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SAITSA stands up to violence

SAITSA is promoting the White Ribbon Campaign, taking a stand against all types of violence in an effort to help keep the student body safe and educated.
“Those ribbons are a show of solidarity and understanding of ending violence against women and girls. I believe that the ribbon has never been more relevant,” said Kevin Vowles, community engagement manager with White Ribbon.
The White Ribbon Campaign was launched in response to the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre, in Montreal. The gunman purposely targeted women based on his belief that feminism was ruining his life and that women were taking jobs away from him.
The White Ribbon Campaign launched in an effort to support the victims and to change the cultural perpetuation of toxic masculinity, keeping women safe.
“There is an opening to the fact that we are all living in systems of toxic and unhealthy masculinity that are leading many men and boys into violent lives. From there we can begin looking at positive approaches,” said Vowles.
Vowles said he is seeing the now global White Ribbon Campaign continues to positively shift the conversation surrounding violence against women.
“Men’s violence is losing its power and we need to struggle and work harder than ever to maintain the momentum and build on the incredible courage women have had to come forward,” said Vowles.
The SAITSA Stand Up Against Violence campaign will be running from Monday, Nov. 27 to Wednesday, Dec. 6 in conjunction with the White Ribbon Campaign.
“I actually stood up and held a white rose for a victim of the Montreal Massacre,” said Shona White, SAITSA Assistant Manager of Marketing and Communications. White first became involved with the White Ribbon campaign as a student in 2012.
SAITSA continues to hold a memorial for the 14 victims of the massacre. Participants light candles, place 14 cards and 14 white roses at the memorial located outside the Senator Burns Building.
SAITSA continues the conversation about violence, expanding outside the White Ribbon Campaign with projects such as #IBelieveYou, the Red Dress Campaign and more.
“We were talking about how there’s so many other campaigns like this [White Ribbon]. There’s so many things around violence against women and against everybody that we could incorporate all together,” said White.
She said SAITSA is hoping to give students as many resources as possible so that those who may face situations of physical or sexual violence or are called on to help survivors of these events, are prepared.
“We as the students association are here for the students. That could be in the form of making sure that they are safe physically, mentally, every type of different way to look out for students,” said White.
The conversation is changing, said White, leading the event to transform encouraging a conversation that encompasses all types of violence students may be exposed to and sharing the appropriate resources.
“We want to offer solutions as well. We want them to be armed with the tools to deal with that situation. We see this as a tool belt of resources available to students,” said White.
The event will feature booths for the Peer Support Centre, Student Development and Counselling, Alberta Association of Sexual Assault Services, Calgary Communities Against Sexual Assault, Chinook Lodge and the I.M. Well App in an effort to ensure students have resources both on and off campus to access.
The event will also have a #IBelieveYou banner that students can sign and colour coupled with a photo booth where students can pledge to condone all types of violence.
“We want everybody to show support, we try and make everybody aware of no violence,” said White.
“It’s our duty to make sure that students are safe. We take it seriously.”
Students can participate in the École Polytechnique Massacre memorial from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

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