Violence prevention educator Tuval Nafshi discussed gender-based violence with eventgoers for the annual Breakfast With the Guys Tuesday morning.
The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelter employee was on-hand in the GPRC cafeteria to speak to young athletes, community leaders and RCMP about combatting violence against women.
“When you look at the numbers and the impact on communities, it’s so widespread. Yet for a lot of us, we’re not having these conversations,” said Nafshi.
The event, funded by table sponsorships, was organized by PACE and Odyssey House, as well as the city’s Crime Prevention department.
It was meant to discuss the domestic and sexual abuse of women, and how men can change the culture and become involved in changing things for the better.
“This has been seen as a women’s issue. The reality is it’s a community issue. It’s everyone’s issue. It’s affecting all of us, though it’s not affecting us in the same way,” he said.
“So if we’re going to change something in our communities affecting everybody, we need everybody to participate in changing it.”
Nafshi showed a slide with the hashtag #MeToo at one point, a symbol of the recent social media phenomenon in which women revealed with the hashtag that they had struggled with sexual abuse or harassment.
The hashtag went viral in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Allegations against other celebrities, including Sunday’s against Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey, have also come out.
“We’ve had this light shine on this issue before. With the Jian Ghomeshi case, with the missing and murdered Indigenous women,” said Nafshi.
“There have been a lot of opportunities for us to pull this out into the light, but oftentimes after the media attention goes away, we stop paying attention.”
He revealed a study that says 74 percent of people in the province know a woman who has been physically or sexually assaulted.
“Some people have been married for 20 years. They lived with their mom, their sister and then their wife,” he said.
“They had no idea the women they cared about are doing a number of things every day to keep themselves safe from sexual violence.”
He said the work being done by PACE and Odyssey House certainly steps in the right direction, and the event is important as well.
“There’s a lot of amazing stuff happening in the community,” he said. “To see this momentum and be a part of it … To me is a real honour and I really appreciate being invited.”
Photo & Written by Jordan Parker