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"I spoke out to put a face to the issue for the millions of women, men and children who suffer in silence and to say that you are not alone. Help is available." ~ Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor (Photo by Christopher Mason)

Koutoujian and Miles team up to chair 2016 MA White Ribbon Day Campaign

Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian and Founder of HoodFit and MassHousing Director of Public Safety Thaddeus Miles have teamed up to Co-Chair the 2016 Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign sponsored by Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. The 9th annual campaign will be launched on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 1:45pm with a press conference in Nurses’ Hall in the State House.  A new White Ribbon Day Campaign traveling exhibit created by Jane Doe Inc. entitled “Displays in Character: Men Reimagining Manhood” will also be unveiled.
Other speakers at the press conference include:  Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Debra Robbin, Jane Doe Inc.’s Executive Director, and Craig Norberg-Bohm, Jane Doe Inc.’s Men’s Initiative Coordinator.
Over the past decade, the sphere of prevention of sexual and domestic violence in general and work around men and boys roles in particular has grown tremendously. JDI’s Executive Director Debra Robbin explained, “We believe that equity and social justice along gender and racial lines are essential antidotes to gender-based violence. This change will require a shift in what it means to be male in this culture. As we are confronted by daily news of gun violence, mass murders, sexual assault on college campuses and other displays of hyper-masculinity, we ask ourselves how we might reimagine manhood and masculinities as part of the solution in ending these and other forms of violence.”
Sheriff Peter Koutoujian has been a stalwart advocate on issues related to sexual and domestic violence and was one of the first to sign up as a White Ribbon Day Ambassador in 2007. In describing his motivation to be involved in this campaign, he said, “I am proud to stand with Jane Doe, as I have for many years to highlight the important role men have as fathers, sons, brothers, friends and mentors in ending violence against women.  I am honored to serve as Co-Chair of the 2016 White Ribbon Day because a man’s strength should be shown though his character and moral judgment, never through the use of force and violence.”
Co-chair Thaddeus Miles bring years of experience empowering people and strengthening youth voice, and vision along with his work around public safety to this work. Thaddeus was featured in the 2015 White Ribbon Day Campaign “Reimagine Manhood.” He noted, “What I've learned, with all too much familiarity in both my personal and professional life, is that the impact of domestic and sexual violence is far-reaching. Not only does it permanently change the perspective of the individual being victimized but the deep scars that are left on those in the immediate presence are daunting. Those perpetuating the abuse are not exempt from damage either but what I hope to include in this conversation is the urgency with which we must interrupt these cycles to protect and repair the fabric of our communities.”
The Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign has its roots in the international White Ribbon Campaign started in Canada in response to a mass murder 26 years ago when a young man massacred thirteen female students and injured over a dozen more.  Today the campaign exists in nearly 60 countries, and Massachusetts is the first in the U.S. to organize a statewide effort.
Displays in Character: Men Reimagining Manhood” features 13 men from all walks of life who have been active White Ribbon Day Ambassadors in Massachusetts. The exhibit, made possible with funding from Verizon Wireless HopeLine and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the creative services of VDA Productions and Marc Beaulieu Photography, will travel across the Commonwealth in hopes of inspiring other men and boys to take the pledge, wear the white ribbon and make a difference in promoting and creating safe relationships and communities.
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