YWCA Rose Campaign toolkit


The Rose Campaign is a national advocacy campaign to end violence against women and girls. Each year, from November 25 to December 6, YWCA Canada's annual Rose Campaign to end violence against women and girls highlights what we can all do to make their lives safer. The Rose Campaign is named for the rose button that commemorated the murder of 14 young women at Montréal's l'École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989, and called on Canadians to first mourn, and then work for change.

Why December 6?

December 6 is Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, named by Parliament and etched in history by the 1989 shooting deaths in Montreal by a man targeting women on a busy university campus. Canadians reacted with shock, sorrow and outrage. The shootings strengthened work for legislation to bring guns under control and sparked the first men's organizations dedicated to ending violence against women.

December 6 became the day we remember the women who died and re-commit to taking action on violence against women and girls until our streets, our campuses and our homes are safe. Because Canada is not yet a safe country for women.

16 Days of Action

The Rose Campaign kicks off on November 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This date also launches the 16 Days of Global Activism, sponsored by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Visit the links below to learn more and to register your Actions.

Why take action?

  • 39% of women report experiencing sexual assault sometime during their lives.
  • On any given day, over 3,000 women and 2,500 children are staying in an emergency shelter somewhere in Canada to escape domestic violence.
  • Every week, at least one woman in Canada — and sometimes more — is murdered by a current or former partner.
  • Over 80% of victims of dating violence are female.
  • 2/3 of all women victims of sexual assault are under 24.
  • Nearly 60% of women with disabilities will experience violence in their lifetime.
  • Almost 600 Aboriginal women have been murdered or are missing in Canada in unsolved cases.
  • Violence against women costs Canada well over $4 billion each year in costs of social services, criminal justice, lost employment days and health care. The human costs are much higher.

Everyone can do something to end violence against women and girls

There are many small ways to move forward on ending violence. Participating in the Rose Campaign by planning activities, actions or events at your school, on campus, at work or in the community that raise awareness and inspire action is a great start.

Start small:

Actions you can take every day:

  • Foster an environment of kindness and respect in your daily life.
  • Speak up about violence in your community and in your school.
  • Don't bully and don't ignore bullying — abuse comes in many forms.
  • Support Gay Straight Alliances to make your school safer for your LGBTQ schoolmates.
  • Watch your language — what's funny to you might be hurtful to someone else.
  • Don't let it ride, when you know something wrong is going on, name it.

Actions you can take for December 6:

  • Encourage teachers, students and staff to take a pledge to end violence.
  • Use morning announcements to commemorate the National Day of Action and Remembrance on Violence Against Women.
  • Visit rosecampaign.ca and send an email to your Member of Parliament asking for more government action on violence against women and girls.

Ready for more?

Here are some December 6 activities you can do: At School:

  • Rose Buttons: Sell rose buttons and encourage people to wear it to show support. At rosecampaign.ca you can order the button, and sell it as a fundraiser for your anti-violence activities.
  • Create an Information Display: Using posters, art work, facts and figures, create a National Day of Action and Remembrance on Violence against Women display in a prominent place in the school. Rose Campaign and December 6 posters can be purchased online rosecampaign.ca or ordered through the Status of Women Canada.
  • Creating authentic posters and messages is also a great way to personalize the display. See the Resources for information to use in your display.

Host a Candlelight Vigil:

Since the women students were murdered at L'École Polytechnique in 1989, vigils have been held every year, all over Canada, to commemorate their lives and draw attention to taking action on violence against women and girls. Vigils are usually held outdoors, vigil participants light candles, place lanterns roses or flowers to mark the life of each of the 14 women. The names of the women are read as a tribute.

You can host a student-led assembly or lunch time vigil to remember women whose lives have been lost to violence and take action to end violence against women. Assemblies can feature PowerPoint presentations, art installations, dramatic readings, skits, and music or dance performances. Invite teachers, school staff, students, and parents to participate. There are inspirational speakers and experts on violence against women in your community. Connect with your local YWCA, or a women's shelter, they are valuable resources and have great insight on the issues.

Be creative. Here are some guidelines:

A vigil can take up to four weeks to plan and promote. The assembly or vigil can be as short as 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes.

