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Advisory Group

Overseeing and steering the “Be More Than a Bystander” initiative is an advisory group of women who are experts in the area of violence against women. This group is made up of anti-violence services providers and survivors of violence who bring extensive knowledge, commitment and years of experience to their work in this initiative.

Advisory Group Members

Janice Abbott

Janice_AbbottJanice Abbott has been the CEO of Atira Women’s Resource Society since 1992 and the CEO of Atira Property Management Inc. since its launch in October of 2002.

Since assuming the role of CEO, Abbott has lead the Society through its growth from a single transition house located in South Surrey with a staff of seven and an annual budget of $180,000, to a large multi-service agency with two, for-profit subsidiaries, a development arm, more than 400 staff, an annual operating budget in excess of $18 million and five capital projects with a total budget of just under $100 million.

The recipient of the Ernst & Young 2010 Social Entrepreneur of the Year and described by the Vancouver Sun as one of Canada’s leading social entrepreneurs, Janice conceived of and launched Atira Property Management Inc. in 2002. Atira Property Management Inc. is a wholly-owned for-profit subsidiary of Atira Women’s Resource Society in which all profits earned by the property management company are donated to Atira Women’s Resource Society to support its social profit activities. With a staff of more than 250, including almost 200 with barriers to employment, Atira Property Management Inc. has grown quickly to become an important player in property management in the Lower Mainland.

Janice has just been named one of BC’s 20 Most Influential People in Residential Construction by BC Homes magazine.

Why this initiative is important…

Social justice ally movements are an important part of efforts to take apart oppressive systems that sustain endemic violence against women. Unless and until members of dominating social groups become actively involved in ending violence against women, it will persist. Radical change in men’s lives, power relations and the social construction of masculinity are compulsory if gender-based violence is to be undermined. Men themselves will need to change their own behaviour, model non-violent behaviour and hold their peers accountable for sexist, violent and/or abusive behaviour. Ultimately, men need to make personal connections to the issue of violence against women and take responsibility for instigating change. And we need effective approaches to connect men to women’s anti-violence work. This project is one example.

Bally Bassi

Bally_2014Born and brought up in England moved to Canada as a landed immigrant in 1988. Married with three adult children. Working for the Prince George & District Elizabeth Fry Society since 1994 Bally currently manages several society programs including The Community-Based Specialized Victim Assistance Program in Prince George and Quesnel, Stopping the Violence Counseling Program, Court Work, Bridges, and Amber Transition House. Bally also manages several projects and grants within the agency.

Bally has facilitated various Victim Services training to VS workers across the province through the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Training also included integrating diversity and differences into our work.

Bally is currently the co-chair on the board of the Ending Violence Association of BC. Co-Chair of the Violence against Women in Relationships Committee identifying local issues pertaining to Community Education, Intervention and Prevention. And also Co-chair on the local Integrated Case Management Team (ICAT) in Prince George this team focuses on High Risk Domestic Violence files.

Bally has participated in many immigrant and aboriginal initiatives locally and provincially.

Bally has extensive experience in sitting at local, provincial and national consultation tables.

Bally has her master’s in Management and Leadership, Specializing in Justice and Public Safety. Bally’s thesis was on Building Stronger Accountability: Managing Performance in the Victim Services.

Why This Initiative is Important?

It is a personal honor for me to be part of this initiative, for decades and decades women have been advocating and championing the journey of violence against women and girls.

This provincial focus on changing societal attitudes and the implicit, unspoken acceptance of men’s violence toward women and girls through this initiative “Be More than a Bystander” is phenomenal; an area that was a taboo subject within male populations is now being put on the map.

In order to make meaningful changes, in order to save lives, we need public education campaigns and prevention initiatives such as these in order to stop the cycle of violence.

