In early October, YWCA Banff hosted Leading Change, a gender-based violence prevention training program created by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS). YWCA Banff secured funding from the Alberta Status of Women in order to offer the program free of charge.

The goal of Leading Change is to increase participants’ knowledge of issues surrounding domestic and sexual violence, and to empower them with tools to become allies who speak out against violence and make informed decisions when witnessing sexism, homophobia and violence in their day to day lives . Men from throughout the Bow Valley volunteered their time to attend the three-day training .

The topics presented included:

  • Types of abuse/violence
  • Why women stay
  • Masculinity/Gender Stereotypes/Culture
  • Consent and sexual relationships
  • Anti-Violence Triangle
  • Bystander Effect
  • Power and Privilege
  • Facilitation Practice

Participants focused on real-life scenarios that helped them to recognize abusive behaviour, and how to act to prevent escalation of the situation. Building confidence to intervene in these uncomfortable scenarios is a major goal of Leading Change.

The training has given Tim Binks, Director of Finance at the YWCA, a new perspective. “The training I received through the Leading Change program has given me the confidence to have conversations about sexist behaviour I would have otherwise shied away from, in both in my personal and professional life,” says Tim. “I now understand the impacts of not doing anything and the negative outcomes for both men and women.  I am excited to use the knowledge and skills I received to positively influence conversations and behaviour happening in our community.”

2018 Leading Change participants

Participant feedback in the training revealed 100% of the men felt better equipped to prevent or interrupt abusive behaviours against women and girls.

The next step in Leading Change will be to invite the men to co-facilitate gender-based violence prevention programs in the in the Bow Valley for both youth and adults. Hear more about some of the takeaways from this exciting program at upcoming events such as the Red Rose evening in Banff on Dec. 6th, 2018 and the Emergency Services Gala in Lake Louise.