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Anti violence campaign shines spotlight on men

This year's annual 12 Days to End Violence Against Women Campaign focuses on men who are modelling what it means to respect women - literally.

This year’s annual 12 Days to End Violence Against Women Campaign focuses on men who are modelling what it means to respect women - literally.

The campaign includes a calendar featuring 12 men from across the territory holding up signs with slogans like “Yukon men examine their own behaviour” or “Yukon men teach their sons respect.”

The calendars sell for $10. Models include Premier Darrell Pasloski, Klondike MLA Sandy Silver, Mayo-Tatchun MLA Jim Tredger, First Nation leaders, musicians and businessmen.

“Society as a whole does not assign the same value to work done by women,” said Jean-Francois Des Lauriers. The former trade unionist is Mr. February in the calendar.

He taught both his son and daughter to be respectful, he said. And he fought for women’s rights in the workplace. When he was the northern representative on the Public Service Alliance of Canada, he was involved in fighting for pay equity for female federal government employees.

And Yukon women need men’s support.

Rates of violence against women in the Yukon are “worse than southern Canada, by far,” said Hillary Aitken, program co-ordinator at the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre. The rate of sexual assault is three times higher in the territory than in the provinces, and the transition house for women is used three to 10 times more, she said.

Women from First Nations are much more likely to experience violence, she said. “It’s shocking.”

But violence against women has become normal in society, even in what people find funny, she said.

Men commit most acts of violence against women, said Aitken. But that doesn’t mean all men do, she said.

The calendar models aren’t the only Yukon men fighting violence against women.

The White Ribbon campaign is running again this year. It encourages men to show their support for women by wearing a white ribbon from now until Dec. 6.

“Violence against women is fundamentally men’s problem,” organizer Stephen Roddick told the crowd gathered at the Old Fire Hall for Monday’s campaign launch. “Men are disproportionately responsible for committing violence against women, whether it be physical violence or sexual violence and harassment.”

The women’s directorate is also partnering with the 12 Days to End Violence Against Women campaign. Wooden silhouettes of women, including a pregnant woman and a woman using a wheelchair, will be set up in different places around Whitehorse, including the Canada Games Centre and different schools.

These five life-size carvings display facts about violence against women. They are part of the Am I the Solution? campaign the women’s directorate launched earlier this year.

This year’s campaign includes screenings of two films aimed to examine social responses to violence against women. The Line depicts one woman’s experiences with violence. It will be playing Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Yukon College student lounge.

Another documentary, The Bro Code, examines how society defines what it means to be a man. It will be showing Dec. 4 at Victoria Faulkner at 7 p.m. and the next night at the Yukon College student lounge at 7 p.m.

The campaign ends on Dec. 6 with a ceremony at the Elijah Smith Building to commemorate the National Day to End Violence Against Women.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at