Awareness and education toolkit for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
If you are in an emergency situation, please access 9-1-1 (in Canada), for emergency services in your area.
If you are outside of the 9-1-1 service area, please access available emergency services or call a crisis line in your area.
You may also want to consult the list of additional support services for people affected by gender-based violence.
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Activities and engagement for communities and workplaces
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (November 25 to December 10) is an opportunity to reflect on what we can do in our own classrooms, communities, and lives to eliminate the disproportionate violence faced by women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ individuals. Here are some ideas and tools to inspire you, your community, your workplace, and your classroom to join the conversation and take action to end gender-based violence (GBV) during the 16 Days campaign and throughout the year. Where required, activities can be repurposed to a virtual format to align with public health advice and recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Host a guest speaker
Invite a guest speaker from a women, 2SLGBTQI+ or Indigenous organization to talk about the challenges facing victims/survivors of gender-based violence, as well as the programs and resources available. Arrange to have a question-and-answer period following the presentation.
Support GBV organizations
Reach out to local women’s, 2SLGBTQI+, or Indigenous organizations/shelters that work to prevent gender-based violence and support victim/survivors and ask how you can help. In many of these organizations it takes time and training to become a volunteer. This is an important but longer-term way to show support. Find out what you can do in the short-term: raise funds for the organization (for example, bake sale, used book sale, etc.) and donate the earnings; help them collect items they may need; or raise awareness about their services or GBV more generally. Share what you learned and your experiences with your family, friends, school, and the community. It is vital that we continue to raise awareness and talk about gender-based violence.
Host a screening
Screen a movie, videos or documentary related to gender-based violence such as those available on the National Film Board website (various languages; viewer discretion is advised for some films). It is important to let people know ahead of time what they will be seeing and that these types of events are optional. Work with a local GBV organization to plan for the event: have a trained support person present and ensure that the facilitator of the event is prepared to respond to questions, myths and stereotypes that continue to exist around GBV and disclosures of GBV.
Create a list of questions to consider beforehand. Host a discussion session after to explore the themes and messages and share reactions and opinions.
Create a work of art
Prepare a visual art piece or collage depicting what a healthy relationship or what providing support to others means to you. Work together to create a mural, mosaic, sculpture, or vision board.
Know your workplace harassment and violence polices
Use the 16 Days as an opportunity to promote awareness and understanding of your workplace harassment and violence policies. Have universal communications to all staff to ensure they know where to look for the policies, who to talk to if they have questions, and where to locate GBV resources. Host a training or several on the topic of workplace harassment and violence.
Make individuals in your community or workplace “ambassadors” for the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Share with peers the reason we commemorate this day and encourage them to wear a white ribbon on December 6. Host a vigil, and set up informational displays in public areas.
Activities for educators and coaches
As children grow, their relationship circle grows too. It's never too early to start teaching them about healthy relationships with parents, educators, coaches, relatives, friends, and peers.
As an educator or coach, you have enormous capacity to positively influence young people. You can provide tools to help them challenge stereotypes and gender norms and speak up against harmful and violent behaviours, model inclusion and acceptance, and help them develop the skills and attitudes to foster positive relationships in their home, schools, and communities.
Tips for discussing GBV
Before introducing your students to the topic of gender-based violence (violence committed against someone based on their gender, gender identity, gender expression, or perceived gender) you need to be prepared. Before contemplating a discussion of GBV, you need to ensure that you have guidelines in place for safe and inclusive discussions. Ensure that you are prepared to respond to questions, myths and stereotypes and inappropriate language that continue to exist around GBV.
Students should be informed ahead of time of such discussions and be given resources and options for support or to choose not to participate in the conversation.
You must also be prepared to have students disclose sexual or physical abuse at home, while others may be experiencing dating violence. It is again important to be prepared for these discussions and know the resources and support in place that students can access. You could speak with the staff at a local GBV organization to help you prepare. It is important to note that this is not up to teachers alone. School administrations and boards need to be supportive of teachers in these instances.
Most provincial and territorial ministries of education offer guidance and materials for teaching youth about healthy relationships. There are also many educational packages available from relevant community organizations.
If you suspect abuse
One of the most difficult challenges for professionals who work with children and youth is to identify abuse and know when and how to report suspected cases.
In every province and territory across Canada, the law requires a person who believes a child is being abused to report it. You will not get in trouble for making the report if you have reason to believe a child is being abused, even if it turns out you were wrong.
If you have reason to believe a child is being abused, call 911 or the police or child welfare services in your area.
As an educator or coach you can also implement the activities discussed above. Some additional activities could include:
Implement an existing campaign in your school or community
There are numerous campaigns and educational tools that have been developed across Canada. White Ribbon offers campaigns and resources on engaging with young men and boys in addressing the issue of GBV. Check out what resources may exist in your community.
Plan a PSA campaign
Create your own public service announcement (PSA) campaign. Brainstorm what actions everyone can take to end gender-based violence, make communities safer for women, girls, gender diverse and individuals, or maintain healthy relationships. Prepare skits, create videos, draft scripts to read over the school PA system, create visuals such as posters and digital media, run stories in local or school newspapers, or spread awareness on social media networks and channels using our social media shareables and hashtag #16Days.
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