Youth Ending Violence: Changing Conversations, Preventing Gender Violence

By Roohi Sahajpal

I didn’t think walking into a high school as a 20-something would be an intimidating experience, but I was wrong. Standing in front of a classroom of 30 teenagers with all of the attention on me, I found myself nervous for the first time in years. This was in September 2014, my first time presenting as Youth Workshop Facilitator with Battered Women’s Support Services. Now, over a year and dozens of workshops later, the nerves have subsided and going to different schools and community groups in the Metro Vancouver is an exciting challenge to look forward to.

My experience volunteering as a Workshop Facilitator with the Youth Ending Violence program has been nothing but positive. Not only has it allowed me to build my confidence and public speaking skills, it’s also given me an opportunity to use education as a means to support others. I was looking for a way to give back to my community and find a meaningful way to discuss ideas surrounding violence against women, feminism and healthy relationships to students who might not have the chance in their day to day life. Youth, more than anyone, face the most peer pressure and are highly influenced by their surroundings, whether this be with good ideas or bad.

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(L-R) Jessica, Sarah, Roohi. Roohi. Roohi, Sara & Jessica Ly

One of the most interesting things about being a Workshop Facilitator is the discussions that happen during and after your presentation. Coming from a media background, I’m always excited to hear how in tune youth are with how the media influences representations of women and healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. During every presentation, someone would bring up a pop culture reference or something that they noticed in a movie or music video they had seen that bothered them. Watching the interaction students would have with each other is really encouraging and it proved how presentations like ours can really spark a dialogue youth can have with each other around gender roles and the impact those roles have on youth dating relationships. The ability to think critically about how the media perpetuates toxic masculinity for boys and young men and objectifies girls and women helps get the discussion rolling on how to resist and create change.

Youth Ending Violence facilitators help create social change because of our ability to provide a safe environment for other youth to talk about dating violence and sexism in a way that most classes are not set up for. I think these conversations that youth can have in classrooms during the presentation allows them to feel comfortable with one another and it creates a safe space. Many of them probably don’t have these important conversations with their peers on a daily basis and through hearing what their friend thinks about topics like violence against girls and women and consent, it can lead them to changing their mind and encourage them to be empowered bystanders in their community and prevent gender violence.

My volunteer experience has also led to other cool opportunities, one of them being asked to facilitate a workshop on Media and Dating Violence with the Girls Action Foundation’s annual Zoom in On Girls meeting in Vancouver in April 2015. I’m really looking forward to continue volunteering with BWSS and I would encourage anyone who’s looking to give back to youth in their community to do the same

Roohi Sahajpal is a Youth Ending Violence Facilitator at Battered Women’s Support Services

Roohi has a background in journalism and non-profit work and is interested in ideas surrounding feminism, media, culture, and diversity. She graduated with a journalism degree from Ryerson University in 2012 and has been a volunteer with the YOUth Ending Violence program since 2014.

Join Our Youth Team!

BWSS offers training for young women and men who want to volunteer for our YOUth Ending Violence Program to facilitate workshops for youth. To provide youth with knowledge on the difference between healthy and abusive relationships; understanding the dynamics of abuse; learn where and how to obtain help; understand the role of social media and the media on youth in dating relationships; and to support youth to feel empowered to speak out against dating violence and sexism.

Join Battered Women’s Support Services, facilitate dating violence prevention workshops for youth.

Participants will learn:

  • Root Causes of Gender Violence & Dating Violence
  • Media Literacy Skills
  • Role of Social Media and Gender Based Violence
  • Group Facilitation Skills
  • Presentation Skills
  • Leadership Skills
  • Empowered Bystander Intervention

Training Sessions: February 13-14 and 20-21

To register or for more information call RONA at 778-558-7179 or email yev@bwss.org

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Download the poster here

Youth Ending Violence facilitators share their experiences and more information about the program:

 

Breaking the Silos

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
November 25, 2015

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Commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women with BWSS Breaking the Silos

Purchase tickets here!

This year we will honour our collective efforts, connect as a community, inspire each other, strengthen friendships, and raise funds for Battered Women’s Support Services critical services and programs.  This year’s upcoming projects feature new developments in our legal advocacy program, youth ending violence program, and voices from the front-line.  Our dynamic program will include an eco-fashion show by our social enterprise My Sister’s Closet

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Keynote Speaker Severn Cullis-Suzuki

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We are honored to present Severn Cullis-Suzuki.

