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Tackling violence against women

Tackling violence against women

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Former BC Lions player J.R. LaRose talks to high school students about how to prevent violence against women. Nancy Tiffin photo

A former BC Lions football player, open discussions and hands-on scenarios recently helped about 40 local high school students learn what words and actions can lead to violence against women.

Sunshine Coast Community Services Society (SCCSS), in collaboration with School District No. 46, hosted a Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Student Summit May 5 at Seaside Centre in Sechelt. Grade 10 and 11 students from Chatelech, Elphinstone and Pender Harbour Secondary Schools, Sunshine Coast Alternative School and the Aboriginal Program attended, along with about 20 school administrators, SCCSS staff, and RCMP members trained in MVP strategies.

“I’m not OK with just standing by and being silent when someone is being abused,” keynote speaker J. R. LaRose, a former BC Lion and spokesperson for Be More Than a Bystander, told the group. “It’s time we speak up and be a voice for those that have been hurt and abused. Speak up and break the silence.”

In scenarios that ranged from verbal abuse to sexual harassment, and from dating violence to sexual consent, students learned practical ways to communicate that violence and abuse are not acceptable. They discussed related issues as a whole group, and in male-only, female-only and fluid-gender groups.

Submitted by Heather Conn

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