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A Letter to the St. Pat’s High School Football Coaches and Players

Thursday, October 6, 2016 10:27 AM


I want to begin by saying thank you.  I have worked in the field of violence against women for a while now and today was a first for me.  Today was the first time I witnessed action and advocacy on the issue of violence against women being initiated - and primarily championed - in a high school by the men in the school.  Wearing white in solidarity with our “MAVerick” campaign and ending violence against women and girls may have felt like a small action, but it felt revolutionary to me.

Each of you may have your own reason for having been part of today’s campaign.  I know many of your coaches are husbands and fathers.  Perhaps some of you have been personally impacted by violence, or know women and girls that have experienced violence.  To some of you, it may feel like a bit of an arm’s length issue: you might feel like it is something that happens to other people.  But we know statistically that violence against women touches every corner of our globe…and every corner of our communities.  The number is 1 in 3.  One in three women globally have experienced physical or sexual abuse.  That means that, in the course of your day, you may not know it, but you are almost certainly interacting with women and girls that are living with – or have experienced – violence.

The reason you may not be aware of the violence happening around you is that violence against women is an issue that is often shrouded in silence.  Women and girls may not talk about it for a number of reasons: perhaps their safety – or lives – are being threatened; perhaps they stay silent out of shame or fear of stigma.  By using your voices today, you have pro-actively shown your support and solidarity so that, even in the silence, women and girls are being acknowledged and heard.

I firmly believe that, if we are going to end violence against women, men like you must be engaged in meaningful ways.  And, so, I’ll end where I started: by thanking you for the incredible action you took today.

With gratitude and in solidarity,
Corrie Schneider
Executive Director, One Spark

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