Every month, the Key Club at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute aims to raise awareness and understanding about a social justice issue. “There’s a lot of social justice events or campaigns featuring things you can do to help certain causes and raise awareness for these issues, but I think now, it’s even more important to be informed about what exactly you’re fighting for,” said Michelle Zhou, the leader of the social justice committee. In the month of November 2020, Key Club focused on raising awareness regarding violence against women, similar to what the White Ribbon Campaign aims to do. 

Gender-based violence is violence disproportionately directed to someone on the basis of gender alone. It is a prevalent issue that is not widely spoken of. In 2018, women accounted for 79% of victims of intimate partner violence [1]. This issue is pervasive especially in today’s world where gender-based violence is becoming the norm even when we’re in the midst of a pandemic. In fact, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and isolation policies, calls from women to helplines quintupled in countries due to partner abuse [2]. In Canada, a woman is killed by her intimate partner every six days [3]. Children who experience such violence in their household are also twice as likely to get a psychiatric disorder as opposed to those who are in non-violent homes. This is something that both MGCI’s Key Club and the White Ribbon Campaign aspire to correct. 

The White Ribbon Campaign is a campaign with the objective to raise awareness amongst males to prevent gender-based violence by promoting other causes like gender equity and transforming current social norms, which will allow our society to progress from such a state [4]. Their vision is a future free from gender-based violence. It is a global movement of men and boys to end male violence against female-identified, trans, and non-conforming individuals [5]. They were formed by a pro-feminist group of men in London, Ontario in November of 1991 after the École Polytechnique massacre, which is also known as the Montreal massacre, of female students in 1989. The Ribbon symbolizes the idea of men giving up their arms for this cause, in promoting this issue and raising awareness. This campaign is active in sixty countries all around the world, countries such as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, etc [6]. Anyone who agrees with what they are supporting is able to go to the White Ribbon website and take the oath, “I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women, and pledge their commitment by signing the pledge board.” [7] 

In November, Key Club posted many informational messages regarding gender-based violence on their Instagram story (@mgcikeyclub). They shared facts, statistics, and reasons as to why this is such an important matter worth looking into. “Since pretty much everything is online this year, there weren’t a lot of options to raise awareness about social justice issues, so we decided that we could at least still do our best to help put information and resources out there so that if other people can see it they can at least get a general idea of what certain issues really entail.” 

 

Sources:

[1] https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2019001/article/00018/02-eng.htm 

[2] https://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2020/07/a-75-274-sg-report-ending-violence-against-women-and-girls 

[3] https://canadianwomen.org/the-facts/gender-based-violence/ 

[4] https://www.whiteribbon.ca/ 

[5] https://www.whiteribbon.ca/values.html

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Ribbon_Campaign#:~:text=The%20White%20Ribbon%20Campaign%20is,Pakistan%2C%20Italy%20and%20the%20UK

[7] https://www.whiteribbon.ca/pledge.html