OSWEGO, NY — During the month of June, Services to Aid Families, a program of OCO, will be hosting events and awareness activities in recognition of the White Ribbon Campaign.
SAF is the domestic violence and rape crisis program for Oswego County and has provided crisis, supportive, advocacy and educational services throughout Oswego County for more than 30 years.
The White Ribbon Campaign began in 1991 in response to the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre in Montreal. During the massacre, 14 women were murdered and an additional 13 were injured, in an effort to fight feminism.
Following this event, a group of Canadian men decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out about violence against women in all its forms. Wearing a white ribbon would be a symbol of men’s commitment to never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women.
Today, the White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women.
Unlike some other forms of violence in our culture, violence against women has many times been socially acceptable and is deeply rooted within our social structure.
For many years, domestic violence was viewed as being a family problem or “women’s issue” and not as a crime.
However, social exploration demonstrates that sexism and a sense of entitlement to control women continue to be at the root of domestic violence, sexual violence and many other forms of violence against women.
In many instances our history, traditions, and accepted socialization, have developed into cultural norms that support the belief that violence against women is not a serious issue.
With the recognition that men play such a crucial role in changing these norms, members of the Domestic Violence community, including SAF, are actively reaching out to the large majority of men who are non-violent and want to confront this issue head-on.
With this, SAF’s goals for the White Ribbon Campaign are to raise awareness about violence against women, to address the social norms that perpetuate this violence, and emphasize the critical role men play in ending violence against women.
In an effort to raise community awareness, SAF and community groups will be working together to raise awareness about violence against women. Due to the generous donation by House Trucking of Central Square, SAF staff was able to be present at both the Oswego and Fulton farmers’ markets to discuss the campaign and sell white ribbon pins.
Staff will also be representing the campaign and selling pins, on June 18 alongside the Oswego Youth Soccer Association, who will be collecting donations for the SAF House and supporting the campaign. Pins are available for a $2 donation with all proceeds going to support the SAF House.
Another exciting collaboration, new this year, is with some local fire departments. Many departments throughout Oswego County have agreed to display white ribbons on their emergency response vehicles and use their department’s electronic display boards to scroll information about the significance of the ribbon.
This visual display will help to demonstrate that the fire departments and community members stand as one with SAF in opposition to violence against women.
Additionally, SAF staff members wore purple on June 15 in recognition of World Elder Abuse Day.
Recent statistics indicate that elder abuse is a growing worldwide problem with many cases involving an intimate partner as the abuser. Each year there are approximately 5 million cases of elder abuse, with 85% never reported.
For more information about how you can get involved or if you or someone you know is a survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking please call the Abuse & Assault Hotline at (315) 342-1600. The hotline is staffed by trained counselors and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with collect calls accepted within Oswego County.
For more information, visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org.