KELOWNA, B.C. – When more men view women as equals, violence in relationships will be reduced, according to an American educator and author visiting the Okanagan.
Men need to “stand with women as our partners and allies rather than our antagonists,” says Dr. Jackson Katz.
Statistics Canada reports that a woman is killed by her intimate partner every six days in this country. Every day, more than 3,300 women are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.
Katz spoke to students at Okanagan College Wednesday night about the cultural shift that needs to take place among men to help prevent domestic violence.
“There’s a connection between sexual assaults on university campuses in Canada and child brides in the developing world,” says Katz. “Because they’re both symptomatic of systemic inequality, gender inequality.”
Programs have begun to reach out to middle school students, where young men and women form ideas about healthy relationships and gender issues.
“I’d like to see them learning about what a healthy relationship is: working with your partner, having that kind of collegial friendship, before you become a partner,” says Michelle Novakowski with the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society. “Then I think you have a happier, fuller life.”
Katz assisted the B.C. Lions with the “Be More Than a Bystander” Campaign, a project to end domestic violence.
He is also scheduled to speak to high school students in Kelowna Thursday morning about violence in the media and how it contrasts with real life.