Violence against women 'a human issue,' Pallister says in announcing funds for prevention training

The Manitoba government has announced $150,000 in funding for training focused on preventing sexual violence.

Justice Canada Victims Fund to provide $150K for program

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Manitoba government has announced $150,000 in funding for training focused on preventing sexual violence.

Premier Brian Pallister made the announcement Wednesday during the Status of Women breakfast. 

At the same time, the premier and other PC politicians released a social media awareness campaign featuring various MLAs holding up their hands with an orange stop sign.

Pallister, along with several members of his caucus and politicians from the opposition and the municipal government, were at the event championing the cause of ending violence against women.

"We know that in Manitoba we have a real prevalence of sexual violence against women and girls," said Rochelle Squires, Manitoba's status of women minister. "It is a factor that our government is really committing to eradicating, and to supporting women and girls.

"We know statistically that the offenders — in terms of sexual violence, assault, stalking as well — are significantly in the majority men," Pallister told media after the breakfast. "We also know being a bystander isn't getting the job done. We see something wrong, we have to step up and say something about it.

"My message today was to encourage every man here to make sure they step up and be a man about these issues, and that means doing the right thing, it means saying the right things at the right time and it means having the backs of those who feel threatened who are being put into a position of being vulnerable and afraid."

The funds will come from the Justice Canada Victims Fund, to be spent on training and education, focused on awareness and prevention of sexual violence. 

"The most important thing that a woman or girl can receive in the aftermath of trauma is to be believed and to receive the support that she needs," Squires said.

Pallister told the audience violence against women is "a human issue."

"Men need to stand up and do their part … men have to be engaged in this work," Pallister said. "Everyone deserves to be treated with respect."

Manitoba Victim's Services will see training because of the fund, and there will be workshops on sexual assault for community members.

The event  was sponsored by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as part of their campaign fighting violence against women. It came on the heels of the #metoo movement and among social media backlash against Winnipeg's only remaining known men-only private club.