Men's Rights Group Co-opts Anti-Domestic Violence Campaign To Raise Money

Source: White Ribbon Worldwide Campaign/Facebook

Men's rights activists are co-opting an anti-domestic-violence campaign with a site that may trick donors into giving to their cause.

White Ribbon, found at whiteribbon.ca, is a Canadian nonprofit that was formed after an anti-feminist gunman killed 15 women in Montreal in 1989. The White Ribbon Initiative, at whiteribbon.org, is a site that raises money for A Voice for Men, a men's rights organization, under the premise of ending domestic violence.

Grossed out? It gets worse.

The differences: The real White Ribbon campaign got its start when men wore white ribbons following the killings to signal their support for feminism and opposition to violence against women. The movement spread internationally, and the group now hosts events like What Makes A Man and initiatives like Draw The Line that encourage men to rethink how they view women.

The impostor site has the tagline "End Violence Against Everyone," which is agreeable enough — until you realize the goal is to remove any gendered look at domestic violence and other issues. Scroll down on the site to find articles like "Why women's shelters are hotbeds of gender hatred" and a PayPal button to donate. A Voice For Men has been called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The worst part is that the men's rights site has an entire page dedicated to calling out "false White Ribbon initiatives." "There are numerous attempts by other entities to corrupt the message of the White Ribbon Initiative by inserting dishonest and sexist messages into this movement," the page says. "We cannot address this complicated, critical problem by pointing the finger at one sex as the default perpetrator and at another sex as the default victim."

The group has a more strongly worded message on its Facebook page, noting that no one has a monopoly on white ribbons because something something Frances Willard.

The reaction: After the impostor site was called out by We Hunted The Mammoth, a blog that tracks online misogyny, the real White Ribbon put out a statement condemning the group.

"Their vile sentiments – which include disparaging comments about women's shelters and victim blaming survivors of rape – are completely incongruent with our values at White Ribbon," Executive Director Todd Minerson wrote. "Their misguided attempts to discredit others only make clear the extent to which they see the success of our equality-driven, evidence-based, ally-focussed [sic] work on gender justice as a real threat to their ill-informed, isolated views on this issue."

Hopefully any visitors to whiteribbon.org take a good look before clicking that donate button. Otherwise, they may be supporting something very far from feminism.

h/t ThinkProgress

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Matt Connolly

Matt has written for Mother Jones, the Washington Examiner and Chicago Public Radio among many others. He's a resident of Washington, D.C., but much like Bruce Springsteen and pork roll he is a product of New Jersey.

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