THUNDER BAY – Nearly 50 grade seven to 10 male students from Lakehead Public Schools throughout the city are attending the Engaging Male Students to Reduce and Prevent Gender-Based Violence workshop today aimed at preventing gender-based violence against women and girls. The training conference brings together presenters from various organizations in the city to educate the boys with the knowledge and skills they need to become kind men.
“As long as violence against women and girls continues, our work is not done,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “Our role as men and as boys needs to be about changing the dialogue in society about our sisters, mothers, aunts and friends towards greater respect, equality and ultimately, safety.”
Some of the topics covered at the workshop include respect, popular culture influences, healthy relationships, and consent.
Student leaders from each Lakehead Public Schools elementary and secondary school are learning skills to help them be effective leaders on the issue of gender-based violence among their peers. The goal, upon completing the workshop, is to see the boys organize awareness events in their schools, to become leaders in changing the outdated concepts of masculinity and to embrace their potential to be a part of positive change.
“We are very proud of the boys in attendance and their commitment to take a stand against gender-based violence,” says Jeff Upton, Lakehead Public Schools Education Officer, and workshop organizer. “To see this program continue to evolve with ongoing support from the community is very rewarding.”
The White Ribbon Campaign is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls. White Ribbon positively engages men and boys through relevant educational programming that challenges language and behaviours, as well as harmful ideas of masculinity that can lead to violence against women. This year’s event is being held on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.
The City of Thunder Bay has lowered its flags to half-mast for the day to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.