It’s been quite the Spring (now summer!) here at White Ribbon. Our team has been on the road and connecting with community partners locally, nationally and internationally.
Entering our fourth year collaborating with World University Services of Canada, and phase 2 of the Kenya Education and Equity Project (KEEP), Community Engagement Managers, Kaoutar and David are co- facilitating a training in Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camps. Engaging Community Mobilizers, we are supporting community-led actions plans and solutions to redressing barriers in sustaining girls participation in school. Look out for a blog on their experience soon!
We are continuing our work with UNFPA Vietnam on an engaged fatherhood programme with young and expectant couples to promote healthy relationships and prevent gender-based violence in the home, and community. Together, we are creating a national program geared towards creating a strong foundation of communication, trust and awareness of how parents can foster gender equity in their parenting.
We are excitedly planning for next phase Draw the Line (DTL) in ten new post-secondary institutions in Ontario. If your school has not yet engaged with Draw the Line- we would love to hear from you! This next phase focuses on the creation of a unique sexual violence prevention metric for colleges and universities to assess their performance in this area, and communicate to their community this is a priority. Missed the Facebook Live event with Chuck Winters on the role of sports in ending sexual violence? Catch up here.
We have just concluded the first full year of DTL activities in elementary and secondary schools. We distributed thousands of resources and helped hundreds of educators and students strengthen their ability to prevent sexual violence in their community. We are now preparing for more workshops and activities for the fall.
A big kudos to all walkers, volunteers and fundraisers who participated in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes on May 30, 2018. We have surpassed our goal of $200,000 which will enable White Ribbon to carry out more awareness-raising activities to promote healthy masculinity, and male ally-ship.
To Quebec! We are working closely with partners to support a social marketing campaign to enhance awareness on roles men and boys can play to end gender-based violence. Recently, White Ribbon gave the closing keynote address on our work with men and boys at Justice Canada’s Victims and Survivors Federal Symposium.
Internally, we are putting the finishing touches on our strategic plan, marketing and communications #MeToo strategy, and having further discussions on how we can articulate and exemplify key organizational values. Look out for an update to our website on these strategic directions and values soon!
It’s been a fast and furious spring and start of summer, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
This Spring, David Garzon, White Ribbon’s Community Engagement Manager, sat down with Chuck Winters, former Toronto Argonaut player, coach, and anti-violence activist to discuss athletes and coaches’ roles to prevent gender-based violence and promote gender equity.
Winters now dedicates himself to harnessing that power to raise his players’ awareness of violence prevention. He invites his players to stop and think about the ideas that they implicitly learned by hearing sexist or homophobic derogatory comments as part of “normal conversations”. He asks them to pay attention to how their words and actions can be discriminatory. He asks them to reflect and be more conscious of their words and actions so that they can change their behaviours. He seeks to foster empathy for survivors of gender-based violence by sharing his own childhood experiences of domestic violence, inviting speakers to talk about their experiences, and by creating partnerships with feminist organizations in his community.
Winters is a strong believer in coaches’ ability to create change and he outlined four simple steps for those who may wish to follow his example.
Winters also had words of advice for colleges and universities to help them tackle gender-based violence. He argues that these institutions should put in place programs to support students and athletes who have had personal experiences of violence so that they can help break the cycle of violence that often reproduces itself from generation to generation. He also argues that they should make gender-based violence prevention their issue and create programs to help athletes understand that sexism and violence are learned behaviours and help them change.
White Ribbon was thrilled to participate in the very first Shelters of the Future Conference organized by Women’s Shelters Canada from June 13-15, 2018 in Ottawa. As an organization dedicated to redressing the root causes of gender-based violence, it is imperative we also understand the lived realities of survivors, and the challenges faced by shelters and transition homes.
The need is real
Over and over numerous women’s shelters and transition homes spoke about the increasing need in the community for effective, meaningful and survivor-centered VAW response. Shelters provided staggering annual numbers of 10,000-15,000 calls to crisis lines. This equates to at least 1 call every hour to a shelter in Canada.
Innovative spirits were high
Renae Hopf and Nathalie Trottier shared their stories of resilience, power and hope. Their strength and vulnerability in sharing their experience was overwhelming. Needed Kleenex. So much Kleenex. Thank you Renae and Nathalie.
It takes all of us
Together with the We Want No More Project and the Timmins Family Violence Interagency Action Committee, White Ribbon presented on key campaigns, and effective messaging and approaches for meaningful male engagement.
To the guys reading this- Strengthening Ties is looking for 50 men across the country to make a $3,000 commitment over three years to Women’s Shelters Canada. They also agree to be advocates speaking out against domestic violence. Hurry- 37 men have already confirmed. Visit the White Ribbon website for some inspiration and tools in speaking out.
As an organization dedicated to preventing gender-based violence (from subtle emotional forms to physical violence), we are keen to have further dialogue and collaboration to advance gender-transformative programming that can be adapted to local contexts, together with women’s shelters and organizations.
I’ve only scratched the surface of some of the amazing experience which were shared over the past couple days, but my cup is full to the brim.
Written by Kate Bojin, Director of Programs, White Ribbon