It Gets Easier.Greetings friends and supporters of the White Ribbon Campaign,
It is always a pleasure to connect with you around this time of year.
Not only have things moved in to high gear with our education and prevention work across the country; we are on the "heels" of another amazingly successful Walk A Mile In Her Shoes Toronto 2010; we have a number of new and exciting initiatives for you to read about in this newsletter; and we are rapidly approaching the highlight of our annual campaign period (Nov 25 – Dec 6).
Someone recently framed our work with men and boys to end violence against women and girls like this, and it really stuck with me.
"You can't solve a problem that you can't even talk about".
So much of our work is an effort to get men and boys talking about the problem of violence against women. Challenging them to see the connections between male privilege, men's silence and violence against women; giving them the tools and inspiration to speak about something they likely have never spoken about before; getting to some of the root causes of why men don't speak up or challenge violence against women – these are the nuts and bolts of our work.
My message today is not to focus on those details, but to share a phenomenon I witness regularly, and have been through personally.
Every time you speak up about violence against women – it gets a little bit easier.
I see this phenomenon in action when we are working with young people in the classroom. When we are training teachers how to address these issues. When I return to a community to do a speech, and find some of the men I spoke with months earlier are now volunteering at a women's shelter. When I look out at a crowd of 700 men in women's shoes, walking to end violence against women. When I am tying my skates in my own hockey dressing room, thinking back to my first days in this work almost five years ago, and I had the responsibility to speak up.
Every time a man has the strength to speak up it gets a little bit easier. Every time one man speaks up, there are other men within hearing range who may be saying "If he can say something, I can too." Every time a young man or boy hears a man he respects speak up, that action pays it forward. Every time a woman hears a man speak up, she might be saying "we can work together to make a change."
Never underestimate the power of saying something, for only when we break the silence around violence against women, will we see the end of it.
Thank you all for the support of our work at the White Ribbon Campaign.
Until the violence stops,
Todd Minerson, Executive Director
White Ribbon Campaign
White Ribbon Campaign has started a series of micro-actions through the website ifwerantheworld.com
Micro-actions are very simple ways of turning your good intentions into action. Most take less than a minute, some are bit more involved. The best part is that you get to choose how to act and how often and even start your very own micro-actions to get your friends and communities involved.
Some of the micro-actions we have so far are:
- Get your campaign started by ordering ribbons & educational materials from our online store.
- Read the following article about how to run your own campaign.
- Wear a ribbon and pledge to never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women.
- write an article in your community or school paper about the positive role that men and boys can play in ending violence against women.
You Took Up The High Heel Challenge!
Thank you! With your participation, and the pledges you collected, White Ribbon Campaign has raised over $120,000 during this year's Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event. Your upport will help fund our programming to educate young people on gender issues, respect and healthy relationships.
This year we surpassed our goal and had some amazing results:
- 750 participants joined us and walked the walk
- 97 volunteers helped us run the event seamlessly
- 35 Corporate Teams raised more than half of the money raised
- Total Media and Marketing Impressions surpassed 50 Million
- Presidents and CEO's were challenging others to step up and join the walk
- Spectators, both men and women alike, cheered us on as we walked the streets of downtown Toronto
You walked the walk now it's time to talk the talk.
It's critical to open up communication about gender-based violence. When hidden away, it's almost impossible to stop. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get people talking. People unfamiliar with it often don't want to know it exists. It's ugly. People who have experienced it themselves want to forget about it. How do you get them talking now, so that they can prevent if from happening? And after it's happened, how do you get them to talk about it so they can recover?
We hope to see you, your friends and your friend's friends, at next year's walk!
It Starts With You It Stays With Him.
Did you know that many young men who believe in gender equality are generally able to identify a male figure or male role model in their lives that inspired or demonstrated more gender-equitable roles?
Our It Starts With You It Stays With Him campaign encourages men to reach out to the young men and boys in their life and inspire them to build healthy, equal relationships. Fathers, grandfathers, family members, teachers, community leaders, youth workers, coaches, visit the site at www.itstartswithyou.ca (www.cacommenceavectoi.ca in French) to check out tips, tools, and information you can use to mentor the boys around you.
We are currently working to strengthen this campaign to further advance the capacity of educators and those working with boys and young men, to promote healthy, equal relationships in schools and in the community. The campaign will also provide men with interactive tools and learning experiences to supplement their knowledge of violence against women, gender equality, role modeling and healthy masculinities. This new phase of the campaign will be launched in the winter of 2011. In the meanwhile, check www.itstartswithyou.ca for updates, share your stories, and read about others' experiences.
Men's positive involvement as inspiring role models in promoting gender equality and ending violence against women can have a tremendous impact on the lives of women, men and children.
The Choice to find Common Ground
Recently WRC & YWCA hosted the annual Common Ground Conference. Long-time White Ribbon Campaign volunteer and collaborator Jeff Perera hosted a workshop during the Conference. We asked him to reflect on his experiences there.
Please read Jeff's experiences on the White Ribbon Campaign Blog.