Adrienne Chan

Adrienne_ChanAdrienne Chan has a doctorate from the University of Kent at Canterbury, England, in the area of adult and continuing education, with a focus on Diversity and Institutional Change.  She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Social Work degree.  For twenty years, Adrienne has worked as a trainer, instructor, researcher, community and adult educator actively in the area of diversity, equity, cross cultural understanding and harassment.  She also worked as a Social Worker in family and health settings for ten years.  Adrienne has worked with non-profit agencies, municipalities, hospitals, health boards, universities, colleges, institutes, school districts and crown corporations in the areas of anti-racism, diversity, multiculturalism, gender, race relations, planning and organizational change.  She has worked extensively with managers and administrators, as well as line-staff, faculty, teachers, and union representatives.

Adrienne has delivered training, instruction and workshops, written curriculum, developed policies and strategic plans, coordinated instruction and curriculum projects. Her most recent publications include a focus on the role of equity and diversity in institutions; the problem of institutional containment, and the relationship between learning and identity.

Adrienne is currently an Adjunct Professor (2005-2011) at the Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training, UBC. Since 2004, Adrienne is a Professor in the School of Social Work and Human Services at the University of the Fraser Valley. She continues to have an independent consulting practice.

Adrienne has a strong commitment to social issues, feminist and anti-racist practice.  She believes that education is one of the primary forces in influencing social change.  Her work involves her in leadership development and community development.  Adrienne is a third generation Chinese-Canadian. She was born and raised in Victoria, B.C.

Why this initiative is important…

Violence against women continues to be a problem that is contextualized by stereotypes and discourses of ‘blaming the victim’. There continues to be a presence of misogyny and an acceptance of violence in our communities today. Violence against women concerns all of us, not just women. Our children, families, friends and partners all experience negative impacts as a result of violence in society.

Women continue to be stigmatized and silenced in violent situations. Men are required to take responsibility and acknowledge their role in perpetuating violence, and potentially preventing future violence.  As a society, we condone violence when we do not speak out against it. This project is an opportunity for men in sports to be a role model for other men in addressing the issue of violence against women.

Mavis Erickson

Mavis_EricksonMavis Erickson is a Barrister and Solicitor with the law firm of Wagstaffe, Gosh and Co in Prince George, British Columbia. She has a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of British Columbia. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of British Columbia. From 1997 to 2003 she served as the Elected Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. Mavis Erickson is a Nadleh Whut’en band member although she is a Nak’azdii citizen from her late parents community of Nak’azdii near Fort St James. While practicing law in Prince George, she also teaches in the First Nations Studies Department at the University of Northern BC.

Meghan Gardiner

Meghan_GardinerMeghan is a Vancouver based actor and playwright, most notably known for her one-woman show, Dissolve. She has toured the continent with this entertaining piece of theatre, providing awareness on drug-facilitated sexual assault. Having performed the show over 450 times, Meghan was honoured to be a guest speaker at the 2009 International Conference on Sex Crimes in Toronto. The success of Dissolve led to a commission by Green Thumb Theatre, which resulted in Blind Spot, a new play that toured Canada for two years and was nominated for best production at the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards in 2009. Meghan is now the playwright in residence at Green Thumb and will be premiering her latest play Role Call in September 2011. Meghan received government funding to create a documentary film on drug facilitated sexual assault inspired by Dissolve, (and of the same name) which is currently being distributed internationally and garnered her a screenwriting nomination at the Leo Awards in 2010. Meghan is a UBC acting graduate and continues to work at such theatres as: The Arts Club, Western Canada Theatre, Chemainus Theatre Festival, Magnus Theatre, Axis Theatre, Theatre Under the Stars and The Electric Company. She is a 2011 YWCA Women of Distinction Award nominee. www.meghangardiner.com

Why this initiative is important…

I am honoured to be a part of this advisory and look forward to working with the rest of the board and the BC Lions on this exciting, but very necessary initiative. The success of my work with Dissolve has been very bittersweet because of the issues surrounding sexual assault weren’t such a problem, I wouldn’t be in business. I hope our work can inspire conversation, which can then inspire change and action.

