Veronique is a project-manager at White Ribbon
Close to the halfway mark of White Ribbon’s Drawing the Line event on November 29th, many were overcome by emotions. Stephanie Keon Pinkerton had just narrated the events of September 22, 2015 when her school went under lockdown after a man in her rural community, with a known history of domestic violence killed three women, two of whom were her friends. Stephanie shared how that event motivated her to become an advocate to end violence against women. She explained that she firmly believe that consent education, starting with the children in her kindergarten classes, is key to our collective efforts to solve this issue.
Stephanie, along with Micky Renders, an art teacher from Peterborough, and Kenneth Luu, a high school student from Markham, was honoured for her outstanding violence prevention efforts. They were the first three recipients of the Draw the Line Sexual Violence Prevention Awards that White Ribbon delivers in Ontario’s education sector.
Stephanie, Micky, and Kenneth were celebrated in the presence of an audience of over 60 guests that included their families and friends but also the honourable Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women, dedicated staff members from the Ministries of Education and of the Status of Women, the US Consul General in Toronto, Juan Alsace, as well as representatives from the elementary and secondary teachers’ federations (ETFO and OSSTF) and community partners including, among others, the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centers, Victim Services Toronto, and Ophea.
At White Ribbon’s Drawing the Line on Sexual Violence event, educators, students, union representatives, community activists, and government representatives were all united behind the same message: sexual violence must be eradicated and, in order to do so, education and schools play a fundamental role. As student leader Grace Guillaume argued: “Sexual violence is a community problem, and therefore it takes the entire community to solve and put a stop to it. What better place to have a positive influence than in our school systems?”
Consent education is crucial. This is why White Ribbon partnered with the Ministry of Education and with ETFO and OSSTF to create teacher and student resources that are adapted to the education sector’s needs. We firmly believe that these resources will help educators feel more confident when discussing healthy relationships and sexual violence prevention with their students. Our call to action for educators in simple: be an agent of change! Download our free curriculum guide and incorporate violence prevention into your regular classroom activities. We are committed to supporting students and educators across the province. If you need additional support, request one of our professional development workshops. You'll find everything you needs at dtl.whiteribbon.ca.