Making a stand against violence

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Rumbling engines filled the air as the White Ribbon Ride passed through Oamaru yesterday.

Members of the Ulysses Motorcycle Club’s North Otago branch were out in numbers visiting local high schools in a bid to take a stand against violence towards women.

The motorcade visited East Otago High School, Waitaki Girls’ and Waitaki Boys’ to show younger generations “it’s not OK”.

Police accompanied the ride as an escort .

Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said the participation of local riders showed the community was strongly opposed to family violence.

“It is an issue on a national level but Waitaki is no exception.” he said.

Several speakers also travelled with the motorcade including Lucy Elliot, mother of Sophie Elliot who was murdered in Dunedin seven years ago stemming from domestic violence.

Speaking at Waitaki Boys’, she urged students to consider their actions towards women.

“Life is just too good,” she said.

“You don’t want your parents going through what we have gone through.”

On average 14 women are killed every year by their partner or ex-partner.

Each year there are over 3,500 convictions recorded against men for assaults on women.

Snr Sgt McCoy said statistics indicated that one in three boys present yesterday would be involved in a domestic violence incident at some point in their lives.

North Otago Ulysses coordinator Bruce Thacker said he was staggered at the numbers of New Zealander’s giving way to physical violence.

“I think the community would be appalled by statistics like that,” he said.

“Going back several years you probably wouldn’t associate bike riders with non-violent activities. But times have changed.

This was the second year the North Otago Ulysses branch had been involved with White Ribbon Ride, Mr Thacker hoped it would continue for future years.

“I would like this to be a yearly event.”

“We need to get the message out that [domestic violence] is not OK and we have to learn to settle disagreements with dialogue.”

PHOTO: ALASTAIR LYNN

HAKA TIME: Waitaki Boys’  High School students perform a haka welcome for North Otago Ulysses Motorcycle Club members who visited the school yesterday as part of the White Ribbon Ride against violence towards women.