Surfing has the power to unite us. It has a power to bring people from different backgrounds, ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, professions and nationalities together, connected by our love for the ocean and its waves. This is a powerful tool and we have seen the surfing community link arms to fight for multiple social and environmental causes.
To coincide with White Ribbon Day and the following sixteen days of activism that pushes the rights and voices of those most vulnerable, the male surfing community in Vanuatu has taken a stand against violence against women. Globally, and even still in this nation, statistics show that violence against women, children and people with disabilities is prevalent everywhere.
But what if the male leaders in our communities decided to take a stand? Choosing to become role models and show respect to women, demonstrating attitudes and practices that are not harmful or violent towards females in order to promote gender equity in all levels of society. This is exactly what these seven young surfers and community leaders from The Vanuatu Surfing Association did.
Their movement isn’t a one sided fight, women against men. We need to include everyone, from our respected community elders, to our youth. We need men actively engaged in this space, taking a platform to advocate for women everywhere.
I want to end by asking the surf community, men and boys in particular, If given the chance and the voice, what message would you want to shout out to the world?