By positively connecting with music, painting, fashion, theatre, dance, etc., youth at iHuman work through issues of poverty, addiction, abuse, familial neglect, homelessness, mental health issues and gang affiliation.
According to the iHuman website, “Our youth stay in our programs for an average of three years. In that time, they are introduced to arts-based activities that help them heal and discover their own identity, and they are given constant support and guidance while they transition into independent living and healthy life choices.”
To find out more about this excellent organization, CLICK HERE.
Through meetings with their local women’s agency (HAWC), these passionate men gathered with other key community members to engage the “regular men” in their community in conversations about gender-based violence. Their approach is working incredibly well, and it has become a model for other communities across the U.S.
On their homepage, they make the following statement:
“For the past 25 years, women have done courageous work running battered women’s agencies, rape crisis centres, 24-hour hotlines, and safe houses. We men have no idea what it takes to run a shelter at a secret address to protect women and their children from death threats and stalkers. And, we haven’t been the ones maintaining volunteer hotlines, 24-hour a day for tens of thousands of hours. Gloucester’s highest medal, the Mariner’s Medal, is awarded to men for bravery at sea. There should be a medal for the women who do this work.
Men everywhere need to get together, break the ‘sissy’ barrier, and end our silence that has condoned the abuse. We need to stand up where we live and work and say, ‘We can’t be strong and be abusing women and children!’ We need to do this and really mean it. In Gloucester, over 500 men from a variety of backgrounds have declared that on our work sites, in our coffee shops, locker rooms, schools, homes, and even in some of our bars, domination of women is no longer seen as a way to be a strong man.”
To find out more about this exciting initiative, CLICK HERE.
DoSomething.org is an American not-for-profit that gives youth the tools and inspiration to make a difference in their communities. According to their website, they exist, “so 13- to 25-year-olds can make an impact – without ever needing money, an adult, or a car.”
The website includes a fantastic search engine called, “Action Finder” where participants look for tools to start campaigns about issues they are interested in. For example, they might want to prevent bullying in their school with a small group of dedicated friends over a full semester. Or, they could focus on homelessness in their neighborhood for a week-long campaign that involves their sports team. Each search gives various ideas and tips on how to “do something” based on specific criteria.
For more information, CLICK HERE.
White Ribbon plays a key role in reducing violence against women and girls. According to their website, they are “the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.”
Engaging men in conversations about how to end violence against women and girls is crucial for promoting gender equity and healthy relationships. White Ribbon started as an awareness campaign in 1991 and has now spread to over 60 countries worldwide. Some of their programs include: “Walk a Mile”, “It Starts with You”, and “Higher Unlearning”.
To find out more, CLICK HERE.
The first phase of The Peace Project is complete.
For the past year, we’ve gathered enormous amounts of data from the City of Fort St. John and surrounding area about gender-based violence. What contributes to violence against women and girls? What are the barriers that prevent us from addressing violence against women and girls in our community? Click here for results from phase one
In our next phase, we will create local programs to alleviate these barriers. We will educate the community about the effect of violence against women locally and what resources are available to prevent gender-based violence in Fort St. John.
For inspiration, we will post some “best practices” – local and not-so-local activities that focus on maintaining the social health and wellbeing of communities and families everywhere.
For example, “Miss Representation” is a documentary film and social action campaign that discusses sexism in media. Exposing the under-representation and misrepresentation of women in mainstream media, the campaign hopes to explore the following, “All people should be equally represented in our media, that our voices should be heard and that we should all be valued for our talents, capacity as leaders, and ability to contribute to the world at large.”
The movie has already made a great impact. According to the College Action Network, “73% of students surveyed said that Miss Representation changed their opinion about the way women are portrayed in the media.”
To find out more and to get the film, CLICK HERE.
You can visit The Peace Project at the 41st annual CKNL Trade Show at the Pomeroy Sports Centre from April 12 to 14th, 2013. We will have a booth on the second floor with lots of information and activities.
We’re asking Fort St. John residents to help us create a ”Collective Community Vision” that will reduce violence against women and girls. Come by our booth and help us shape that vision! Take part and win a great prize – stay tuned for the exciting details.
If you are under 19 years of age we’d love to hear from you.
The survey only takes ten to fifteen minutes and it’s a great way to help reduce violence against women and girls in Fort St. John.
To take the survey, click here.
Please pass the link to anyone you know who is 19 years of age or older and who currently lives or once lived in Fort St. John and surrounding area.
To take the survey, click HERE.
By completing the survey, you have a chance to win one of four $50 gift certificates.
