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Workshop takes aim at ‘toxic masculinity’ in team sports

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Tara Jeffrey
Trish Vanoosterom is hoping local sports teams will come on board for a new workshop that promotes healthy masculinity and gender-based safety.
Boys from an early age are bombarded with toxic masculinity messaging about how to ‘be a man,’ said the public education coordinator for the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Centre Sarnia-Lambton.
“This program provides players with healthy counter narratives of masculinity, while encouraging them to consider how their words and actions can demonstrate respect for women and girls, and create safe spaces for all athletes.”
The free, one-hour workshop is hosted in partnership with the agency’s Male Ally Coalition and includes interactive activities aimed at challenging unhealthy narratives in sports.
The workshop is similar to the Ontario Hockey League’s “Onside” program and tailored to local male sports teams of players aged 12 and up.
Vanoosterom pointed to a recent study that found 47% of high school students had experienced ‘hazing,’ which can lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders.
Males are also far less likely to report victimization and less likely to seek help, she added.
“You can become leaders in your community by standing up,” she said. “And speaking out against the everyday attitudes and behaviours that contribute to a lack of respect for women.”
For more, or to book a team session, contact Trish at [email protected] or call 519-337-3154, ext. 203.

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