Ending violence against women: Local men set an example

Terry Sanderson holding the White Ribbon poster featuring him, his son Josh and his granddaughter Ashley.Terry Sanderson, his son Josh and six-year-old granddaughter Ashley are the first group of people featured in the Headwaters White Ribbon Committee poster campaign launched on Monday (June 11). The aim of the campaign is to inspire men of all ages in the community to never commit, condone or remain silent when it comes to issues involving violence against women.
Some of the more prominent men in the community have had enough, and are taking a stand to exterminate violence against women.

A group of people forming the Headwaters White Ribbon Committee, launched a poster campaign in the Dufferin-Caledon area on Monday (June 11). The campaign aims to inspire men of all ages in the community to never commit, condone or remain silent when it comes to issues involving violence against women.

“This is just unacceptable and we need to do a better job,” said committee member Tony Maxwell. “We’re trying to encourage the silent majority among men who maybe have let it pass in the past to kind of stop and pause.”

According to 2008 statistics from the Public Health Agency of Canada, about one in every three women experiences sexual assault during her lifetime. The committee feels those staggering statistics, and many others, must be brought further to the forefront.

“We’re just a bunch of guys — dads, brothers, grandfathers,” committee chair Pete Renshaw said in a news release. “When you hear that over half of all women and girls will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, you think, ‘This is crazy, it has to stop’.”

From Maxwell’s perspective, a poster campaign like this can pay dividends. The focus is to reach out to men and boys, particularly to those who already get the message that violence is unacceptable but have yet to take a stand.

“There is plenty of evidence about the problems around violence against women are there, and if anything, they are getting worse,” he said. “We, as a group, of men felt it was time for the silent majority of us to take a stand.”

Every month until December, the poster campaign will feature well-known local men with the important women in their lives.

The first poster released prior to Father’s Day features Terry Sanderson, owner of Sanderson Sports and general manager of the Toronto Rock, as well as his son Josh, and his six-year-old granddaughter Ashley.

“The poster speaks out true. I wouldn’t want (Ashley) to grow up and have to face this situation,” Terry said.

“Something like this may protect some of the girls and women going forward. … If this helps in any little way, I’m glad I can be a part of it.”

The poster campaign also features Orangeville District Secondary School principal Darryl Kirkland, Sam Young, owner of the Shelburne Golf and Country Club, Orangeville Mayor Rob Adams, and Shelburne Police Chief Kent Moore, among others.

“Most of us are grandfathers or fathers,” Maxwell said. “For the sake of our daughters in particular and their future, we want to do the little bit we can to eliminate violence.”

The posters are certainly a way to send a powerful visual message — without the need for many words. When influential figures like Sanderson step up to take part, Maxwell said it helps reach the committee’s target audience.

“When (young men and boys) see positive role models like that, they take it to heart and pause,” he said.

A couple years ago, Norah Kennedy, executive director of Family Transition Place (FTP), said several men on FTP’s board of directors began talking about how to get more males engaged in the issue.

After learning the group was planning to start a men’s engagement committee, Todd Minerson, executive director of the national White Ribbon Campaign, suggested they affiliate themselves with his organization.

Members of the Headwaters White Ribbon Committee include: Renshaw, Maxwell, Kennedy, FTP treasurer Blair Russell, FTP youth education co-ordinator Travis Greenley, Dufferin County Warden Walter Kolodziechuk and retired Dufferin OPP Sgt. Dave Quinton.
The local poster campaign invites males to visit headwaterswhiteribbon.ca and pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.

“I urge everyone to visit the website and sign the pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls,” Minerson said in a news release. “When you see such prominent members of the community stand up like this, it sends a strong signal.”

Source: “Ending violence against women: Prominent local men set an example for others,” (Orangeville Banner, June 13, 2012)

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