Magazine article Herizons

Stopping the Cycle of Violence: Sista's Are Doin It [Vancouver & Winnipeg Projects]

Magazine article Herizons

Stopping the Cycle of Violence: Sista's Are Doin It [Vancouver & Winnipeg Projects]

Article excerpt

(VANCOUVER) A new crop of programs is springing up across the country whose sole focus is preventing violence against girls and women.

By getting at the root of the problem through such means as popular education and video production, two community agencies are working directly with youth in an effort to raise awareness and stop the violence.

"On Saturdays they take over the place," says Sandi Loschnig, Coordinator of the Women's Assault Program. The place she's referring to is Vancouver Island Safe Haven, an agency dedicated to helping women and children who experience violence, whether it be sexual assault or domestic violence.

The Relationship and Dating Violence Prevention Project is taking place at John Barsly High School, an inner-city school in the Harewood district of Vancouver. Each Saturday afternoon, young women gather to talk about self-esteem, eating disorders, smoking, building healthy relationships, alcohol and its effect on women, gender roles, self-care, and the media and its portrayal of women. "They feel like it is their space," says Loschnig. "This project will help to strengthen their relationships with other women and enhance their intimate relationships."

The group started in September and is running until July of 1998. "The first term we concentrated on building trust and getting the group to gel," says Losching. Eventually, two young women will take turns facilitating the group. "We also want them to take what they've learned and go into the schools, teaching their peers. This may be a play. It is still in the development phase. We also want to expand to include parents and teachers and other schools."

As Loschnig says, "All young women need this. They need a safe place to come." She has enjoyed watching the young women blossom in the supportive setting. "We have had a lot of interest from other schools wanting to get involved. …

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