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Man Up Against Violence!

The event sought to address hyper-masculinity and its follies

Contributor: rebbeca marroquin – contributor

Rates of violence against women in Saskatchewan is double the national average. / Alec Salloum
Rates of violence against women in Saskatchewan is double the national average. / Alec Salloum

The kick off for the Man Up Against Violence campaign was hosted by the kinesiology and health studies students’ society on Oct. 27 at the University of Regina. This weeklong series of events promoted the idea that solutions to problems, such as gender violence, cannot be achieved without the support of the community.

“The uptake has been phenomenal” said Roz Kelsey, chairperson of the campaign.

On Oct. 29, the media education screening of Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood and American Culture, was played at the Campion Auditorium. In the video, Dr. Jackson Katz, a Motivational speaker and anti-sexist male activist, argued that the root of male violence begins with the way we define manhood, and the media and entertainment industry have a prodigious contribution on this definition.

Katz was invited to give a presentation on the issue of violence against women on Oct. 30, held at gymnasium 3. Emcee Addison first welcomed dean of the faculty of kinesiology and health studies, Harold River, to welcome guests on behalf of the U of R. River expressed his outlook on the Man Up campaign by stating, “This is only the beginning. It gives me great hope for the future.”

The second speaker was introduced on behalf of the provincial government. Minister Mark Docherty of parks, culture and sport, addressed the important message Man Up Against Violence has helped spread across the province: that violence is an issue that affects everyone and that everyone has the ability to be a part of a solution.

“The narrative needs to change. Violence against women is a man’s issue,” said Docherty. He then added that facilities in this province have helped create a safe and protective environment for children and women who are victims of abuse. “We need to prevent all forms of victimization,” Docherty concluded.

Up next was Katz. Aside from working in the field of gender violence prevention, Katz is an educator, filmmaker, author and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program. This gender violence prevention program educates athletes and student leaders on the different techniques to use in the fight against men’s violence towards women. It has been successful in enlisting hundreds of colleges and professional sports leagues across America.

The MVP model utilizes the “bystander approach” to focus on those who can interrupt and challenge abusive behaviour. “One of the benefits of this approach is that it solves one of the biggest problems in the work,” says Katz.

The bystander approach rejects the idea that it is not your issue if you’re neither a victim nor oppressor of violence. MVP encourages the bystander to stand up against acts of violence, making a clear statement that abusive behaviour is not acceptable. “That’s why we’re here talking about what all of us can do,” Katz concludes.

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