Students learn lessons in preventing violence against women
Be respectful. Be kind. Be inclusive.
Teenage boys from area high schools learned how these words of advice can prevent violence against women and girls.
Around 200 students from the Thames Valley District School Board and London District Catholic School Board participated in the 13th Annual Father’s Day Breakfast at the Western Fair.
Western University’s football Head Coach, Greg Marshall as well as Euan Scoffield and Travis Wing from ManUp and Professor Peter Jaffe, Academic Director for the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children (CREVAWC) addressed the crowd.
Marshall told the young men that reducing violence against women starts with their own behaviour. The key is to treat people with respect, be inclusive and don’t embarrass or humiliate others.
“Do the little things right,” said Marshall. “It begins with how we treat women and young girls.”
ManUp – an organization that encourages boys and men to get involved when they see or hear anyone threatening violence against women and girls – teaches bystander intervention, healthy masculinity and leadership.
“It doesn’t take a superhero to help someone in need,” said Scoffield. “It’s about wanting to be better.”
It can be difficult for young men to go against today’s culture. But, Wing believes challenging negative attitudes can change society.
“I hope you never acclimatize to the dysfunction around you. I want you to start calling it out,” he said.
Members from the Middlesex-London Health Unit, Anova, Changing Ways, the Fourth R, the Western Mustangs football team and the London Police Service, including Chief John Pare, also attended the event.
CREVAWC is one of the event’s organizers. The goal is to start conversations around preventing violence against women.
“Boys aren’t necessarily going to approach us,” said Jaffe. “We have to take the initiative ourselves.”