News Media Releases Sexual Violence Awareness Month: How Can Men Make a Difference? Sexual Violence Awareness Month: How Can Men Make a Difference? May 13, 2021 EDMONTON, ALBERTA — May is Sexual Violence Awareness Month in Alberta, and to mark their commitment to ending gender-based violence, the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) is inviting men to get involved in the conversation through the Leading ChangeTM Expansion Pack. Although in-person events may still be a ways off, the Expansion Pack allows you to participate in social change from your sofa! Thanks to a grant from the EPCOR Heart & Soul Fund, ACWS developed a subscription-style box, filled with activities, games, and information. The packs are designed to help men better understand how to shift the culture and end gender-based violence. They are free to order, for a limited time, and you can get one at leadingchangepack.ca. The boxes have been out for a few months now and have found their way into people’s hands across the province—with remarkable results. A survey conducted as an early evaluation of the Expansion Pack revealed that: the overwhelming majority of respondents were “very satisfied” with the content the Expansion Pack “opened their eyes to the breath of the issue of violence against women” a large majority indicated an interest in receiving another edition of the Pack should more iterations become available. The Expansion Pack can be explored at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home. Anyone can participate, regardless of whether they know a lot or a little about gender-based violence. “People like that they can work through the activities in their own time, from the comfort of their own homes,” says ACWS Director of Public Awareness and Community Engagement, Christie Lavan.” The pandemic has enabled us to develop new ways of reaching folks and enabling transformative change.” Curious about what’s in the box? ACWS has been teaming up with men in the province, who have filmed their interactions with the Expansion Pack in a series of “unboxing” videos. Some of the participants include Alberta-based musicians, politicians, and staff at EPCOR. You can view some of the videos here, and more will be added over the course of the month and beyond. All men across the province are invited to create their own video about the Expansion Pack and share it on social media! Be sure to tag ACWS and use the hashtag #LeadingChangeExpansionPack. Facebook: @AlbertaCouncilofWomensShelters Instagram: @AlbertaCouncilofWomensShelters Twitter: @womenshelter Facts about Sexual Violence: 45% of adult Albertans have experienced some type of sexual abuse in their lifetime (two in three women and one in three men.) More than half of Alberta residents personally know and/or have supported survivors. People in committed relationships experience sexual assault and violence too (Intimate Partner Sexual Violence), and this is a frequent tactic of people who choose to use coercive controlling violence. Intimate Partner Sexual Violence can be a serious risk factor for domestic homicide: A physically-abused woman who is also experiencing sexual violence was more than seven times more likely than other abused women to be killed. There is a much higher prevalence of sexual assault among women than men (30% versus 8%). Rates of sexual violence are higher for at-risk groups: people with disabilities Indigenous Peoples gender and sexually diverse people Resources: In Alberta, you can call or text the Sexual Assault OneLine: 1-866-403-8000 The Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS) is an organization that provides leadership, coordination and collaboration of sexual assault services in Alberta. Background: The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters represents 41 emergency and second-stage sheltering organizations for women and children fleeing violence and abuse. The ACWS provides professional development and training, action-based research and increases public awareness of issues related to family violence for the benefit of abused women and their children. -30- Media Contact: Olivia Street, Coordinator of Communications & Social Advocacy (780) 566-3091 Olivia.Street@acws.ca References:  Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services. (2020). Summary of Key Findings: Prevalence of Sexual Assault and Childhood Sexual Abuse in Alberta.  Campbell, J.C. et al. (2003). Assessing risk factors for intimate partner homicides. National Institute of Justice Journal (250): 15-19  Statistics Canada, Gender-based violence and unwanted sexual behaviour in Canada, 2018: Initial findings from the Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces.