Taken from The Commerce Times article “Men protecting women’s rights”

October 6, 2009  By Sara Viveiros

Advocating a safer future for women, more than 1,500 people took part in repeating the Ryerson White Ribbon Campaign pledge during September 14 to 20 in booths set up in the Ted Rogers School of Management, the Library building and the ENG building during Pledge Week.

The White Ribbon Campaign is new to Ryerson University this year, beginning mid-summer. The group focuses on informing young men about the violence women face.  The organization also discourages men from falling into stereotypical ideals of harshness; instead they are encouraged to be open to sensitivity and proud to raise awareness that violence against women is wrong.

Creator of the group, Jeff Perera, is a 34-year-old social work student at the university. Jermaine Bagnall, RSU president, is co-chair.

“We’re not trying to point fingers at men. We are trying to inspire them to be part of change, part of the solution,” says Perera. “We encourage men to be honourable, respectful people.”

Anyone can join the White Ribbon Campaign at Ryerson. Meetings scheduled regularly encourage a relaxed and open atmosphere, and are designed to create a safe and comfortable environment where men can express their concern. Women are also welcome to attend meetings and events so that their perspectives may be better understood.

“Meetings feel like going to church,” says Perera. “We’re all just kind of talking.”

The campaign is part of the organization of 20 events leading up to the December 6 Memorial remembering the violent acts on women 20 years ago. At “Behind the Masc.,” held on September 26 in the SCC, issues discussed included men, masculinity and the societal ideals of what it means to be a man.

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” was a city-wide affair at Nathan Phillips Square on October 1. The White Ribbon Campaign encouraged men and women of all ages to “strut their stuff” and support an end to violence against women.

“We want to show that it’s OK for men to show support of this issue,” says Perera.

Motivated from personal accounts of violence against women, Perera has strong emotion attached to the White Ribbon Campaign. He is currently working at the university’s Discrimination and Preventive Services Offices as a peer trainer.