WHY I WALK: mona Mitchell
I have had the pleasure to work with White Ribbon over the last two years and I am so honoured to be the Board Chair. And as the universe always does, this cause has made me see this cause through a new lens.
A while back a dear friend and I were having a heart to heart about great relationships (she has not had much luck in this area of her life), and she opened up about her past and how her relationship with her father has affected her ability to build healthy relationships with the men who have been in her life.
I was shocked, and without thinking, I shared with her that I had always believed that she grew up in a home with loving parents and privileges that most people do not have. I also believed that her father was like “Ward Cleaver” – the perfect father on “Leave It To Beaver” which was a show in the 1950s (I guess I just aged myself).
She quickly responded by telling me that I could not have been more off the mark. Her childhood and adolescence was living with an abusive father – who repeatedly abused their mother, my friend, and her siblings. I was sad, angry, and shocked to hear her finally share her life growing up. I have known her for 27 years; how did I know this? Because like many victims of abuse we just do not talk about it. They are ashamed – which breaks my heart.
I am proud to walk in this year's Walk A Mile In Her Shoes, so that I can continue to make a difference in the lives of women and girls who have had the same experience as my very dear friend. I Walk because we need a “future that has no violence against women and girls”.
Together we need to support this cause through the education, awareness-raising, outreach, capacity building, and partnerships that White Ribbon provides. We have to challenge the negative, outdated concepts of manhood and inspire men to understand and embrace the incredible potential they have to be a part of positive change.
This year I am walking with my friends to make a difference. I am walking for my dear friend who had the courage to share her story, and for those that have not shared their experiences.
-Mona Mitchell, Chair of White Ribbon's Board of Directors