Partners Against Violence growing campaign combating violence against women
Saskatchewan has the highest instances of violence against women in the country.
Violence against women isn’t going away, so the members of Moose Jaw’s Partners Against Violence are increasing their efforts to raise awareness during this year’s White Ribbon Campaign.
“As Partners Against Violence, we’re working together to not only make the campaign happen again, but increase the presence of the campaign and take it to a higher level, where it should be,” said Sgt. Kevin Pilsworth from the Moose Jaw Police Service.
The White Ribbon Campaign is a global initiative to end male violence against women. It began in the wake of the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989, that saw 14 female students shot and killed because of their gender. The White Ribbon Campaign is now active in more than 60 countries and seeks to promote healthy relationships, gender equity and a compassionate vision of masculinity. The ‘white ribbon’ is meant to symbolize “the idea of men giving up their arms.”
“Violence is not OK with anyone and it is everyone’s responsibility, but really, the White Ribbon Campaign is trying to shift it a little bit and say yes it is everyone’s responsibility, but for this moment in time we want to acknowledge the fact that historically men have been over-represented in violence against women. As a result, it should be men that are bringing awareness of that and bringing it to the forefront. It should be men of all ages who are the champions of the White Ribbon Campaign,” Pilsworth said.
The Moose Jaw Police Service is one of several local agencies that are part of Partners Against Violence. They hold events throughout the year and will be working together to raise awareness leading up to National Day of Remembrance on Dec. 6.
“The Police Service is super-privileged to be a part of that group. We try to share the responsibility with a number of different agencies and folks around the table,” Pilsworth said. “The Police Service certainly sees the front line of that violence on a regular basis, so it certainly makes sense that it’s something that we want to be a big part of.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re trying to be one of the leaders on the committee for Partners Against Violence. I certainly want to give a lot of credit to Moose Jaw Transition House. They’ve really steered the ship for the part number of years. Their executive director Lori Lancaster has really been the main driver for the past four or five years for the White Ribbon Campaign.” Mayor Fraser Tolmie signed a proclamation to kick-off the White Ribbon Campaign on Nov. 15. Partners Against Violence will be at the Nov. 23 Moose Jaw Warriors home game to further raise awareness. “We’re thrilled to also have the support of the Moose Jaw Warriors,” Pilsworth said. “Partners Against Violence will be present at the game, handing out ribbons and buttons and some information surrounding the White Ribbon campaign, as well as making people aware of the Dec. 6 event.”
The week will conclude on the National Day of Remembrance on Dec. 6 with a luncheon from noon until 2 p.m. at Minto United Church.
Lani Elliot, a survivor of domestic violence from Regina, will be the keynote speaker.
“We’re excited to have her come in as a speaker,” Pilsworth said. “She has quite an interesting story.”
The event is open to the public and Charlotte’s will be providing a catered meal for $15.
“Our members and our staff here are fully behind this initiative,” Pilsworth said of the MJPS. “You will see our Chief and our members and staff wearing the white ribbon, as well as the red button that has the ‘Dec. 6 take action on violence against women’ motto on it. Several of our members will also be taking part in the lace-up campaign that is tied to the White Ribbon campaign. “We’re stepping up our involvement and we’re trying to take this initiative to a higher level where we think it belongs. Violence needs to end. We’re trying to do our best, but there is definitely room for improvement and so that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Moose Jaw Mayor Fraser Tolmie signed a proclamation on Monday to kick-off the start of the White Ribbon Campaign, proclaiming Nov. 25 to Dec. 6 as White Ribbon Campaign week.