Danya O’Malley welcomes the numbers that are growing in a very healthy way.
More and more people are stepping up and speaking out against abuse and sexual violence.
O’Malley is co-chair of the Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention Public Awareness Working Group.
She is thrilled with the increasing involvement in the annual Family Violence Prevention Week, which is running with a full slate of events on P.E.I. from this Sunday to the following Saturday.
“I feel like we’re not adding anybody,’’ said O’Malley.
“People are adding themselves, which is really exciting. Some of these events happening across the Island are initiated by groups that haven’t been involved in the cause before.’’
O’Malley said the attention given to family violence, as well as abuse and sexual violence in general, has never been greater.
The issue is getting a great deal of air time.
There are, O’Malley notes, many reasons the spotlight is shining with such intensity on the issue, everything from the #Me Too campaign to what she calls the “unacceptable actions’’ of U.S. President Donald Trump, has lit a fire.
“People are talking about it and people are funneling their outrage into positive action – and that’s just super because then you can actually use your discontent and your disagreement with the way things are in order to foster more positive solutions,’’ she said.
Family Violence Prevention Services has launched a web resource at www.fvps.ca/menandboys to encourage men to get other men involved in addressing inappropriate behavior in dating, intimate relationships, fatherhood and community.
To see a full list of activities for Family Violence Prevention Week (Feb. 10 to 16), visit www.stopfamilyviolence.pe.ca/2019campaign.
One important solution, O’Malley said, is engaging men and boys in family violence prevention, which is the theme of this year’s campaign.
A new web resource on just such engagement will be showcased at a launch party Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown.
The site, said O’Malley, is all about encouraging men to get other men involved in addressing dating, intimate relationships, fatherhood and community in a positive and healthy manner.
“We are trying to empower people as much as we can to speak out when they see something they don’t agree with - or when they hear something they don’t agree with, to object,’’ she said.
“If you object inside, object outwardly as well in a way that hopefully doesn’t inflame the situation. You have to try.’’
O’Malley said it is important to communicate to boys – and men – that it is not acceptable to speak disparagingly (something Trump once dismissed as locker room talk) to friends about a girl or women they are involved with.
“When people talk like that, there are people who feel genuinely uncomfortable and people who genuinely disagree with that, but they are often silent. Either they fear being mocked if they disagree or they just literally feel paralyzed not knowing what to say in an uncomfortable situation.’’