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On Tuesday, I bought a white ribbon from a young woman in a post office. Ever since, her fervent ‘thank you’ has been reverberating in my head.

It made my companion and I glance at each other, stunned. It caused a greater quiet in my mind. I had been thinking with emotional disconnect, my choice to buy the ribbon strangely political. But, as I say, zero at the bone: it’s so, so important to remember, beyond the politics, beyond the alliances and the constant push, there are always real people I am defending.

For more on white ribbons and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is 25 November, see the UN site and the Australian-based website for White Ribbon Day.