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Alumnus returns to campus to inspire men to help end violence against women

By Communications Staff

Todd Minerson, Artsci’95, has travelled the world working to inspire men and boys to help stop violence against women. But his most recent trip was back to Queen’s.

The history grad who is now the executive director of the White Ribbon Campaign came to campus on October 17 to give a public talk and lead a workshop to share strategies aimed at reducing gender-based violence.

Todd Minerson, Executive Director of the White Ribbon Campaign.

Mr. Minerson was hosted by the Sexual Health Resource Centre. Centre director Mandy Kraft says his message had an impact on participants.

“We had a variety of people who not only wanted to know how they could make a difference as individuals, but also how they could design programs on campus that create spaces where gender-based violence can be addressed critically,” says Ms. Kraft. “The message that effective prevention is founded on education, empathy, and refusing to remain silent was very well received. I am optimistic that those who attended will further this discussion, and we can look forward to wider engagement with this issue in the future.”

Mr. Minerson, who is Toronto-based, credits his student days for kick-starting his passion for social justice issues.

“When I first started at university, I wanted to be a tax lawyer and make lots of money,” he says. “But I had and met some amazing professors – including Geoff Smith and Karen Dubinsky – who opened my eyes to systems of oppression and justice, as well as power and privilege issues. Also, my time at the AMS (he was V-P of University Affairs in 1993-4) exposed me to the amazing work that happens in communities by social justice organizations and movements.”

The White Ribbon Campaign started in Canada in 1991 after the Montreal Massacre and is now 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.

Arig Girgrah, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Student Life and Learning, says Mr. Minerson’s visit supports ongoing efforts at Queen’s to address gender-based violence.

“Todd emphasized the importance of having a community-wide prevention strategy - a framework to help focus multiple efforts to influence the kinds of attitudes and behaviours that foster an equitable and violence free environment,” she says. “His visit served to raise awareness, inspire and motivate those interested in helping to act, as well as to affirm the good work many are already doing on campus.”

Mr. Minerson’s visit was funded by the Division of Student Affairs’ Eilidh Balkwill Fund.