White Ribbon is a worldwide campaign that engages men and boys to "end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity." They were a partner in the Canadian "Draw The Line" campaign against sexual violence and predates the #heforshe campaign in making women's concerns a "men's issue."
This mandate has apparently upset another group of men. A Voice For Men, a group that claims to advocate for men in a "gynocentric" society, publishes articles with titles like "Domestic violence and rape are not gendered issues" and "Ten reasons false rape accusations are common." They basically try to negate all feminist claims of misogyny in culture by saying "but it happens to men, too!" and completely ignoring the lopsided statistics.
Generally ignored as a fringe movement, AVFM has come up with a new way to get attention. They have created a "copycat" White Ribbons site, hoping to cause online confusion and get their message in front of people searching for the other campaign:
The founder at AVFM writes:
A simple Google search will return many, many references to that campaign and to websites that have been set up to further its message. That message, of course, is that men can stop domestic violence, that they bear the weight of all evil on their backs, and that they need to create a safe world for women, blah, blah, blah.
Obviously, the people getting the job done on behalf of WRC really outdid themselves on planning and marketing.
Well, there was one goof. They neglected to pick up the obvious choices for domains for their program, especially given they are aiming for growth.He suggests that AVFM members work together to boost the copycat site's SEO to the point at which they become "the most highly recognized and iconic voice in the worldwide White Ribbon Campaign."
Todd Minerson, Executive Director of White Ribbon Canada, responded:
Today, White Ribbon (www.whiteribbon.ca ) became aware that a “so-called” men’s rights group has launched a copycat campaign articulating their archaic views and denials about the realities of gender-based violence.
Their vile sentiments – which include disparaging comments about women’s shelters and victim blaming survivors of rape – are completely incongruent with our values at White Ribbon.
Their misguided attempts to discredit others only make clear the extent to which they see the success of our equality-driven, evidence-based, ally-focussed work on gender justice as a real threat to their ill-informed, isolated views on this issue. This latest example is clear evidence of their insincerity and lack of commitment to developing compassionate solutions for the issues they claim to care about. It also showcases their real focus: attacking, harassing and directing anger towards others.
White Ribbon will continue to stand beside the thousands of women’s organizations around the world who see feminism as an all-encompassing effort to realize equality.
We will continue to support the efforts of men and boys in over 70 countries around the world who wear the White Ribbon as a pledge to never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women and girls.
We will remain committed to the advancement of gender equality, and the dismantling of patriarchy, which is the real cause of so much pain for women and men around the world.
Allies and supporters: do not to be fooled by this copycat campaign. We are exploring all of our options, but we will not be engaging with this group in a public screaming match. They can remain a shrill minority. We will continue to engage with the vast majority of men who believe in gender justice, and want to be part of the solution. And we will do it with the same determination, conviction and passion we have shown for the past 20 years. We appreciate all the support and kind words we have heard from women and men across the globe. Please know that goes a long way, and that we will carry on with our effort to make the world a better, safer, more equitable place for all women and girls, men and boys.
Until the violence stops,
Todd MinersonIt will be interesting to see if the organization launches a trademark case against AVFM. But for the moment, the real White Ribbon campaign still comes out on top: