author: john loeppky | editor-in-chief
Initiative aims to combat gendered violence
Monday marked the official beginning of Man Up Against Violence’s week of programming. Roz Kelsey, a faculty member of Kinesiology and Health Studies, heads the event, meant to highlight gendered violence.
Thomas Gallet, an international business student is a student assistant with the initiative, and highlights a collaboration with campus security surrounding the sexual assault reporting process as a particularly important piece of the schedule.
“[It’s] not going to be our most popular event, but I think it’s one of the events that, if we can even get one or two people to come out, it would really be great. It’s really just about understanding what to do when you report sexual assault.”
Gallet says that distilling Man Up’s message is a convoluted movement.
“The thing about this [week] is it’s very hard to measure tangible steps in solving this issue because you’re not going to wake up one day and, all of a sudden, this issue be resolved. It’s something that has to happen, through our culture, through our society, it’s something has to gradually change. With this week, I hope that Man Up has a better name, we have more recognition, but I also just feel that this week is something that’s a step in the right direction for helping these issues.”
The schedule of events includes week-long tabling in the Riddell Centre, a sexual assault reporting expo in conjunction with campus security on Tuesday, a documentary screening and panel on Thursday, an art shop event in conjunction with the YWCA, and a networking event on Friday afternoon. Monday included a kickoff breakfast.
Nicole Tryhorn, a fifth-year business administration student, says that she got involved as a volunteer to raise awareness.
“As a female, I think it’s really important to know that there is still that gender inequality between males and females, and I think it’s also difficult for males to not fall into those gender stereotypical roles, so Man Up gives them that opportunity to realize that they can just relax and there can just be the equality between men and women. It’s such a great platform with everything that been going on. “
UR Pride’s executive director, Jacq Brasseur, says that the work of Man Up also affects gender and sexually diverse community members.
“I think that Man Up Against Violence, at its core, is about engaging men in the conversation to put an end to gendered violence in our communities and I think that when it comes to the queer and trans community, we know, I think, sometimes even more than folks who aren’t part of our community, that people of all different genders, all different gender identities commit and experience violence and that it’s important to address each type of gendered violence separately because they come from different places. For UR Pride, what that means is recognizing that queer men and trans men are at higher risk of experiencing violence than heterosexual men and CIS-gender men. It also means, though, that we look inwards in our communities and challenge the violence that takes place at the hands of all masculine-identified people and recognizing how hegemonic and toxic masculinity affects the relationships that queer and trans people live every day.”
Brasseur says that some of these aspects of Man Up’s programming are already part of ongoing discussion for future initiatives.
Man Up isn’t alone in hosting these events. Chapter president of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Taya Triffo, says that their organization is bringing a focus on fair trade to the series of events.
“[Fair trade is] an alternative model of trade that really supports women and girls and shows the global side of this issue, about how women need to be empowered.”
Triffo also highlights the importance of realizing the scope of gendered violence, when speaking about what she hopes people will gain from Man Up.
“I think realizing that it’s not just a localized issue, that this is a very global issue and hopefully see that some things that are happening in our community where women lack a voice or lack empowerment, or where maybe men are being violent towards women, that it’s a global issue and showing global solutions for that.”
EWB will be providing free-trade coffee during the week and is just one of the partners for the project that include Amnesty International and the Justice Students’ Society. Man Up has also partnered with the U of R Ambassadors program throughout the week, and are continually looking for volunteers. The best way to contact them is via Facebook, according to Gallet.
A full schedule of events is available on Man Up’s Facebook page.