(ANTIGONISH, N.S.) - Members of the X-Men football, basketball and hockey teams participated in the fourth annual Men's Respect for Women March in Antigonish, N.S. on Sept. 21.
StFX director of athletics and recreation Leo MacPherson and X-Men basketball head coach Steve Konchalski were amongst the flag bearers for the event.
The Men’s Respect for Women March was initiated in 2011 by members of the Antigonish and StFX communities as a result of the tragic death of StFX education professor Dr. Ottilia Chareka, as a result of domestic violence.
The March has taken place annually with local dignitaries, community members and supporters and university faculty, staff and students. Both women and men are encouraged to participate in the March to bring awareness to the issue of violence against women. The majority of the X-Men football team marched this year, along with members of the X-Men basketball and hockey teams, StFX coaches and staff.
“It’s on us to be role models, it's on us to lead by example; it's on us to step up and be vocal leaders about issues that affect our community," commented MacPherson on the involvement of X-Men athletes in the event.
“Additionally, it is important for us to provide visible leadership to help raise awareness and support for the Respect for Women initiative.”
The StFX department of athletics took a strong stance on the issue of respecting women and the prevention of violence against women in the spring of 2013 when they decided that education and awareness was critical and had all student-athletes trained through the ‘Bringing in the Bystander’ program (to prevent sexual violence against women) over the course of the 2013-14 school year.
Varsity athletes also received a presentation from the RCMP and Naomi Society on the issue of preventing violence against women via the 'Neighbors, Friends & Family' program, and partnered with the StFX student union and the ‘UnSilence the Violence: Preventing Violence Against Women at StFX’ group on several promotional activities and events. These partnerships will continue for the upcoming school year, as will future 'Bringing in the Bystander' training opportunities.
This year’s Men’s Respect for Women March was held in honour of all missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. Participants heard a guest speaker then marched down Main Street in Antigonish to Columbus Field where funds were raised from a barbeque to donate to a local organization which assists women and young girls who face a crisis in their lives.
Source: StFX Sports Information