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White Ribbon goes into liquidation

Pictured: White Ribbon logo and liquidator statement. Images: White Ribbon
White Ribbon has appointed liquidators. Images: White Ribbon

Domestic violence charity White Ribbon has gone into liquidation, citing concerns over the organisation’s “future sustainability”.

In a statement today, White Ribbon said it has appointed insolvency firm Worrells to liquidate the company.

“White Ribbon Australia has been proud to serve alongside so many dedicated partner organisations, grassroots communities and government in the important work of ending men’s violence against women,” the charity said.

“We want to acknowledge those communities around Australia who have been part of the White Ribbon movement – from the dedicated staff, Ambassadors, Advocates, and Committees, to schools and teachers, sports clubs, workplaces and individual members of the community.

“For all those who are already planning for White Ribbon Day, we encourage you to continue with those plans alongside the international White Ribbon movement. Continue to raise your voice.”

White Ribbon released a statement. Image: White Ribbon
White Ribbon released a statement. Image: White Ribbon

Former White Ribbon chief executive Tracy McLeod Howe told The Australian in November 2018 that it was struggling financially.

“The organisation is certainly facing some financial challenges,” McLeod Howe said.

“I had many proposals and plans and, absolutely, capacity to address this. Regardless, due to the poor cultural fit, my capacity was never able to be tested due to my early departure.

“But there was never any indication at board level that I wasn’t up to the job regarding the financial situation either.”

As of today, the charity was $840,000 in the red, with expenses of $6.9 million outweighing income. Employees made up 57.61 per cent of the expenses.

White Ribbon has also suffered public controversy after it removed a statement that “all women should have complete control over their reproductive and sexual health".

The statement was reinstated after complaints that this suggested White Ribbon did not support women’s right to an abortion.

White Ribbon also faced claims that it was only lip-service support, and that it suggested wearing a ribbon would be enough to fight domestic violence.

Social media delights in White Ribbon’s demise

Gleeful Australians took to Twitter to delight in White Ribbon’s announcement, claiming that the huge charity hoarded both domestic violence funding and awareness.

“Worse than not having a positive impact itself White Ribbon took attention from groups and organisations who do the things that work, gave men cookies for doing nothing useful at best and being sexist perpetrators or misogynists at worst,” commented Emily Mayo.

Others suggested the charity was more interested in appearing to care about domestic violence, than actually doing anything about it.

However, not all agreed.

“It was badly mismanaged for a long time, and had some very public failings. But it still had many brilliant people working for it, and was doing good work in community/schools,” wrote Jess Hill, author of domestic abuse exposé See What You Made Me Do.

“Don’t get me wrong - I have hugely mixed feelings about WR. A lot of the public work, the ambassadors, the politicians wearing the ribbons was pretty nauseating. But the work that wasn’t so public was much more interesting - and it’s a shame to see that go.”

White Ribbon Day was scheduled for Friday 22 November.

Yahoo Finance has contacted White Ribbon for comment.

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