America, these acts against of violence against women are overwhelmingly and disproportionately committed by men. This is not political correctness, but simple fact. In Canada, and most of the rest of the world, it simply is not true, as you claim, that women’s violence against men “is just as prevalent as men’s violence against women”. If you have any data to support that statement — I would be glad to review it.

    We endeavour to address these issues in a positive manner, not by blaming all men, not by making men feel guilty, not by declaring that most men will commit acts of violence; but by promoting non-violent alternatives, promoting healthy and equal relationships between men and women, and talking about new meanings of strength for men based on respect, equality, and responsibility. It is our belief that from this perspective, men can make a difference towards a less violent world, which I believe from your note is a goal we share. How this is “misleading and hateful” in your words, I am not sure as you did not provide me any real examples for this claim.

    I hope this note helps clarify the misconceptions you have about White Ribbon and our work.

    All the best,

    Todd Minerson
    Executive Director, White Ribbon Campaign Canada

    Comment by Todd Minerson — Thu 4th January 2007 @ 5:36 am

  2. Dear Todd

    I am on holiday, so I am unable to respond yo your post in full just yet, so allow me to ask you this.

    You claim that white ribbon day “… is not at the expense or invisibility of any other forms of violence, nor does it in any way diminish the real pain of men who have been victims not only of female violence, but violence from other men”.

    Would you please tell me why you simply do not aim your campaign at ALL perpetrators of violence instead of simply targetting men?

    Kind regards


    Comment by Darryl Ward — Thu 4th January 2007 @ 9:57 am

  3. Dear Todd,

    The White Ribbon Campaign began in Canada in 1991 as a specific response to the murder of 14 women

    Is this what all the fuss is about. Gee, that was 15 years ago. Gosh, if it is not hard enough trying to balance the genders this sort of stuff is promoted to destroy more families.

    Personally, I don’t think giving you statistics is going to make a difference for you are far too involved in fighting for feminists that you can’t get out. Even if you came to your senses, all you could do is resign and there will be other hungry for power men to take your place.

    You are destroying us women and our children along with the men. You are encouraging the devide between rich and poor. You are encouraging the radical feminists to turn us against men by destroying marriage.

    The fact is that the stats you use are made for your agenda. There are countless stats out there to use as an argument against yours yet none of them match. Statistics aren’t real but just for a try here is how our country sees your white ribbon.

    New Zealand Herald
    Only the biggest ever research in the world and yes from NZ. We are far more ahead of your country when it comes to research. But we have along way to go to fight yours and the radical feminsts agenda as you have more control over the world.

    Please check this post out for this is what is being done worldwide to rectify the feminist’s motives that you promote.
    Men and Human Rights
    RARAR-worldwide holding feminist Domestic Violence statistics and law accountable
    Did you know that NZ has the main beginners of all this feminism? Do you know they wish they could stop it for they are not as one sided as you and they never were?

    Todd, You are making enemies over here and they are the women. The good women like myself who are trying to help other women in Domestic Violence. It has never been one sided and it never will. But men like you are either too educated that your head is full of so much narrow minded information that you can’t see the forest from a tree or you are so selfish that you only care for yourself.

    As for rape that you want to promote. Don’t allow 3 men together as we only look at you and wonder which one of you is the rapist. For the stats today show 1 out of 3. Soon it will be everyone of you. You are a fool yet you do not know. You will aways be the enemy for you are MAN.

    But now you here the words, now someone has challenged you to see the bigger picture. I feel sorry for you because if there is a God and there is a judgement day you cannot cry saying, “I did not know” for now you know.

    Comment by julie — Thu 4th January 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  4. Todd
    Most physical abuse against children is perpetrated by women who are single parents (Gelles, 1992; Wolfner & Gelles, 1993). Most child abuse is perpetrated by women (Bugental, Blue & Cruzcosa 1989; Trickett & Susman 1988).

    Comment by eye of the tiger — Thu 4th January 2007 @ 10:11 pm

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