Guest Speaker Jeff Feiner: “Toward a Future Without Violence Against Women & Girls”

The White Ribbon initiative was formed in 1991 in response to the Montreal massacre of 1989; Jeff Feiner has been a member since 2014 and has been its chair since 2016. He began his presentation with a few statistics on violence against women and associated costs:  $9 billion or $334 per capita [assumes Canadian stats?]; 3300 women in shelters nightly; 4000 indigenous women were murdered or are missing from 1980-2012; for every 33 assaults reported to police only 3 lead to convection.
 
White Ribbon’s philosophy for dealing with this has been to stop thinking that this is a “women’s issue” and to encourage children and men to play a role in prevention. To this end, WR conducts research and promotes workshops in all areas to engage men and boys to be part of the solution.
 
Another avenue is to encourage fatherhood which provides benefits to families; children see relationships as partnerships; relations with partners are improved; and there are greater opportunities to promote gender equality.
 
He cited an example from medical research: in the post 2008 recession, with more men assuming domestic roles, there was a drop in rates of post part depression and general levels of depression.
 
Current campaigns:
  1. From #MeToo to #IWill
 
2. The Pledge: encourages mento pledge “never to commit, condone or stay silent” in the face of violence against women and, once the pledge is taken, 8 other steps appear on the website.
 
3. 20min4change.org  encourages men to have a 20 minute talk with their sons about violence. The white ribbon initiative encourages the wearing of white ribbons. This and other campaigns have been developed in cooperation with the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency.
 
4.#LaceUpSpeakOut: customers of Town Shoes are encouraged to wear orange shoelaces as a sign of solidarity.
 
5.Signs & Posters developed with the Ministry of Education for use in the schools; these cite examples of inappropriate language or behaviour along with more appropriate responses.[One of our guests commented that these posters have been used at her school and have had a positive effect.]
 
6. The Toronto Maple Leafs have launched a “Men of Quality” campaign which  encourages men to practice respect and ask for consent - every time; men of quality have made a commitment to be allies not only to the women they love, but to all women.  Take a look at the ad: https://youtu.be/FwFnUtyuMBU
 
Since its founding 1in 1991, the White Ribbon initiative has spread to more than 60 countries; every month more than 50 men take the pledge; 10,000 hours of workshops have been delivered in the last 18 months.  For more information, see  https://www.whiteribbon.ca
 
Lois thanked our speaker.
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