You'd be perfectly entitled to think the marketplace for charity gimmicks is totally saturated. Almost every day we're told it's International 'something' Day. If we all bought in to every one of them, we'd be swamped by a sea of rubber bracelets, ribbons and key rings.

The problem with the sheer volume of causes means we're only likely to pick and choose campaigns that resonate with us somehow, and that's perfectly understandable. But, for the people these issues impact, every single one is of vital importance.

You may not be aware, but today is White Ribbon Day.

If you've never heard of the White Ribbon campaign I don't blame you, but it's something all men need to actively engage with. The organisation calls for more men to speak out against violence perpetrated against women, and I'm adding my voice.

First of all, some statistics: When it comes to general violence within the UK, men are responsible for about 85% of it. That's not violence against women, it's just violence carried out by any man in any capacity.

To suggest violence isn't a mostly-male problem is to be completely disingenuous.

Men are far more likely to be violent within a relationship. In fact, men are twice as likely to be violent towards their partner than women. For sexual violence the numbers are even more staggering, with 90% of rape victims being female. Safe houses and refuges are closing with a frightening regularity.

Violence is a male issue that's horribly impacting women and us men have to face up to that reality.

As with all campaigns, it's not just about donating money or retweeting in agreement. The White Ribbon campaign aims to 'end violence against women' – and simply adorning your lapel won't achieve a thing. We really need to look at, and speak out against where this violence stems from and it's all down to the way we teach young boys about their place in the world.

Violence against Women
ibtimes.co.uk

From the moment they're born we brainwash our sons that physical and emotional strength is of utmost importance. We tell five year olds not to cry and promote the notion of the muscly superhero as being the ultimate man. Just today, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Professor Green suggests that 'being hard' is still a prerequisite for many men. Within many groups of young boys, dominance is based on threats of violence from the 'alpha males', and any concept of emotion is repressed by the pack's pursuit of masculine norms. They simply don't see there's any alternative.

Violence against Women
ibtimes.co.uk

Over time, that repression becomes the base-state for many men and the default method of dealing with their emotions is to try and ignore them. It breeds a total lack of emotional intelligence, meaning too many young men don't develop the skills to talk about the difficulties they're facing day to day.

I recently spoke to a group of 12 year olds who highlighted perfectly the issues society is creating. These boys all admitted they had problems they'd love to talk about, but simply couldn't bring themselves to do so. Their biggest fear? Being ridiculed. But not just ridiculed by their peers, they also feared their own fathers would judge them for showing emotional weakness.

If we don't teach boys emotional intelligence and society doesn't allow them an emotional release, the mental pressure inevitably builds up. Confusion about their feelings develops in to anger, and violence - be it towards men or women - is one of the obvious release valves.

Male social structures also dictate that sexual prowess plays a huge role among male peer groups. We still champion the male 'player', despite the horrible hypocrisy of denigrating the female 'slag'. Many men pursue sex as a physical, rather than emotional act, where quantity is better than quality. That concept is then promoted by the prevalence of violent, easily accessible pornography that dehumanises women. It all means more men feel an entitlement to have sex and act with impunity when dealing with the opposite sex.

The number of rapes in the UK is now at a record high.

Then there's the man so caught up in the desire for all-out dominance that violence is used to coerce and control his partner. Again, it's about power structures, and an unwillingness from too many men to accept that 'being a man' is about being so much more than being dominant and wielding power.

If you're one of those men who, on days like today, feel the need to defend the silent majority that aren't violently attacking women, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate your priorities. Is it really more important to turn your ire towards people like the White Ribbon campaign, who are highlighting an uncomfortable reality? Is it really useful to cry "NOT ALL MEN", or is it actually time to add your voice to a growing number of men who say is enough is enough?

We have to create an environment where talking about issues, be they personal or societal, isn't a social taboo for men. We have to start talking about why violence is so prominent among the male population. And we have to stop viewing domestic abuse, rape and misogyny as a woman's issue, because that just isn't true.


Chris Hemmings is a producer at LBC Radio and former sales rep at Coca-Cola