White. One of the most prominent colors during a Syracuse winter storm. But, during March, the Vera House makes white mean even more.
“What I love about the White Ribbon Campaign is that it’s not women having to do the speaking and standing up,” Angela Douglas, Associate Director of the Vera House, said. “It is men doing it with us and on behalf of.”
Angela Douglas knows this all too well. She was sexually assaulted multiple times. Now, she works at the Vera House, a local safe space for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
“Back when I was growing up, there was no Vera House,” Douglas said.
The White Ribbon Campaign started after a gunman walked into an engineering school in Montreal in 1989. The man killed 14 women simply because they were women. Men created this campaign not long after this tragedy.
This year marks the 25th year of the Vera House advocating for the White Ribbon Campaign, a men-led initiative to end violence against women.
“What we have asked of the community is to make an ‘I will’ commitment statements,” George Kilpatrick, the Men’s Outreach Coordinator at the Vera House, said. “And my ‘I will’ commitment is “I will hold myself accountable.”
George Kilpatrick is the Men’s Outreach Coordinator at the Vera House. As a father, brother, and son, he wants to lead by example.
“The best example that I can be for my daughters and my son is for them to visibly see what a healthy relationship looks like,” Kilpatrick said.
The White Ribbon Campaign runs all month long, but the efforts of the Vera House go far beyond March. The Vera House has a 24-hour crisis and support hotline that anyone can call.