Men in Hay River are answering the call to end gender-based and sexualized violence in the North.
A men’s group has since started in the Northwest Territories capital and now Scott Clouthier is organizing a similar group in Hay River.
“It’s about time that men are willing to step up and do some of this work, and help reduce violence and keep the women and gender-diverse folks in our lives safe or help keep them safer,” he told Cabin Radio.
Clouthier – a volunteer Cabin Radio host – said MacNeill’s letter resonated with him as he’s worked with Smash (Strength, Masculinities, and Sexual Health), a program for young men in the NWT that centres around masculinity, sexual health, and relationships.
He said he wants to give men in Hay River the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas, raise awareness of the issue, and take real steps toward change.
Clouthier noted that in the past, he has cut men out of his life that have been toxic or abusive. Since reading MacNeill’s letter, however, he wants to try a different approach.
“That doesn’t do anything to address the harm that they have done or will do,” he said. “What we need to do is call men in instead of cast them out.”
Clouthier said he’s not an expert on the subject but he wants to help facilitate the conversation. He’s taking a course on leading men’s ally groups.
“I’m really hoping just to bring a lot of different voices to the table,” he said. “With a lot of different voices and perspectives in the room, hopefully, we can come up with something to move forward with in terms of an action plan.”
The first meeting of the Hay River men’s group is scheduled for September 29 at 6pm at the Don Stewart Recreation Complex. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, in-person attendance will be limited to 25 people but Clouthier said an online stream may be provided if there is enough demand.
Women, transgender, and nonbinary people are welcome to attend the meeting, but Clouthier said the focus is on men as they are the ones being asked to “step up and do this work.”