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Press Release | Education

Press Release: Digital game on sexual violence launches on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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Education

Students at Bloor Collegiate Institute and Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten celebrate the power of technology and education to prevent violence.

Toronto, ON – On November 25 at 10:00 AM, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) will announce the launch of What It Is., a free mobile and web-based game to educate youth on sexual assault, harassment and abuse. The launch event will be at Bloor Collegiate Institute with students and dignitaries, including the Honourable Laurel Broten, Minister of Child and Youth Services.

What: Students from Bloor Collegiate Institute will play What It Is. on computers and mobile phones

Where: Bloor Collegiate Institute, 1141 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario

When: 9:30-10:00 am (equipment fitting), 10:00-10:50 am (official welcome, speakers, game playing)

Who: Students from Bloor Collegiate Institute; Honourable Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services;Trustee Maria Rodrigues, Toronto District School Board; Wendy Komiotis, Executive Director, METRAC

“Young people, especially young women, are at highest risk of sexual violence,” says Andrea Wobick, president of METRAC’s Board of Directors. “A hush remains over the issue and it’s rarely reported to authorities. What It Is. breaks the silence through youth-friendly technology.” In 2006, police-reported sexual assaults against children and youth was over 5 times higher than it was for adults, and assaults against youth 12 to 17 was nearly double the rate against children and youth as a whole (Statistics Canada, 2009, www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-224-x/2008000/fv1-eng.htm). Eighty-six percent of victims of sexual offences who reported to the police in 2004 were female, but less than one in ten sexual assaults were actually reported to police that year (Statistics Canada, 2006, www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-570-x/85-570-x2006001-eng.pdf; Statistics Canada, 2009, www.statcan. gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2010002/article/11292-eng.htm#r2).

What It Is. raises awareness about warning signs of sexual violence through quiz questions and key messages, posed to players as they move through areas like a cafeteria and bus stop – settings familiar to young people. The game’s language and characters were designed by youth themselves and reflect Canada’s multicultural diversity. Players who get a high score win an original song by two young urban artists from Toronto. What It Is. provides youth vital information about where to go for help and how they can support peers in violent situations. It was created with the leadership of a team of young people and supported with funding from the TELUS Toronto Community Board and the Department of Justice Canada.

About METRAC

The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) is a not-for-profit, community-based organization founded in 1984 that prevents violence against diverse women, youth, and children. In 2007, METRAC released its first award-winning violence prevention video game on healthy relationships, RePlay: Finding Zoe/ReJouer: Où est Zoé? For more information, visit www.metrac.org.

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For media inquiries, please contact:Andrea Gunraj, METRAC, 416-392-4760 | outreach@metrac.org

 


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