ACA participates in White Ribbon Day in Congress

By Samantha Cooper

December 2023

Attendees of the White Ribbon Day in Congress event on Dec. 1 take the White Ribbon pledge to never commit, excuse or stay silent about sexual harassment, sexual assault or domestic violence.
ACA CEO Shawn Boynes speaks at the White Ribbon Day in Congress

ACA partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to support the White Ribbon VA campaign, an initiative that calls for the end of sexual harassment, sexual assault and intimate partner violence across the VA. This collaboration raises awareness of the unique challenges veterans face related to mental health, trauma and intimate partner violence and provides resources and support for counselors working with this population.

Veronika Mudra, CEO of White Ribbon USA, at the White Ribbon VA eventOn Dec. 1, ACA CEO Shawn Boynes spoke at the White Ribbon Day in Congress event held in Washington, D.C. Boynes discussed the important role counselors play in supporting victims of domestic violence, including providing survivors of domestic abuse with a safe, nonjudgmental space to express their feelings, fears and concerns and helping them develop safety plans. He also highlighted how the partnership between ACA and the VA benefits both counselors and veterans because it gives counselors access to necessary resources that will help them provide culturally appropriate care to clients.

Other speakers included VA Secretary Denis R. McDonough; Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania; Anthony Estreet, CEO of the National Association of Social Workers; Veronika Mudra, CEO of White Ribbon USA; Katherine McGuire, chief advocacy officer at the American Psychological Association; and Cristina Maza, foreign policy and defense correspondent at the National Journal.

ACA CEO Shawn Boynes and Anthony Estreet, CEO of the National Association of Social WorkersThe White Ribbon VA campaign was inspired by the global White Ribbon organization, which was founded in Canada in 1991 with the goal to end gendered violence toward women and girls. It now operates in 60 countries across the globe.

Shawn Boynes, ACA CEO, and Rep. Lucy McBath of GeorgiaACA is currently advocating for several bills that would support survivors of domestic violence and make it easier for veterans to access mental health resources. These bills include the Vet Centers for Mental Health Act of 2023 (H.R. 733), Health Families Act (S. 1664/ H.R. 3409), and Safe Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Act (H.R. 2996). Learn more about these bills and other legislation related to mental health at

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