All survey data is anonymous and confidential.
Thank-you for your support!
On Facebook, there are hundreds of pages labeled, “controversial humor” that allow creators and participants to make fun of things that fall under the definition of hate speech (attacking someone on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation). Labeling something “controversial” gives us fair warning that we may not agree with or like the content on the page, particularly if it targets us or people we know. Seeing this warning, we are encouraged to, as one page owner put it: “Leave. Don’t be stupid.”
The Facebook Community Standards specifically explains that “Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech.” I can imagine the enormous job of going over every report against these “controversial humor” pages, continually making sure that their owners don’t wittingly or unwittingly cross over into the world of “serious” speech versus “humorous” speech. Creating an ethical standard from which to define “serious” versus “humorous” content must also be quite the task.
There are controversial humor pages that specifically target rape. This may sound crass, but some are better at making fun of rape than others. I don’t support them or find rape funny in any way, shape or form. What I mean is the following: on certain pages I can tell the content is not serious. Also, on the “humorous” versions of these pages, no one group is targeted in the content, just the concept of rape in general. The page owner may not actually hate a particular group of people, but just wants to poke fun at the very touchy topic of rape. These pages definitely walk a fine line.
But, sometimes it goes too far. Sometimes, particular groups are targeted. There are particular rape humor pages that sometimes cross over into the world of “serious” speech and sometimes target women.
There’s a meme out there with the words “I beat my wife regularly” at the top and “home so I can cook her dinner” at the bottom. It has a classic twist ending that makes for an effective punch line. One rape humor page takes this meme and creates a new one with “I beat my wife regularly” at the top and “with my fists” at the bottom. The description reads “Stupid F$#%ing B#$%@”.
It’s difficult to know if this is serious or not. It’s a play on an already existing joke/meme, but is it humorous? It certainly didn’t make me laugh. But, then again, it’s targeting a group that I’m a part of. Perhaps it would be funnier to someone who isn’t in this group.
I reported this image and a few others that I thought crossed over into a more serious realm. I was told by Facebook that they “were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities”. It’s hard enough for me to read this information without feeling foolish and defeated. Imagine a fourteen year-old girl or boy receiving this information from Facebook. They’re being told via legalese that it’s okay to beat up women and call them terrible names. Or, at least it’s okay to make jokes about it.
Hopefully, Facebook will create stricter ethical standards to define “serious” and “humorous” speech that targets races, genders, religions, disabilities, sexual orientations, etc. For now, we should have conversations with each other and particularly with our younger friends and family about the power of controversial humor. As one gender theorist says, “If you want to neutralize a group of people, turn them into a joke.”
December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Today, we remember the victims of the 1989 massacre in Montreal: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Marie Klueznick, Maryse Leclerc, Annie St-Arneault, Maryse Laganière, Michèle Richard, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonya Pelletier, and Annie Turcotte.
For a thoughtful piece on the massacre and the effect it had on the feminist movement at the time, click here.
My work as Project Coordinator for The Peace Project is now in its seventh month. The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women gives me a great opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned about gender-based violence so far.
I can say, without hesitation, that gender-related discussions are some of the most challenging. In university, I was in a sociology of subjectivity class that focused on individuals and their perspectives, feelings, beliefs, etc. We spent many classes having fairly civil (and sometimes slightly heated) conversations about a wide array of topics: humour, nationality, art, etc. During one class, we were asked to label different sports as either feminine or masculine. The class found it easy, for example, to label hockey masculine and gymnastics feminine. As we continuted to consider why certain sports are more masculine than others and why certain activities were difficult to categorize, the civil discourse turned into heated, impassioned arguments. Reasonable and intelligent students were suddenly red in the cheeks and frustrated by the idea of hockey being a feminine sport and dance or gymnastics being masculine. Many of us had to agree to disagree or risk saying something we regretted.
Gender issues affect everyone. This includes gender based violence. And, like the experience of labelling certain activities as masculine and feminine and then collectively agreeing why this is “the way it is”, discussions on gender issues and gender-based violence are sometimes difficult to negotiate.
Gender-based violence is a complex and difficult issue. But, even if discussions turn into frustrating exchanges where each person feels challenged by the other’s perspective, it is incredibly important for communities to have conversations about violence against women and girls. The factors that contribute to gender-based violence and the reasons why it happens in the first place cannot be easily described. However, considering what’s at stake in any community across the world, we must at least try.
I feel very fortunate to be part of a project that has the potential to make a big difference in the lives of everyone in the community – women and men, boys and girls.