WAKEFIELD — Close to 100 attendees braved the cold to take the White Ribbon Pledge, as the Wakefield Alliance Against Violence (WAAV) held its first White Ribbon ceremony on the Beebe Library Plaza at 12 p.m. on Wednesday.
Attendees included town employees, Wakefield Town Councilors, town officials, State Representatives, Wakefield Police Officers, school administrators, school staff and Wakefield students.
The ceremony was led by Town Councilor Ed Drombroski, who spoke about the history of White Ribbon Month and the importance of all men and boys making a pledge to never commit, condone or stay silent about violence against women.
“The White Ribbon Campaign began in Canada in 1991, following a horrific mass shooting where 14 female students were killed and 10 others injured at a Montreal university, now infamously referred to as the Montreal Massacre,” Dombroski said. “In response, a group of men organized an effort to shine a light on the epidemic of violence against women and girls and all gender-based violence. And, over the last 30 years, this campaign has grown, not just throughout Canada, but across our country and around the world, now spanning over 60 countries.”
The signature event of this campaign, Dombroski explained, “is men and boys in communities just like ours taking a pledge to never commit, condone, or stay silent on issues of violence against women and girls and any form of gender-based violence.
“Our police are working harder every single day to assist our neighbors and friends who are in need, by placing them with life-saving resources and supports, so that victims can become survivors and use their voice one again,” Dombroski added. “A voice, mind you, that was never lost, but rather temporarily silenced, by their abuser.”
Chief Steven Skory of the Wakefield Police Department stressed the importance of reaching out for help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and he also discussed the resources available to perpetrators.
“Abuse comes in all forms and can affect all ages,” Chief Skory said. Abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual and usually follows a four-stage cycle. We need to end this cycle and free victims from the feeling of being trapped in an abusive relationship or living in fear of the person they love.
“Community members need to be loud in their opposition
to domestic violence,” Skory added. “If you are a victim of abuse, know of someone who is being abused or suspect that someone is a victim of abuse, be confident in speaking up and seeking help.”
A Town Proclamation was presented to WAAV by Town Administrator, Stephen P. Maio, and State Representatives Donald Wong and Kate Lipper-Garabedian presented WAAV with a proclamation from the House of Representatives.
Wakefield High School juniors, Dylan Wickwire and Liam McNeill spoke about mental health for young men and about upstander behavior.
Youth Action Team leaders Trevor Veilleux and Luke Greif led the crowd in the White Ribbon Pledge and all in attendance vowed to never commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women and to be a part of the solution in ending violence against women and all gender-based violence.
The ceremony concluded with a performance of the song, “Stand by Me” by Wakefield High School a cappella groups ‘Voices of Steel’ and ‘Mic Drop.’
For more information about WAAV contact: [email protected]