The white ribbon campaign began shortly after a horrific incident in 1989 when a man murdered 14 women at the University of Montreal. A group of concerned men began encouraging other men and boys to pin on white ribbons to acknowledge the role men need to play to help stop violence against women. The Women's Shelter in Snowstorm City holds a white ribbon campaign each spring. Our church usually hands out white ribbons, and I've always made sure my boys, no matter how young they were, understood what the white ribbons meant.
"You promise never to abuse a woman?"
"Mom! Of course."
"But more importantly, you know that you are also agreeing that you won’t remain silent if you know abuse is happening? That it's your responsibility to do something about it?"
"Yes, I know."
Even when he was a tiny kid, Boy in Black always took these pledges very seriously. He would look at me with the big serious eyes of a skinny ten-year-old, agreeing to stop abuse any time he could. I always believed him. I still do. Now almost eighteen, Boy in Black is a full-grown man, taller and stronger and smarter than most people, and his pledge to help end violence against women seems that much more important.