Ninu Kang

Ninu_KangNinu Kang is the Director of Family Programs at MOSAIC. She has over 20 years of experience in the Settlement and Anti-Violence field. Ninu’s training in Counselling Psychology, interest in cultural adaptation of mainstream counselling models, as well as her work in the field of violence against women as an activist, motivated her to take a lead in providing support services to immigrant women who experience violence and facilitate treatment programs for immigrant men who use violence from a culturally specific perspective.

Delivering training in the area of anti-violence and anti-racism across North America, as well as at international conferences, has allowed Ninu to share her learning about the cross-cultural models that she has worked with in the areas of treatment programs for men who use violence, services for women and cultural competency in the workplace. She has delivered training through the Justice Institute of BC, BC Society of Transition Houses, and Ending Relationship Abuse Society of BC, as well as other community and justice organizations.

Recently, Ninu and her team at MOSAIC have been involved in developing and delivering a series of education programs using radio and television. The programs were interactive and created a dialogue with the community on the issue of violence against women along with providing legal and community resource. Ninu is also active with the South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence (SACCAYV) which brings together many community organizations and youth using a strength based approach to prevent and combat violence in the lives of youth.

Why this initiative is important…

Ninu’s many years of experience with the South Asian community, as well as working with programs that provide services to men, gives her an unique perspective and insight into what motivate men to move from a place of “using violence” to a place of “ending violence.” Ninu believes that violence against girls and women will not end until men step forward and stand next to women who have been fighting for women’s right to safety and lives free of violence. “This project is exciting as I am already seeing the BC Lions as well as other men who are eager to get involved trying to support the work that has been resting on the shoulders of women activists all over the world.”

Cherlyn McKay

Cherlyn_McKayMy passion and aspiration for a world that could be safe for girls and women started to take formation during my first degree in Women’s Studies and Sociology.  I spent 4 years learning about how unaccidental social inequality is and, more specifically, I learned that the compromised and lower status of women in Canadian society was inextricably linked to violence against women.  My degree in Women’s Studies equipped me with the theory, statistics and understanding of the social, political and economic conditions and inequality that create a ripe climate for violence against girls and women.

After my degree I decided to put theory into practice by becoming a Victim Services Worker at WAVAW, a local sexual assault centre, where I supported women while they navigated the medical and legal systems post sexual assault.  One of the most rewarding parts about putting theory into practice was my opportunity to do public education at all levels.  I was able to engage youth ranging from 14 to their twenties about how violence against girls and women negatively impacts boys, men and society at large.  Teaching young people about the importance of healthy, non violent relationships between girls and boys and women and men was a critical and ethical responsibility of mine as a feminist social services provider working for societal and attitudinal change in regards to violence against women and girls.  Gender based violence is an epidemic across all societies that hinders the full and equal participation of girls and women in our communities.

Why this initiative is important…

Unfortunately the systemic and structural practices and the attitudes and behaviours that sustain and lead to violence against women and girls are learned.  However, the most hopeful part about these learned behaviours and attitudes is that they can be unlearned and we can start fostering sustainable long term commitments to raising public awareness about this social and public health epidemic.  This is why I so strongly believe that the intentional collaboration between EVA BC and the BC Lions can help make a difference in shaping a critical public discourse and awareness about the issue.  It is essential that male role models like the BC Lions take on the responsibility to use their influence to spread the message that violence against women and girls hurts us all, and that men and boys need to step up to the plate and do their part in ending violence against women and girls.  I am proud to be a part of this local his/herstorical effort.  Initiatives like these are no longer a choice, but a must.  I am honoured to support this monumental partnership and movement.

