Man with a mission to end violence against women

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LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) Chris Green is a passionate man -- especially when it comes to helping prevent violence against women.

The 53-year-old college lecturer normally shuns the spotlight but said he was thrilled to recently have been voted ''Ultimate Man of the Year'' by Cosmopolitan magazine for his tireless work with the White Ribbon Campaign.

The campaign was started in 1991 by a handful of men in Canada who decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out against violence against women.

The white ribbon has since become a global symbol to show men's opposition to violence against women and demonstrates that men ''pledge never to commit, condone or to remain silent about violence against woman''.

As one of the founders of the British branch of the campaign Green has enlisted the support of men across the country, including Premier League managers Rafael Benitez of Liverpool, Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and Everton coach David Moyes.

All three will join men across Britain to wear the white ribbon for one or two weeks from Sunday as the United Nations marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Woman.

Green hopes half a million people in Britain will wear the white ribbon.

So why did the self-confessed ''ordinary guy'' become involved in raising male awareness about the issue? ''Because Unicef (the United Nations Children's Fund) said that violence against women is the single most pervasive human rights violation and it is something which I agree with quite strongly,'' Green told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Green, who was about to embark on a busy campaigning tour around Britain, said it was no longer hard to get men involved in the campaign.

''Women have been campaigning about the issue for years but more and more are becoming aware that in order to make the campaign more effective, they also need to involve more men.'' He drums up support by enlisting the help of celebrities and sportsmen, especially footballers, who men can easily relate to, and also campaigns in sports clubs and in the workplace.

''When you talk to these people and mention it they say I know what you're talking about, of course I will support you in any way that I can','' he said.

Clubs helped out by publishing free advertisements in programs and making announcements over public-address systems ahead of events.

The Internet has also helped the cause.

The campaign has virtual headquarters on ''Second Life'', while social networking site Facebook has proved useful in connecting to younger people.

Green said his partner of 25 years, Linda Patterson, a doctor, has been one of his most avid supporters.

He manages the campaign from his home in Hebden Bridge, northern England, in his spare time when he is not teaching e-Learning at Manchester Metropolitan University.

But he says he's not just a one-man band.

''There are hundreds of volunteers working on the campaigns, women who are working in the field, and of course the victims themselves, who should be also awarded,'' he said.

''These people are seeing the consequences day after day.'' REUTERS SKB ND0850

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