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16 Days to End Gender Based Violence kicks off in Whitehorse

(Online Photo)

Movie screenings, discussions, and ads are some of the ways community groups are looking to increase awareness of gender based violence in Yukon.

The 16 days to End Gender Based Violence campaign kicks off Saturday with the message that 'It's never ok' to victim blame and make excuses. 

Formerly known as the 12 days to End Violence Against Women, this year's message builds on the idea this sort of  behaviour is never accepted or excused and Program Coordinator Sarah Murphy with the Victoria Faulkner Women's Center says violence isn't always physical. 

"Gender based violence is those things but it' also sexual harassment. It's also cyber-bullying women and trans-people and people of different genders and it's also preying on people at work. It's all of these things, you know. It's not just physical experiences and all of those experiences , they're all equally valid because what matters is the way that the victim was made to feel."

A series of events and discussions will be held to discuss the issue including the 'Be more than a Bystander' campaign, presented by Grey Cup Champion J-R LaRose, film screenings, and a vigil. 

The community is also being invited to sign a letter to Whitehorse Mayor and Council to take concrete steps to increase safety in taxis.

The move is one of many aimed at raising awareness around the issue and Murphy says no one in the community should have to worry about getting home safe.   

"This year, there was the accusation of two sexualized assaults in city taxis just a couple of months ago and so we're really calling on the city this time do something about this and really take action. Look at what other jurisdictions are doing so we can make sure that everybody gets a safe ride home because everyone deserves a safe ride home."

Murphy says one of the key issues is the fact cameras in taxis can be turned off by the driver, unlike city buses where the camera is always rolling. 

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