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REPORTING · 14th March 2014
Walter McFarlane
Rolly Lumbala, Fullback and Travis Lulay, Quarterback from the BC Lions were in Kitimat on Wednesday, March 12th as a part of the Be More Than a Bystander Program. They made two presentations to grade 10 to 12 students at the Mount Elizabeth Theatre. Be More Than a Bystander is a part of a partnership between the BC Lions and the Ending Violence Association of BC.

“It’s a part of our community relations program. We’re trying to promote awareness of violence against women so we go to different schools and provide resources and awareness on the issue,” said Lumbala.

“We want to promote a culture of respect and we also want to bring awareness to the issue of violence against women and make, especially, the younger generation aware that it happens and aware that if they do see something happening, they have options. We want to encourage them to do something if they do see something going on,” said Lulay.

They said the youth do listen and take the message in. They are aware of the issue. There are many different ways they can Be More Than a Bystander. They can talk to their Councillors, officials, they can change the subject, create a distraction, or call them out on this.

“It’s not a super hero approach. They don’t have to go in there and say ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ There are different ways and that’s what we teach the kids as well,” said Lumbala.

They walked through several scenarios with the high school students and talked about past experiences they have had witnessing violence against women. They expressed violence is more than just physical. It includes lewd jokes, actions and words which make women uncomfortable.

Lumbala went over the statistics which are not reported, how a study in London Ontario found students who reported the highest instances of dating violence were in grade 9 and 10 involved in steady relationships. For 59%, the abuse was verbal, for 27%, the abuse was physical and for 32%, the abuse was sexual.

In addition, at least 1,000,000 Canadian children have witnessed abuse of their mothers by their fathers.

While their schedule put them at the Mount Elizabeth Theatre at the High School, Tamitik Status of Women also put together a breakfast for them at the Public Safety building, prepared by the Fire Fighters and attended by a number of local community leaders.

Mayor Joanne Monaghan was also at the breakfast to thank the Lions for coming to Kitimat. “It’s a real honour to have you here and your cause is something that we all [get] into and sometimes we don’t think about it a lot. Your presentation certainly made it very real,” said Monaghan.

“Not all men are violent and abusive so we need the men who aren’t to help in providing the leadership for the men who are,” said Cheryl Rumley at the breakfast.

During the breakfast, the football players were asked who their role models were. For Lumbala, it was his mother who taught him everyone is equal and should be treated with love and respect. Lulay said his were his parents. His father taught him to respect the ‘humble athletes,’ the people who gave the credit to their team mates.

The youth had an opportunity to ask questions of the Football Players. The questions were varied between the topics of violence prevention and football.

For further information on how you can Be More Than a Bystander, check out their website by clicking this sentence.