Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 12, 2007

Pinwheels, T-Shirts Help Raise Awareness During SAFE Week

The University of Guelph’s Sexual Assault Free Environment (SAFE) team is looking for a few thousand good men.

During SAFE Week March 12 to 16, the team, which operates out of the University’s Wellness Centre, will be promoting ally building among male and female students, asking men to wear T-shirts that advertise their commitment to combatting violence against women.

Male students will also be encouraged to collect “solidarity signatures” on the T-shirts from people who are also devoted to the cause.

“Sexual violence against women is not just a ‘women’s issue,’ it’s a human rights issue,” said Melanie Bowman of the University’s Wellness Centre. “It affects all of us, and we need to work together in a mutually respectful way to eradicate it.”

SAFE Week is an annual initiative intended to raise awareness of sexual assault and the importance of personal safety. During the week, about 4,000 colourful pinwheels will be placed around the cannon on Branion Plaza visually illustrate the magnitude of the continuum of sexual assault. Each pinwheel is a statistical representation of undergraduate students who could potentially be affected directly or indirectly by sexual assault.

In addition, posters depicting a large group of campus men will be displayed around the University. Wendy Liu and Hoda Aliyarzadeh, SAFE group co-ordinators, said the goal is to promote a unified effort. “We are not here to make men our enemy,” Liu said. “Our goal is to figure out how we can all work together to end violence against women.”

Bowman added: “We are in desperate need of a new approach to ending gender violence. We need to focus on creating positive male role models who encourage other men to become actively engaged in this issue.”

For more information, call the Wellness Centre at 519-824-4120, Ext. 53327.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519 824-4120, Ext. 53338.

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