On the 2nd December 2012, White Ribbon Ambassador and JCU Associate Professor, Darren Lee-Ross and Manager of our service, Amanda Lee-Ross, took part in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2012 during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. Their aim was to raise awareness about this annual international campaign which started on 25th November and concluded on 10th December, and raise funds for the service too.
It was Amanda’s fifth 42 kilometre race but her first time in the Singapore event. Last year Amanda raised just over $1,500 for the service when she took part in the Gold Coast Marathon. After being inspired by Amanda, Darren has also taken up the marathon challenge this year.
Amanda and Darren began training for this event back in August. Currently they run four times a week beginning each one at the crack of dawn. “When it’s dark and you’re still tired from the training the day before, it really helps to have a supportive running partner, and that’s what we do for each other” Amanda said. Darren confesses that had Amanda not competed in previous marathons, he would never have contemplated running a marathon himself. He comments, “We have the same interests and hobbies so why not join forces for a great cause through our equal partnership?” In addition, as a White Ribbon Ambassador, Darren has taken a pledge to help end violence against women. “It is important for me to speak up about violence against women and not just on one day a year – the 25th November or White Ribbon Day as most people call it now. Running to fundraise for the Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service’s clients allows me to show my commitment, but doing it this year in an event held during the 16 Days of Activism campaign is even more significant” Darren said.
The 16 days of activism campaign arose from the first Women’s Global Institute on Women, Violence and Human Rights, a forum involving women from 20 countries, convened in June 1991. The campaign begins on the 25th of November and concludes on 10 December. These dates (and some in between) have particular significance for efforts to stop violence against women.
The 25th of November has been marked by activists against violence against women since 1981, initially to commemorate the three Mirabal sisters, Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa, who were political activists from the Dominican Republic assassinated on 25th November 1960 by the henchmen of dictator, Trujillo. In late 1999, the United Nations’ General Assembly designated the 25th of November the International Day against Violence against Women, and urged member states to organize activities on that day to raise awareness of, and oppose, violence against women. In 1993, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The 16 days of activism includes the 6th December, the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when a lone male, Marc Lepine, shot dead 14 women engineering students, because they were feminists studying in a traditional male area.
In 1991, on the second anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, a group of Canadian men initiated the White Ribbon Campaign as a strategy specific to men uniting against violence against women by wearing white ribbons on the 25th of November, the International Day against Violence against Women. Lastly, the 16 days of activism ends on the 10th of December, International Human Rights Day.