Severn Cullis-Suzuki is an activist for diversity – in the natural world, in human society and in cultural worldviews.  She began as child, calling on leaders for intergenerational justice for her generation.  In 1992, 12-year-old Canadian Severn Cullis-Suzuki spoke at the Earth Summit in Rio. With eloquence and passion, she appealed to world leaders not as politicians but as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, reminding them they were there not to protect Earth for the sake of economics or politics, but for those we love. Severn moved her audience to tears and shot to fame as an icon of the environmental movement. Now known as “The Girl Who Silenced the World for 6 Minutes”, the video clip of the speech is still making rounds on YouTube, continuing to inspire youth all over the world – many of whom don’t realize it’s two decades old.

Today she fights for the future of her own children. A proud global citizen, her work is often on an international level; but it is rooted in Canada where she is an author and environmental communicator, and in the treeroots and salmon streams of her home province of British Columbia, where she lives on Haida Gwaii.  Severn is a member of the Earth Charter International Council, host of Aboriginal People’s Television Network’s Samaqan: Water Stories, a Board Member of the David Suzuki Foundation and the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society.

What to Expect at BWSS Breaking the Silos 2015

Welcoming Reception with a dynamic Eco fashion show by My Sister’s Closet

Full Sit-down Dinner: Breaking the Silo menu will include appetizer, entrée, dessert, wine, and cash bar.

Silent Auction: Our silent auction will once again be available.  Stay tuned for more information.  If you have something you would like to donate, please email us at communityengagement@bwss.org

Accessibility: The Terminal City Club is wheelchair accessible.

Would you like to know more about BWSS Breaking the Silos? Please ask us by calling us at 778-558-7179 or email communityengagement@bwss.org!

BWSS Breaking the Silos 2015 is presented by:

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Youth are Powerful Agents for Change

Youth are Powerful Agents for Change

Boys Bring their Voice to the Prevention of Violence Against Women

First stage gender violence prevention is emerging as an important focus of community and government with engaging boys and men awareness raising campaigns, bystander intervention and healthy relationship workshops leading the way. Our own Youth Ending Violence takes a unique “peer to peer” approach through training young women and young men to deliver dating violence prevention workshops.

Recently, we embarked on a wonderful journey when we joined St. George School for Boys for a project called Create Your Own. Create Your Own was led by Amalia Nickel  and funded by Vancouver Foundation and My Sister’s Closet (a social enterprise of Battered Women’s Support Services).

 

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CreateYourOwn2The project centred around mentoring to engage the young men from St. George’s School for Boys Film and Television Production class to share an important message of gender violence prevention with each other. Through creating a safe space the students shared their personal opinions, ideas and experiences around gender violence and creatively expressed their own feelings through artistic mentorship. The bold intention included supporting youth to build skills to present their creative endeavors with confidence while mentoring youth through all the logistical steps of planning and production, giving guidance as necessary, but listening carefully to the youth, so that essentially it is their vision that we facilitate.

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The class was a combination of grade 11 and grade 12 students  and over three months we worked closely with the students  through individual and group work that included media literacy, exploration of gender role socialization, and dynamics of dating violence and sexual harassment. The sessions were powerful and the conversations were transformational. The boys examined gender socialization, patriarchal cultural underpinnings and other root causes and identified the ways that these social and systemic structures helped turn out men and boys to chose violence (against women and against each other), for boys and men to turn to unhealthy behaviours to cope with the challenges of life. They were attuned in the ways that the construction of masculinity and gender tells boys and men to bury feelings, to limit choices in careers, expressions, and relationships. And the boys shared their own personal experiences where they witnessed an adult man abuse an adult woman and they knew of girls who had experienced sexual and/or dating violence.

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Incorporating prevention work with men and boys is an essential piece towards creating a safer, more equitable and violence free world for women and girls. One of the core challenges is convincing men and boys that the struggle for gender equality has a net benefit for men as well. The project concluded with the boys creating a video reflecting their understandings of the impact of witnessing violence has on children.

Here is their video:

We want to thank St. George’s School for Boys, Amalia Judith Nickel, Trevor Mills, Kent Stepheny, Claire Mortifee, Quentin Barr, Zoe Peled, Selena Lohan, Artem Fomitchev, Patriz Fomitchev, Tim Varro, Tiffany Jaeger, Rona Amiri, Rob G., and Marcel Daly.

