Learn more about how the Male Allies program was started and what we’ve accomplished over the last decade!
In 2007, the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region began exploring how to include men in the work of ending sexual violence in our community.
In January 2008, under the name MARC Project (Men Against Rape Coalition), the first ten men participated in approximately 14 hours of training. Additional training was offered for those who wanted to become volunteers with our agency. The name quickly changed to Male Allies Against Sexual Violence program and in 2016 it was shortened to Male Allies program. The purpose of the program is to provide men with the opportunity to learn how they can work to end sexual violence against women and children with the support and guidance of SASC.
Participants use the knowledge and strategies from the training to facilitate critical conversations with men and boys in their personal lives, work lives (paid and volunteer) or by facilitating SASC workshops.
In 2010, the Astley Family Foundation invested $30,000 into the program. Since then, the Astley Family Foundation has contributed over $300,000 to educate and support boys and men in ending gendered violence in our community. This stable funding also attracted funding from other sources such as Waterloo Region Public Health, Wilfrid Laurier University, Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation – George Cluthe Fund and Brenda & Peter Hallman Family Fund, the Barb Elliott fund, Grand River Rotary and F.K. Morrow Foundation.
In May 2013 we hired a part-time program coordinator. This became a full-time role in September 2015. In January 2017 we added a full-time educator partially funded by a project partnership with the Cambridge YWCA.
Some highlights of the program include:
- SASC became the first sexual assault centre in Ontario to host a program to engage male allies in the work of ending gendered violence.
- In 2011 the program was a finalist for K-W Volunteer Action Centre’s Innovative Involvement Volunteer Impact Award.
- In 2014 SASC began an 8 – 12 week program for Grade 7 and 8 boys (now called the Young Men’s Group).
- In 2016 the program began a partnership with Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre and the Ontario Hockey League to provide mandatory training to all Junior A teams about healthy masculinity and healthy relationships. The Male Allies program created the curriculum and facilitates the training for the Kitchener Rangers and the three U.S. based teams.
- In 2017 the Male Allies program was asked to provide training for all male athletes at Wilfrid Laurier University.
The Male Allies program is now approaching its 10 year anniversary. The scope of the program and methods of delivery have expanded however the commitment to engaging men and boys in ending gender-based violence is the same. Thousands of men and boys in Waterloo Region and beyond have had the opportunity to participate in critical conversations. We believe that their lives are enriched and expanded and a safer community is being created.