(Orangeville, Ontario — June 11, 2012) The poster invites men and boys to visit the White Ribbon web site (headwaterswhiteribbon.ca) and sign a pledge NEVER TO COMMIT, CONDONE OR REMAIN SILENT about violence against women and girls.
The campaign runs between now and December and features several well-known men along with their daughters.
The first poster, which is being released just prior to Father’s Day, features Terry Sanderson, owner of Sanderson’s Sports and General Manager of the Toronto Rock, his son Josh, a twelve-year National Lacrosse League veteran, and Josh’s daughter Ashley, age 6.
“As athletes or coaches we know all about codes of honour and rules and boundaries in sports,” said Sanderson. “And when I think of my granddaughter Ashley and her future, it’s easy for me to stand up and say this – violence against women – is unacceptable.”
In the coming months new posters will be released with prominent locals such as Darryl Kirkland, Principal of ODSS; Sam Young, owner of the Shelburne Golf Club; Mayor Rob Adams of Orangeville; Kent Moore of the Shelburne Police, and others to be announced.
The Headwaters White Ribbon Committee formed this spring with the goal of raising awareness about the need to end violence against women and girls.
“We are just a bunch of guys – dads, brothers, grandfathers,” said Pete Renshaw, Chair of the committee. “And 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.”
The focus of the committee is on reaching out to men and boys, particularly to the “silent majority” who already “get” the message that violence is unacceptable.
“Let’s face it, in the past too often we have kept quiet in the face of blatantly inappropriate actions or language about women and girls,” said Renshaw. “We believe there’s a lot of power when we all speak up against this sort of behaviour…and we’re inviting men to stand together on this.”
The Headwaters committee is modelled after the national White Ribbon Campaign, which was founded in 1991 following the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. The white ribbon became a symbol of men’s opposition to violence against women. Today, the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women. Each year the WRC in Canada runs its campaign from from November 25 (the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women) until December 6, Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
“Hundreds of thousands of men in Canada and around the world have participated in the White Ribbon campaign,” said Todd Minerson, Executive Director of the White Ribbon Campaign. “I applaud the Headwaters White Ribbon Committee for spearheading a new campaign in the Dufferin Caledon area. When you see such prominent members of the community stand up like this, it sends a strong signal. I urge everyone to visit the web site and sign the pledge to pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.”
One of the goals of the men’s group is to strengthen ties to local women’s groups and work together. To that end, the White Ribbon Committee has connected with Family Transition Place, the local women’s shelter on Bredin Parkway. Norah Kennedy, FTP’s Executive Director, and Travis Greenley, Youth Education Coordinator, both sit on the committee.
“It makes such an impact when you have men speaking to men on this topic,” said Kennedy. “I am so proud to be part of a community where you have men like this who are willing to stand up and say no, violence is NEVER an option. We at Family Transition Place share a common goal and on behalf of all women in the community I’m grateful for the work the White Ribbon Committee is doing.”
“Every month from now until December we’ll be releasing a new poster,” said Renshaw. “The guys that have stepped up – like Terry and Josh Sanderson – it’s amazing. There’s a deep and powerful conviction here that we need to do something, especially for the next generation of girls and young women coming up. They have so much opportunity to live full, rich lives and they deserve the right to live free from fear of violence.”
ABOUT THE HEADWATERS WHITE RIBBON COMMITTEE
The Headwaters White Ribbon Committee is a volunteer committee. Its members include: Pete Renshaw, Chair of the Board at Family Transition Place, Blair Russell, Treasurer, Family Transition Place and VP Sales Madison Chemicals, Dave Quinton of the Ontario Provincial Police (retired), Walter Kolodziechuk, Warden of Dufferin County, Tony Maxwell, President of Headwaters Media Inc., Travis Greenley, Youth Education Coordinator, Family Transition Place and Norah Kennedy, Executive Director, Family Transition Place.
Pete Renshaw, Chair
Tony Maxwell (Media Contact)