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.
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“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.”
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.
The enthusiasm with which actual anti-domestic violence campaigners are receiving the news that White Ribbon is closing tells you everything about the impact it made
— Gabrielle Jackson (@gabriellecj) October 3, 2019
“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.
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. https://t.co/taXxwb1DPj
— Emily Mayo (@iamemilymayo) October 3, 2019
Others suggested the charity was more interested in appearing to care about domestic violence, than actually doing anything about it.
Nawwww white ribbon had folded. What are people pretending to be interested in stopping domestic violence while doing absolutely nothing to stop it supposed to do now?
— liz barrett (@lizzybinoz) October 3, 2019
In great news for women everywhere, White Ribbon has folded. Now, please direct your money to refuges and supporters who need it, and call your shit mates out on shitty jokes and behaviour instead of just 'raising awareness'.
— Carol Darrell (@flamingo_a_gogo) October 3, 2019
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.”
I understand. 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.
— Jess Hill (@jessradio) October 3, 2019
White Ribbon Day was scheduled for Friday 22 November.
Yahoo Finance has contacted White Ribbon for comment.
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