Sunday, November 25, 2012

The reality of domestic abuse. Part 3- Interview

To finish up my 3 part blog series on the reality of domestic abuse I was lucky enough to get to interview Chris Allen, Author and White Ribbon Day ambassador.

Hope you all enjoy :)


-Can you introduce yourself without using the term "I" ;) 

Chris was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, the son of a Welsh father and an Australian mother. He is the middle child of five, with two older sisters and two younger brothers. His career to date has been predominantly military and law enforcement. Most recently he has been focused on his emerging career as a writer of thrillers. His married Sarah in 2008. They live in Sydney and have two young sons, Morgan and Rhett.

-What made you want to get involved with White Ribbon Day as an ambassador?

I was lucky enough to be brought up to respect women by default, both by my parents and at school. In fact, I remember being given a book called 'Gentleman Junior' when I first started out at an all boys school in Perth. We learned the basics very early on! It's so important. On top of that I have two older sisters who are both strong willed and confident women. Our home was always busy and my sisters friends were always around. So, I was lucky that my early years gave me a solid foundation in being respectful towards women.  

In my later years I've felt a responsibility to contribute in some way towards ensuring that young men grow up with similar values and that respecting women becomes their default position. I now have two young sons and that responsibility, in my view, has skyrocketed as a result. By becoming a White Ribbon Ambassador, I'm able to provide an example to my sons, both at home and publicly by declaring my commitment, speaking on behalf of White Ribbon and, most importantly, looking after their mum and showing them exactly what it means to respect women every day.    

- Being a former defence member (me too!) You were in a male dominated environment, What do you think is the general consensus of Australian men and their thoughts on violence against women?
Honestly, I believe that the majority of men are fundamentally against any form of violence against women. Sadly, however I believe that the line becomes blurred when totally unacceptable behaviours are popularised within certain pop-culture contexts like movies, reality TV or - closer to home - social settings where drugs and alcohol are a factor.
That said, it's important to note that White Ribbon believes in the goodness of most men. It believes that good men reject violence against women and are willing to act to prevent it. White Ribbon believes in the capacity of the individual to change and to encourage change in others. Hence, the importance that the White Ribbon movement places on men providing the leadership to other men to change. 
- What changes do you think can be made to prevent continuing violence against women? Mindset changes? Legal changes? Etc

Violence against women in Australia is a grave problem.

  • One Australian woman is killed every week by a current or former partner.
  • One in three women over the age of 15 report physical or sexual violence at some time in their lives.
  • One in four young people have witnessed violence against their mother or step-mother.
  • Two thirds of women who experience domestic or family violence are in paid work.
  • Domestic and family violence is the major cause of homelessness for Australian women and their children.
  • According to KPMG, violence against women and their children cost the Australian economy $13.6 billion in 2009 and unless appropriate action is taken to prevent violence, that sum will increase to $15.6 billion per year by 2021.
The White Ribbon campaign focuses its efforts on primary prevention. In other words, it works to change our culture to stop the violence before it occurs, with activities in schools, workplaces and the broader community.  This is exactly what I was saying earlier about getting the message through to young boys in their most formative years.  In the meantime, it's all about awareness, demonstrating a zero tolerance attitude in your daily life and, above all, setting an example to others.

The violence perpetrated by men against women must stop – and it’s up to men to stop it. Good men can not and will not sit on the sidelines while those they love come to harm.
- How can everyone get involved in white ribbon day?
White Ribbon Day should be considered an opportunity to revisit and renew your commitment to stamping out any form of violence against women. For those new to White Ribbon it should be considered the beginning of a lifelong commitment.   Most importantly, White Ribbon Day is much more than just talking about violence against women on one particular day of the year. The Foundation's work is constant and requires ongoing commitment from everybody:

White Ribbon comprises a number of primary prevention programs to engage a broad range of Australians.

The Ambassador Program

White Ribbon Ambassadors are the leaders and faces of White Ribbon, men and boys who have made a commitment to take an active role in ending violence against women. Ambassadors are at the front line of the Campaign; from all walks of life, they are passionate advocates for social change. White Ribbon now has 1900 active Ambassadors promoting the Campaign in the Australian community.

Ambassadors demonstrate this commitment by:

  • wearing a white ribbon or wristband on White Ribbon Day and encouraging others to do the same
  • sharing the White Ribbon message within their networks and through social media
  • highlighting the importance of respect for women and attitudinal change
  • nominating other suitable men as Ambassadors
  • hosting, attending or speaking at awareness-raising and fundraising events
  • encouraging community groups, local councils, workplaces, men’s organisations, sports and services clubs to get involved in the White Ribbon Campaign, and
  • drawing on personal and professional contacts to extend the White Ribbon message.

The Breaking the Silence in Schools Program 

White Ribbon’s Breaking the Silence in Schools Program began in 2009 and is now applied in 90 schools throughout the Sydney region. Due to the program’s success, White Ribbon is now working on expanding this program nationally.

The program works to inspire principals to strengthen the culture of respect in their schools; builds on existing personal development and anti-bullying programs; and provides training and resources to school leadership.

The Workplace Program

Workplaces can play a powerful role in shaping attitudes to women. Violence, whether it occurs in or beyond the work environment, damages the wellbeing of working women and their productivity. It may also impact negatively on the reputation of the organisation and its bottom line.

The White Ribbon Workplace Program supports workplaces in preventing and responding to violence against women. The Program calls upon organisations to take steps to promote safe workplaces by making changes to organisational culture, practices and procedures.

The Program achieves this by:
  • building workplace awareness
  • increasing staff and managerial knowledge and skill to address issues of violence against women, and
  • recognising proactive and innovative steps being taken by workplaces.
Raising awareness

Every year White Ribbon runs an awareness campaign about the issue of violence against women and the role men play in preventing this violence. In 2012, White Ribbon is encouraging men to stand up to violence against women with the knowledge that thousands of good men have got their back.

White Ribbon’s new campaign highlights that men can challenge their mates, and others, in a way that does not endanger their own safety, knowing there are many good men who support their actions. The change starts with good men standing up and letting the perpetrators know that violent attitudes and behaviour towards women are never acceptable in any circumstance. 


Chris Allen is a writer who says that he likes to write escapist action thrillers grounded with a liberal dose of realism.

He is a former paratrooper who served with the Australian, New Zealand and British armies. He retired as a Major when injuries precluded him from further military service. Exiting military life, Chris transitioned into humanitarian aid work during the East Timorese emergency, served with three law enforcement agencies in Australia, protected Sydney’s most iconic landmark in the wake of 9-11 and between 2008 & 2012 was the Sheriff of New South Wales, one of the oldest law enforcement appointments in the land.

Now a full-time writer, Chris is exploring film interest in his stories while he completes a full series of Intrepid action thrillers.

You can find out more about Chris here: 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...