• White Ribbon Day in Cape York. (Apunipima)Source: Apunipima
White Ribbon Day is about encouraging men and boys to stand up against domestic violence.
Madeline Hayman-Reber

24 Nov 2016 - 5:40 PM  UPDATED 24 Nov 2016 - 5:40 PM

By taking the White Ribbon Oath, men and boys vow to never stand by, stay silent or fail to prevent violence against women.

In Cape York, health care organisation Apunipima has been tackling the issue of domestic violence over the past week, with a number of different activities for both men and women in the communities of Kowanyama and Napranum.

Social and Emotional Wellbeing Worker for Men’s Health, Neil Mayo, is a Kalkadoon Murri man who has been working with Apunipima and the Napranum community for 19 months.

He told NITV: “With the White Ribbon day there’s 3 points, and it just starts with self… looking at your own behaviors and how they impact on own family and community."

Mr Mayo says the second step is about being an observant, active bystander.

“If you’re witnessing anything that’s occurring or could be considered to be negative towards your family and your wife, then it’s having a yarn and being respectful and making sure children aren’t viewing and witnessing this behavior,” he says.

The third point is making sure there’s more discussion with the men and boys about the reasons why they feel angry in the first place, and how to control their aggression.

Mr Mayo believes socioeconomic disadvantage and poverty are aggravating factors that contribute to violence in the Cape.

He told NITV that Apunipima was in the process of opening a centre for men to go and 'have a yarn' about things that are bothering them, in an effort to help deal with issues in a healthy way.

“It’s so that men do not repeat bad trends that are generational, trauma stuff going back to old culture and history when men had real roles as hunt gatherers,” he says.

Since mid week, separate events were held to support both the men and women in both communities.

Education and awareness around men’s health and domestic and family violence were at the forefront of discussions during the men’s sessions, while support and bonding were emphasised during the women’s sessions.

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