Les Essentielles, the Yukon’s Francophone women’s organization, is proud to have a new male asset on their team.

Scott Carlson is the project coordinator for Men Engaging Men, a program to encourage men to work towards ending violence against women.

“Over the past few years, a shift has been happening nationally in conversations about violence against women,” says Carlson. “The responsibility isn’t put on victims to prevent being assaulted anymore, but on men to take actions and help end violence against women.”

Status of Women Canada granted Les Essentielles $182,354 to deliver this project over two years in the Yukon to both French and English speaking communities.

During its first year, the Men Engaging Men project will be primarily dedicated to research. They plan to identify the problems, explore different methods to address these issues and then select effective strategies to work towards ending violence against women. Focus groups will help Carlson through these three steps.

“We want to engage men and boys where they are,” explains Carlson. “We want to make sure our focus group reflects all the demographics of Yukon men, including men involved in male-dominated work places.”

The goal is to understand culture-based differences regarding violence against women in order to reach people in all of the Yukon’s cultural settings with their messages, training, and outreach activities.

The second year of this project will focus on expanding bilingual programs and events based on the most effective strategies identified through the research.

In addition, the program will include developing healthy-relationship training for boys in partnership with Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre and White Ribbon Yukon.

Because the Men Engaging Men project will only be funded over two years, community building and capacity building are part of Les Essentielles’ priorities.

“We want to train youth services providers and ensure that the community is equipped to keep working towards engaging men to end violence against women once this project comes to an end,” says Carlson.

A leader in addressing gender-based violence is the White Ribbon group. Created in 1991, White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.

The Yukon has become a part of this worldwide movement through White Ribbon Yukon, co-founded by Carlson and Steve Roddick in 2011.

“The community’s response to men being leaders of movements to end violence against women has been extremely positive,” Carlson says.

He added that people’s first reaction when he presents the Men Engaging Men Project is usually, “Finally.”

I don’t know about you, but that’s my response, too.

To get involved, contact Scott Carlson at [email protected] or 867-668-2663 ext 830.