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University of Calgary event encourages men to stand up to gender-based violence

The theme of this year’s event is “I’ll Stand Up,” and encourages witnesses to gender-based violence to be more than a bystander.

Jeremy Loveday is speaking at the U of C’s annual event to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Elizabeth Cameron/For Metro

Jeremy Loveday is speaking at the U of C’s annual event to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Gender-based violence is a men’s issue, according to a man speaking at an event in Calgary to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

“When we don’t stand up or speak up, even if we’re not perpetrating violence, we’re allowing it to happen. We’re allowing it to be normalized,” said Jeremy Loveday, a poet and city councillor in Victoria, B.C.

The day of remembrance and action was marked after the murder of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.

There are vigils being held across Canada to mark this tragedy, and the University of Calgary is hosting a panel discussion and speaking event to draw attention to gender-based violence prevention.

Loveday is speaking and performing some of his poetry at the event.

“My role is to bring this conversation into predominantly male spaces where the conversation isn’t happening yet,” Loveday said, adding, “I’m not an expert on this topic, but because there were so few men speaking up, people (have seen) me as a leader on this issue.” 

He said that shows there’s a gap in leadership from men in Canada. 

This year, the university is focusing on a theme which came up in Alberta politics recently – standing up for victims if you are witness to gender-based violence.

“If your friend makes a sexist joke, it’s as simple as asking them, ‘hey, why do you think that’s funny?’” Loveday said.

“When we don’t stand up or speak up, even if we’re not perpetrating violence, we’re allowing it to happen. We’re allowing it to be normalized.”

The event is being held at the U of C’s Rozsa Centre on Dec. 6, from 12–1 p.m.

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