That’s the message from The Body Shop, YWCA Canada and the Canadian Women’s Foundation during a March campaign that focuses on raising awareness of the severity of violence against young women, developing solutions and raising money to support violence prevention programs.
"Violence is an unacceptable form of disrespect which should not be tolerated," says Margot Franssen, president and partner of The Body Shop Canada. "We want to help educate youth and support them in making positive differences in their own lives."
The Body Shop is selling a special campaign T-shirt to raise funds for violence prevention programs. Featuring the Expect Respect graphic o two individuals embracing around a heart, the T-shirt sells for $11.95, with $2 from every sale donated to the campaign partners.
The Body Shop is also selling a pre-paid long-distance phone card for $5, with $1 from every card purchased going to support violence prevention programs.
In December The Body Shop distributed special coupons to raise money to help stop violence against women. For each coupon returned to shops during March The Body Shop will donate 50 cents to violence prevention programs.
According to statistics supplied by The Body Shop, at least one in 10 high school students has experienced some form of violence in a dating relationship. One in four women in Canada are sexually assaulted, and half of those are teenagers. One in every four sex offenders in Canada is a teenager.
Locally, Whistler RCMP report the number of reported sexual assaults increased from nine in 1994 to 15 last year.
"Even though society is increasingly more aware that violence is not tolerable in a caring relationship, the rate of violence in teenage relationships remains prevalent," says YWCA Canada President Judith Wiley. "It is important that we recognize the issues facing today’s youth and not underestimate the long-term negative affects of violence. Only by positively affecting youth attitudes towards violence can we ever hope to eradicate violence in our society."
The Body Shop has raised more than $250,000 for violence prevention and recovery programs since 1993.
The Body Shop campaign continues to March 24.