Ending violence

About 50 male students in Grades 7 to 10 participated in a workshop aimed at preventing gender-based violence on Friday, which marked the 30th anniversary of a Montreal massacre that left 14 women dead.

Jackson Gillies was surprised to learn of the violence women face around the world. The 12-year-old Valley Central Public School student also didn’t realize that some people don’t consider men and women equal.

Jackson was one of about 50 boys in Grades 7 to 10 from across the city participating in a workshop aimed at preventing gender-based violence on Friday.

The workshop, being held at Lakehead Public Schools’ Victoria Park Training Centre, addressed respect, popular culture influences, healthy relationships, and consent.

“I think it’s important we know how to treat not just women but everyone properly and we know proper respect so we can take it back to our schools and they can learn proper respect,” Jackson said. “It evolves and as they grow older there is more and more respect and there is more respect in the world overall.”

Friday was also the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and marked the 30th anniversary of the Montreal massacre, where 14 women were killed at Ecole Polytechnique by Marc Lepine.

It’s a day that changed the course of Lee-Ann Chevrette’s life.

“I was in my first year of university that year so that experience was super impactful and sort of set the path for me in terms of doing work in this area of addressing violence, specifically violence against women,” she said.

Chevrette is the city’s crime prevention council co-ordinator and participated in Friday’s workshop.

She said a critical piece of tackling the issue of violence against women is getting men and boys on the same page.

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