An initiative aimed at breaking the silence on violence against women was launched Thursday (July 7) at the B.C. Lions training facility in Surrey.
The project, called Be More Than a Bystander, will provide tools, language and practical ideas about how to be more than a bystander, how to speak up and how to not allow violence and abuse to continue.
“Our government is proud to support projects that call on all Canadians – women and men, girls and boys – to work collaboratively to end all forms of violence against women,” said Rona Ambrose, minister of Public Works and Government Services and minister for Status of Women.
EVA B.C. (Ending Violence Association of B.C.) and the the B.C. Lions teamed up to create the three-year project aimed at helping people understand that everyone has a role in breaking the silence that surrounds violence against women. The two organizations will work together to develop and deliver a series of interactive workshops, training activities and a film and viewer’s guide directed at youth.
The project features professional athletes from the BC Lions Football Club appearing in radio and TV public service announcements, in the stadium on the big screen and in the game day program during home games.
And over the next two years, players will be visiting 40 high schools and talking to students in Grades 8 to 12 about healthy, respectful relationships and how to be more than a bystander. Workshop materials on how to talk to youth about these topics will also be created for coaches of amateur football teams.
“Violence against women is not just a women’s issue, because men commit the vast majority of violence against women in society. It is also a men’s issue and men need to get involved,” said Wally Buono, general manager and head coach of the Lions.
A legacy educational film will also be developed and distributed to schools in the final year, coinciding with a provincewide symposium to review the progress made thus far and to consider next steps in the movement to stop violence against women and girls.
The government of Canada provided $541,900 in funding and the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development provided $320,000 in support of the project.