Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins joined Jane Doe Inc. the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Co-Chairs Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and MassHousing Director of Community Services Thaddeus Miles, former New England Patriot and Executive Director of Community Affairs for the team Andre Tippett, and a standing room only crowd in Gardner Auditorium at the Massachusetts State House in recognition of White Ribbon Day.
“The Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign,” according to Jane Doe Inc., “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.”
With an attendance for the annual event that has steadily grown every year for the nine years since Jane Doe Inc. first began the White Ribbon Day Campaign, the auditorium for this year’s event was filled to the balconies with members of domestic violence shelters, the health community, elected office, and other supporters of the movement to end violence against women and gender-based violence.
Speaking about the need for men to reexamine their roles in today’s society and how gender stereotypes play into the continuation of violence and abuse, Debra Robbin stated, “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.”
Offering his full support, Sheriff Tompkins sounded the call for men across the Commonwealth to join in the effort and become engines of positive change.
“I am deeply grateful for the work that Executive Director Debra Robbin and Jane Doe Inc. do around the prevention and elimination of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “They do God’s work, and I am willing to help them in any way that I can.”
“We know that one in five women will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetimes,” Sheriff Tompkins continued. “These assaults are carried out by people who are supposed to love and care about them. It’s time that we stand together – man to man, brother to brother – and work to put an end to this destructive, unacceptable behavior.”