White Ribbon Day will be commemorated worldwide on November 25 to mark the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women.
This year marks the 11th anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence, kicking off 16 days of activism against gender violence.
Cook Islands Canoeing Association (CICA) is proud to use its annual Vaka Eiva competition to help raise awareness on the issue.
The White Ribbon Day Boiler Swim is a 700 metre race to be held at Avarua Harbour which is the loading bay ramp/beach near the Vaka Village.
Annually, the Boiler Swim attracts a good number of participants and organisers expect the same this year.
Vaka Eiva coordinator Chrissy Thomas said the swimming competition was a gold coin donation event with all proceedings from it this year going to White Ribbon Day campaigners.
She said the winner of the race in the men’s and women’s grades would also have their names engraved on the White Ribbon Trophy.
“This is one of the exciting events in the Vaka Eiva. Boiler Race is a charity event and this year we decided to mark it a day before it is officially observed,” Thomas said.
Cook Islands Police Service domestic violence unit and women’s refuge centre Punanga Tauturu are actively involved in promoting White Ribbon Day in the Cook Islands.
The two organisations will be collaborating with the Vaka Eiva organisers in promoting and supporting the elimination of violence against women.
“This is not just a women’s issue. Violence against women is the single most widespread human rights violation worldwide and by eradicating it we are creating a society that is safe and inclusive for everyone: men, women and children,” CICA said in a statement.
“Men can play significant role in helping stop violence against women because, as business leaders, community leaders, politicians and key decision-makers, we are in a position to make real change.
“It’s a men’s issue because men can speak out and step in when male friends and relatives insult, abuse or attack women.”
White Ribbon encourages all members of the community, and particular men, to pledge – never to commit, never to excuse and never to remain silent about violence against women, wear a white ribbon and participate in awareness activities and speak out about violence.
“Too often we turn a blind eye when it comes to violence in personal relationships, but this is one of the most widespread and serious human rights issue.
White Ribbon Day is being commemorated throughout the Pacific Region with a variety of activities.
CICA plans to hold two separate programmes to be coordinated during the day from 7am to 2pm and another in the evening from 6pm to 8pm to raise awareness.