Events aim to create an environment of healthy masculinity both on and offline

Brock’s Human Rights and Equity team (HRE) is tackling the topic of gender-based violence and healthy masculinity through a series of interactive virtual events.

The University and the local community are invited to virtually gather on Thursday, Nov. 19 for a live concert, panel discussion and awards show focused on cyber sexual violence in the 21st century, creating healthy masculinity and eradicating gender-based violence.

“Over the past decade, there has been increasingly robust conversations about men and masculinity, including dialogues that address what it means to be male in the 21st century, the role of men in promoting equity and justice, and the importance of providing spaces for those who define themselves as men to gather and interrogate such questions, said Leela MadhavaRau, Director, HRE. “I am delighted to see the interest in this subject matter from diverse members of the Brock community and compliment those working on producing ever-more imaginative programming.”

Prior to the main event, HRE organized two interactive activities to begin the healthy masculinity conversations.

Last week, HRE launched an art contest asking participants to submit artwork answering the question, ‘what does healthy masculinity mean to me?’ All submitted pieces are now available to view on HRE’s Instagram.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, HRE is hosting a virtual Fortnite tournament. Participants will play the online game for prizes and set an example of healthy sportsmanship in e-sports.

“We want to continue the conversation around sexual violence awareness and prevention both in the physical and online worlds,” said Jermaine Marshall, HRE’s Gender and Sexual Violence Events and Volunteer Co-ordinator. “Moreover, we hope to explore the part that men can play in helping to address sexual violence in society, and by doing so change the narrative that often frames sexual violence as a ‘woman’s issue’ instead of as something that we all need to work towards dismantling.”

On Thursday night, HRE will kick-off the Healthy Masculinity on and off the Web event. The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with musical performances by local musician Jasmine Whyte and Saint Stone, a local queer band.

The performances will be followed by a panel discussion focused on cyber violence featuring Robyn Bourgeois, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement; Jason Hawreliak, Director, Brock Centre for Digital Humanities; and Jenna Cripps, a PhD candidate in Clinical and Counselling Psychology from the University of Toronto.

The panel conversation will focus on cyber sexual violence. This will include discussions about online harassment, social media, toxic masculinity and the web, as well as the rise of cyber abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will wrap up with the awards portion of the show, where the winners of the art contest and e-sports tournament will be announced. 

Throughout the night, there will be special guest appearances featured in mini commercials from HRE’s community partners.

Admission is free, but donations are welcomed. All proceeds from the event will go to Gillian’s Place and Women’s Place of South Niagara. For more information and to register, visit Eventbrite.

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