By Cletus Davis
The following text is from White Ribbon Campaign Executive Director Todd Minerson’s introduction to our most recent newsletter, which can be read in full here.
It is always a pleasure to connect with you around this time of year.
Not only have things moved in to high gear with our education and prevention work across the country; we are on the “heels” of another amazingly successful Walk A Mile In Her Shoes Toronto 2010; we have a number of new and exciting initiatives and we are rapidly approaching the highlight of our annual campaign period (Nov 25 – Dec 6).
Someone recently framed our work with men and boys to end violence against women and girls like this, and it really stuck with me.
“You can’t solve a problem that you can’t even talk about”.
So much of our work is an effort to get men and boys talking about the problem of violence against women. Challenging them to see the connections between male privilege, men’s silence and violence against women; giving them the tools and inspiration to speak about something they likely have never spoken about before; getting to some of the root causes of why men don’t speak up or challenge violence against women – these are the nuts and bolts of our work.
My message today is not to focus on those details, but to share a phenomenon I witness regularly, and have been through personally.
Every time you speak up about violence against women – it gets a little bit easier.
I see this phenomenon in action when we are working with young people in the classroom. When we are training teachers how to address these issues. When I return to a community to do a speech, and find some of the men I spoke with months earlier are now volunteering at a women’s shelter. When I look out at a crowd of 700 men in women’s shoes, walking to end violence against women. When I am tying my skates in my own hockey dressing room, thinking back to my first days in this work almost five years ago, and I had the responsibility to speak up.
Every time a man has the strength to speak up it gets a little bit easier. Every time one man speaks up, there are other men within hearing range who may be saying “If he can say something, I can too.” Every time a young man or boy hears a man he respects speak up, that action pays it forward. Every time a woman hears a man speak up, she
might be saying “we can work together to make a change.”
Never underestimate the power of saying something, for only when we break the silence around violence against women, will we see the end of it.
Thank you all for the support of our work at the White Ribbon Campaign.
Until the violence stops,
Todd Minerson, Executive Director
White Ribbon Campaign