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Attitude Adjustment – Ending Violence Against Women

October 1, 2012

I have lived in a rural area of Ontario, Canada, for 20 years. Three years after arriving here, I found myself at a 12-step program. I was also one of the guinea pigs during the commencement of our new centre for women — I joined the first brave group to gather and bring out our stories of sexual abuse in our lives.

The attitude that we were up against came through loud and clear at one of the 12-step meetings. A man from my father’s generation got up and said, “I’m sick and tired of all the women whining about sex stuff during these things. Just get over it.” This permeated many of the meetings; you could feel people cringing if one of us brought up the subject.  It wasn’t a very safe environment, but we still kept on talking.

Well, our centre didn’t give up either. Family Transition Place has done an enormous amount of work bringing awareness of abuses against women to light in our community (and so much more!).  We’ve had one too many shocking domestic violence murders over the last 10-15 years to not pay attention to it.

So when I hear that there are a group of local men, who gather once a week to do the man-cave thing, having called themselves The Women Haters Club, my heart sinks.  And then the miracle happens when I open my local paper one day.

I am so proud of the men in my community for taking the initiative in being a shining example for the masculine essence to follow. My heartfelt love and gratitude goes out to all of you for doing your part. The world is changing for the highest good of all, right before our eyes.


Ending violence against women

Prominent local men set an example for others

  • By Chris Halliday – June 13, 2012

“We, as a group of men, felt it was time for the silent majority … to take a stand.” Tony Maxwell, Headwaters White Ribbon Committee

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 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 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.”

Then this from our Mayor:  Violence against women is unacceptable

Dear editor,

Re: Headwaters White Ribbon Campaign

Last month, around Father’s Day, a poster appeared featuring Terry and Josh Sanderson and Josh’s daughter, Ashley. These well-respected men stood up and made a call to end violence against women.

This month, it’s my turn, along with my daughter Emily. As a father, it was an easy decision. It is absolutely unacceptable for our daughters to grow up in a world that allows violence to happen. It’s time for the silent majority of men to stand together on this.

That’s why I encourage the men in our community to visit and sign the pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence to women.

On behalf of my daughter Emily, I thank you.

Mayor Rob Adams, Orangeville


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