Men in tutus make a stand against domestic violence 

Axel Malecki, Professor Chris Gallavin and Dr Bevan Erueti holding up Professor Richard Shaw before the Square Dash race

Professors wearing colourful tutus and tights is an unusual sight – but they dressed up for a good cause. 

Four Massey men from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences teamed up for Palmerston North’s White Ribbon Tutu and Tights Square Dash relay race to make a stand against domestic violence last week.

Led by politics lecturer Professor Richard Shaw, who accessorised with dangly earrings and funky sunglasses, the team sported bright blue and lime green tutus with fishnet tights and running shoes for the event in The Square, which attracted around 200 entrants.

Professor Shaw – from the School of People, Environment and Planning, Professor Chris Gallavin – Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr Bevan Erueti – senior lecturer in the Institute of Education, and Axel Malecki – a tutor in the School of English and Media Studies, displayed their sporty sides in the novelty relay race that involved speedy walking clutching a baby doll, changing the doll’s nappy then handing it to the next team member.

Massey's White Ribbon Day team: Axel Malecki, Professor Richard Shaw, Professor Chris Gallavin and Dr Bevan Erueti

Pledge to speak out, act to prevent violence

They were joined by bikers’ clubs, armed forces personnel, the Turbos rugby team, local MPs, city councillors, police and the university students to denounce domestic violence.

At the end of the race everyone was invited to take the White Ribbon pledge: "I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent violence towards women". The event – organised by MAIN (Manawatū Abuse Intervention Network), and supported by Massey University Students’ Association (MUSA) – was capped off with a symbolic balloon release.

MUSA advocate, Kerry Howe, also a member of the MAIN board, expressed delight at the turnout and the participation of the 17 teams that entered the Square Dash. “The event is to raise awareness around family violence, which affects the whole community, and to identify that family violence affects all genders. There’s a focus on males reaching out to males to offer support and guidance to end violence against women,” he says.

The team getting ready to race at Palmerston North's Square along with 200 entrants

White Ribbon Day adopted by UN

White Ribbon Day on November 25 is an international day when people wear a white ribbon to show they do not condone violence against women. It was started by a men’s movement in Canada in 1991 and has been officially adopted by the United Nations as its International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

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