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Stopping violence with education: Program targets attacks on women

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Men can stop violence against women and the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre is going to show them how.

A 24-month program called Engaging Boys and Men to End Violence Against Women, beginning this fall, has received $198,960 in federal funding, announced on Tuesday by MP Joyce Bateman on behalf of federal Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose.

The program is taking a new path toward a solution to an old problem, said project co-ordinator Jodie Layne.

"We are so excited about this program. We often teach women how to react to violence, but we don't teach men not to create violence in the first place," said Layne, 23, who will lead the program based out of the BNC. "It's such an obvious solution but not one that has been widely implemented."

Layne said the program will involve 15 boys and young men aged 15 to 25 from community partner groups in the BNC's area who will participate in educational sessions twice per week and then take the information from the course to their communities to teach others.

The curriculum for the course is being built during the next few months, using expertise from groups such as Status of Women Manitoba and local researchers.

Layne said the program will involve boys and young men who are willing to make the commitment to the course and spread the word through their peer groups, local schools and community centres.

"We're going to be finding people who are still young and still forming their ideas, their roles in their communities and families as men," said Layne. "By getting them when they are starting to define those roles and what their ideas of masculinity are and how that plays into their behaviours, hopefully we can help them not develop any problem behaviours and share that information."

BNC board of directors president Darrell Horn and BNC executive director Lawrence Mulhall will oversee the program, which is "a natural extension" of other youth intervention/prevention programs run out of the centre.

"This is a little beyond the scope of sticks and balls and skipping ropes that are the community-centre paradigm," Horn said. "We hope this is another step in the direction of long-term, sustainable, meaningful interventions that have taken on serious issues in our community."

"This program is directed at young men and it is about violence against women and that recognizes this is a problem that goes beyond the obvious. We have to start looking upstream, beyond what we think are the root causes. This is a huge step in the right direction."

Layne said the new program is recognizing violence against women is a community issue, not just a women's issue.

"We want them (men) to be able to say, 'Dude, that's not cool,' and take that message into the community," Layne said.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 14, 2013 A8

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