Shari Ulrich

Shari_2011_medA two time Juno Award winner, and inductee in the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, Shari Ulrich was first heard in the early 70’s with the Pied Pumkin playing fiddle, mandolin, dulcimer, flute & sax.  Her defection to the Hometown Band and a high profile launch to national recognition led to her solo career as a singer songwriter. Her live shows in the past 5 years, as well as her new CD have been enhanced by the contribution of her 20 year old daughter Julia Graff on violin, piano, guitar, accordion, mandolin and vocals, bringing an unexpected and delightful dimension to Shari’s life in music. That life has also included theatre, composing and producing songs and scores for film and television, songwriting education, and producing the popular Bluebird North songwriter series.  Her latest and 7th solo release “Find Our Way” is her first self produced solo album and the 18th of her career including her work with Canadian “Supergroups” Pied Pumkin,  Ulrich Henderson Forbes, and Bentall, Taylor & Ulrich.  Shari has always been outspoken about her own experience as a victim of violence and is very supportive of the Restorative Justice movement and efforts to increase public awareness and education about violence against women.

Why this initiative is important…

It is tremendously encouraging to see creative new initiatives to bring the education about violence against women to the voices of men. The BC Lions have credibility among men as being physically dominant on the field, so it is particularly salient to hear their voices declaring that aggression and violence against women in our communities is unacceptable and not something that they, as men, support. The more we can foster a culture where violence against women is socially and culturally utterly unacceptable – where any and all violence against others is unacceptable, the more we can reduce its prevalence in our society.

Kristi White

Kristi_WhiteKristi White is the Coordinator of the Family Violence Resource Centre at Native Education College (NEC). She is a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation. Kristi was blessed as a young girl to have received guidance, traditional and cultural teachings from her Elders and continues to pass on the knowledge and support those she serves. She has lived in the trenches of social work, in the world of negotiation and governance and is a facilitator, advocate, strategic planner, and counsellor.

Kristi successfully completed her Bachelor of Social Work in 2001 at the University College of the Fraser Valley and has over 15 years experience in child welfare both on and off reserve. Today, she continues to serve Aboriginal residents of the lower mainland, offering counseling services to children and youth, adults and elders who have or are experiencing sexual abuse and/or issues with relationship violence.

Kristi is blessed by her relationship with the Ending Violence Association of British Columbia (EVA BC) and respects the partnership and bond between EVA BC and Native Education College. She also understands the importance of working together with others and raises her hands to Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) as they continue to sponsor the FVRC program at the NEC.

Why this initiative is important…

The only way to address this huge and steady problem of violence against women and children is to form partnerships with other community resources and what better way than to join the BC Lions team and tackle the overwhelming issue together and create new plays towards positive changes for everyone, as we are all affected by family violence. Working in collaboration with such wonderful and diverse contributors and champions, community stakeholders and agencies creating awareness and education will play an integral part in the work towards eliminating all forms of violence.

Heather Whiteford

Heather Whiteford, MSW, RSW is a social worker currently working in a variety of settings.  She is employed by Family Services of Greater Vancouver, a not-for profit agency, as Manager of the Victim Services Programs.  She teaches at UBC School of Social Work as a sessional instructor.  She maintains a private counselling practice, part of which involves working with a local First Nations community. She has been a founding member of two not-for-profit agencies committed to serving women who have experienced violence. She is interested in how approaches based on knowledge of power dynamics and trauma can help individuals, families and communities heal from the effects of intrafamilial, interpersonal and community violence.

Why this initiative is important…

Violence against women occurs in, and affects, communities, not just families.  As such, all members of communities have important roles in ending violence against women. Men play a vital role in ending violence for several reasons.  First, it is the women they love (wives, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, co-workers and friends) who are experiencing the violence.  Second, men have lost their lives as a result of their connections to women whose partners/ex-partners use violence.  Finally, the men who do not use violence are often silent because they do not know how important their voices are, or what action they can take, to end violence.  When they lend their voices, actions and support to ending violence against women, we are one step closer to a community united for safety.

This initiative is an important addition to work that has been done by many secular and faith-based groups to engage men in ending violence against women. All these initiatives provide entry points for men who want to join the work in making our community safe for all women and children.