 

Learn more about #BecauseYouCan – Prevention of Violence Against Women Week:

Prevention of Violence Against Women Week 2015

Women’s Support Group Launches Violence Prevention Campaign Drawing Attention to Effects Witnessing Violence Has On Children

You could do something to End Violence Against Women

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Violence Prevention Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WOMEN’S SUPPORT GROUP LAUNCHES VIOLENCE PREVENTION CAMPAIGN DRAWING ATTENTION TO EFFECTS WITNESSING VIOLENCE HAS ON CHILDREN

Prevention of Violence Against Women Week 2015

Violence against women in intimate relationships is a learned behaviour so Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) has launched an awareness campaign #BecauseYouCan to draw attention to the effects witnessing abuse has on children. The campaign features bus shelter ads positioned around Vancouver, BC. People are invited to share photos of the ads through social media with the hashtag #BecauseYouCan.

In Canada, it is estimated that each year 800,000 children are exposed to a woman being abused by their father or father-figure.  When children witness abuse they receive the message that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict and therefore a normal part of a relationship.

“In the research literature, children are often called “witnesses”. This term implies a passive role – but children living with their mother’s abuse will actively interpret, predict, assess, worry, engage in problem solving, take measures to protect themselves or siblings, both physically and emotionally”, states Angela Marie MacDougall,Executive Director of BWSS, “Children may referee, try to rescue their mother, try to deflect the abuser’s attention onto them, try to distract the abuser, take care of younger siblings, and they may also seek outside help such as calling the police or running to a neighbour’s house”.

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Some findings point to gender specific factors for boys and girls that are associated with witnessing violence. In general, boys have been shown to exhibit more frequent problems and ones that are categorized as external, such as hostility and aggression, while girls generally show evidence of more internalized problems.  There are studies that indicate that up to 80% of boys who witness their mother’s abuse by their father or father-figure go on to be abusive in their relationships with women as adults.  As well, girls who witness go on to experience abuse in their adult relationships with men.

“When a man is abusive to a child’s mother, it’s more than bad role modelling, it’s impacting the safety of those children forever”, states Rosa Elena Arteaga, Manager of Direct Services and Clinical Practice at BWSS, “The impact carries into adulthood and into the next generations”.

#BecauseYouCan coincides with other BWSS events commemorating Prevention of Violence Against Women Week (April 12-19, 2015)

YOUth Ending Violence Volunteer Training Program

Youth are powerful agents for change and BWSS successful Youth Ending Violence Program trains young women and young men to facilitate workshops on dating and sexual violence prevention. BWSS YouthFacilitators learn the differences between healthy and abusive relationships, dynamics of abuse, learn where and how to obtain help, understand the impact of media and social media on youth in dating relationships, and how to be an empowered bystander. BWSS Youth Ending Violence Program reaches 2,000 youth annually.

Creative Cafe Day – #BecauseYouCan Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls

At My Sister’s Closet, a social enterprise of BWSS, located at 1092 Seymour Street (at Helmcken) Downtown, Vancouver

April 15, 2015 from 12 pm to 6 pm

Community sharing their talents all to support ending violence.

Live Music

Sidewalk Art

Face Painting

Local Women Artisans Creations Featured

Tarot Card Readings

Henna Hand Painting

Origami Making

Spirit Bear coffee and tea

#BecauseYouCan Blog

A blog series featuring violence prevention information, tools and tips to help people navigate violence prevention opportunities in their own life.  The blog series is hosted at BWSS Ending Violence Blog at www.bwss.org/endingviolence.

 

For more information:

Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director of BWSS

T: 604-808-0507

Rosa Elena Arteaga, Manager of Direct Services and Clinical Practices

T: 778-996-5993

 

You could do something to End Violence Against Women

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Prevention of Violence Against Women Week 2015

#BecauseYouCan

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) is committed to taking action and preventing violence against women.  Each year we commemorate Prevention of Violence Against Women Week held during the third week of April.  This year, during Prevention of Violence Against Women Week (April 12-19 2015), BWSS features the following events:

You Could Do Something to End Violence Against Women – Bus Shelter Ads

Violence against women in intimate relationships is a learned behaviour so BWSS has launched an awareness campaign drawing attention on the effects witnessing abuse has on children.  You Could Do Something To Prevent Violence Against Women bus shelter ads are positioned around the Vancouver, BC. People are invited to share photos of the ads through social media with the hashtag #BecauseYouCan.

BWSS-Shelter-Poster-1117_FINAL(Download the poster here.)

Posted with the support of the City of Vancouver.

YOUth Ending Violence Volunteer Training Program

Youth are powerful agents for change and BWSS successful Youth Ending Violence trains young women and young men to facilitate workshops on dating and sexual violence prevention. BWSS Youth facilitators learn differences between healthy and abusive relationships, dynamics of abuse, learn where and how to obtain help, understand the impact of media and social media on youth in dating relationships and how to be an empowered bystander.  BWSS Youth Ending Violence program reaches 2,000 youth annually.

Boys Will be Boys: Fighting Sexism in Media and Journalism

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Jian Ghomeshi scandal shocked the country, but maybe we needed to be shocked. Despite all the gains made over decades for women’s rights and gender equality, even our trusted public broadcaster had failed us.

Newsrooms have long been a man’s world, and while women are occupying positions as journalists, editors, producers, and broadcasters more than ever before, it’s clear that sexism, sexual harassment, and even sexual assault remains a problem in the industry. Whereas women remained silent for years, fearing they’d lose their jobs and ruin their careers if they spoke out about the misogyny they experienced working in media, they are finally beginning to speak out, buoyed by the courage and righteous anger of their female colleagues.

This panel features four prominent and courageous women who are experts on the issue of gender discrimination, violence against women, and sexism in the media. They will address the history of this insidious problem, the current climate, and the real-life impact of sweeping sexist practices and behaviour under the rug.

This is a conversation Canada needs to have. Join us.

Speakers:

Angela Marie MacDougall

Meghan Murphy

Laura Robinson

When: Saturday, Apr 11, 2015, 2–4 p.m.

Where: Room 7000, SFU Vancouver (Harbour Centre)

Admission: Free and open to all adults, but please Register.

Creative Cafe Day – #BecauseYouCan Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls

At My Sister’s Closet located at 1092 Seymour Street (at Helmcken) in Downtown, Vancouver

April 15, 2015 from 12 pm to 6 pm

Community sharing their talents all to support ending violence.

Live Music

Sidewalk Art

Face Painting

Local Women Artisan Creations Featured

Tarot Card Readings

Spirit Bear coffee and tea

BWSS International Womens Day - POSTER_APR15

#BecauseYouCan Blog

Once again, we have convened a few serious feminist writers to contribute to our blog Ending Violence this year featuring violence prevention along with an old concept with a new name “A First Responder”.  Ending Violence Blog is at www.bwss.org/endingviolence

Taking a trip down Prevention Week memory lane

Creating Transformation – Community Engagement in Prevention of Violence Against Women – 2014

https://www.bwss.org/creating-transformation-community-engagement-in-prevention-violence-against-women/

The Bro-Code

https://www.bwss.org/the-bro-code-episode-7/

Prevention of Violence Against Women Week 2013 – It’s in your hands

https://www.bwss.org/take-action/workers-activists/training/upcoming-training/prevention-of-violence-against-women-week/

Gender Violence in the Workplace

https://www.bwss.org/gender-violence-in-the-workplace/

20 Ways Youth Can Prevent Violence Against Girls & Women

https://www.bwss.org/gender-violence-in-the-workplace/

End the Silence: 15 Ways Men Can Be Empowered Bystanders

https://www.bwss.org/end-the-silence-15-ways-men-be-an-empowered-bystander/

Info-graphic: https://www.bwss.org/end-the-silence-15-ways-men-can-be-empowered-bystanders/

How Does She Resist? Prevention of Violence Against Women Week–April 15–21, 2012

https://www.bwss.org/how-does-she-resist-prevention-of-violence-against-women-weekapril-1521-2012/

Prevention of Violence Against Women Week – April 18 – 25, 2011

https://www.bwss.org/prevention-of-violence-against-women-week-april-18-25-2011/

Prevention of Violence Against Women Week – April 18 – 25, 2010

https://www.bwss.org/prevention-of-violence-against-women-week-april-18-25-2010/

National Crime Victims Awareness Week April 22 – 28, 2012 Taking Action to End Violence Against Girls and Women

https://www.bwss.org/national-crime-victims-of-crimes-awareness-week-april-22-to-28-2012-taking-action-to-end-violence-against-girls-and-women/

National Crime Victims Awareness Week 2012 – Violence, Women & Access to Justice

https://www.bwss.org/national-crime-victims-awareness-week-2012-violence-women-access-to-justice/

National Crime Victim Awareness Week 2012 – Court Related Abuse and Harassment

https://www.bwss.org/national-crime-victim-awareness-week-2012-court-related-abuse-and-harassment/

National Crime Victims Awareness Week – April 10 – 17, 2011

https://www.bwss.org/national-crime-victims-awareness-week-2011/

National Crime Victim’s Awareness Week – Start the conversation, take action, end violence

https://www.bwss.org/national-crime-victims-awareness-week-start-the-conversation-take-action-end-violence/

 

You could do something to End Violence Against Women

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