You will need:

  • A venue: a gym, auditorium, cafeteria, classroom or space outdoors
  • Volunteers to narrate and others to read the names of the 14 women who were murdered. Include men and boys as well to mark the responsibility of men to end violence
  • Candles, roses, flashlights, or other symbols to represent the victims of the Montreal Massacre and additional items to mark the lives of other murdered women

You can write your own script for the event, or download one at www.rosecampaign.ca

Encourage teachers to lead discussions on violence against women in the classroom

  • Violence against women is pervasive; it impacts a range of areas of our lives. Work with your teachers to incorporate information on violence against women in their lesson plans on December 6. This can include statistics, an examination of laws, analyzing data, studying other historic events where women's lives were lost, looking at the way violence against women is portrayed in literature or the media.
  • Facilitate a Workshop: Invite a Speaker from your local YWCA, women's shelter or White Ribbon Campaign. Or host your own workshop on healthy relationships.
  • Say it with Art: Using artistic expression to raise awareness on violence against women is a great way to engage students and community members. Solicit the support of your school's art department to provide supplies. The activities below are a good place to start and can easily be adapted for any context.
  • Missing Women Cardboard Silhouettes: In this art workshop you invite participants to cut and paint life-sized silhouettes of women to represent women who have been murdered or taken. Place the silhouettes around the school or community to draw attention to the impact and loss.
  • Stage a Freeze Mob: Create a staged event like a freeze or flash mob. In a freeze mob, you gather in a public place like a mall, transit centre, or at school and freeze in a pose that tells a story or create movement like pointing. This type of event may require more planning; it can make a major impact and send a dynamic message about violence against women and girls.
  • Get on Social Media: Tweet Up, Facebook, Pinterest: Use social media to raise awareness. Tweet Up, blog, post an image connected to violence against women. Add the Rose Campaign Twibbon to your Facebook or Twitter photo.

Scatter Petals

Cut out rose petals from construction paper. The petals should provide enough space to write a message. Punch a hole in each petal and add a string. Hand petals out, invite students to write their wish or message on a petal. The message should promote nonviolence, or reflect a deeply personal wish or memory; overall it is a wish for a better future for women and girls. Hang petals on a tree, tape to a bulletin board or place around the school or neighbourhood.

At Work

  • Rose Campaign Lunch & Learn: Host a lunch time screening and discussion. Community organizations like the YWCA, White Ribbon Campaign or women's shelters are excellent resources for speakers or workshop facilitators.
  • Facilitate a Healthy Relationships Workshop: Talk to women and men about what are healthy relationship choices. Provide information to participants about what to do if they, or someone they know, are in a dangerous relationship or are causing harm to themselves or others.
  • Open House/Information Displays: Set up a display with information about services in your community for women in abusive relationships.
  • Plan a lunch time Candlelight Vigil
  • Share your ideas: Be creative, share ideas with us.

Fresh Start is an easy-to-use-and-understand reference guide that looks at the cycles of violence and helps to create a detailed safety plan for women to achieve security, wellness and economic independence.

Safety and You

Are you cool?

In a healthy relationship, you:

  • Treat each other with respect
  • Feel secure and comfortable
  • Are not violent with each other
  • Can resolve conflicts satisfactorily
  • Enjoy the time you spend together
  • Support one another
  • Take interest in one another's lives: health, family, and work
  • Have privacy in the relationship
  • Can trust each other
  • Are each sexually active by choice
  • Communicate clearly and openly
  • Respect each other's privacy including phone calls, texts and e-mail
  • Encourage other friendships
  • Are honest about your past and present sexual activity
  • Know that most people in your life are happy about the relationship
  • Have more good times in the relationship than bad

In an unhealthy relationship, one or both of you:

  • Try to control or manipulate the other
  • Make the other feel bad about her/himself
  • Ridicule, call names or spread rumors
  • Dictate the other's clothing, looks and/or behaviour
  • Do not make time for each other
  • Criticize the other's friends and/or family
  • Are afraid of the other's temper
  • Discourage the other from being close with anyone else
  • Ignore each other when one is speaking
  • Are overly possessive or jealous about ordinary behavior
  • Control the other's money or other resources (e.g., cell phone, car)
  • Harm or threaten to harm children, family, pets, objects of personal value
  • Push, grab, hit, punch, or throw objects
  • Use physical force or threats to prevent the other from leaving

YWCA Safety Siren

Healthy dating? There's an app for that!

The YWCA Safety Siren, offers users a siren alarm which can be activated by either pressing the safety button on an iPhone, iPod Touch, Android or BlackBerry. Activating the alarm sends an SOS urgent email to a friend or family member when the user is in an unsafe situation. The app also offers Canadian health and safety information geared toward young women, including: short questions and answers about women's health and wellness, particularly focused on dating and social interaction; tips and facts on safety and wellbeing and links to YWCAs across Canada as well as health and crisis resource centres.

Turn your smartphone into a smart safety device!

Visit ywcacanada.ca to download the FREE YWCA

Safety Siren app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.

Show Your Support

Make Rose Buttons, bookmarks and brochures available to students, employees, clients, community partners and stakeholders. The Rose Button Campaign is a great fundraising opportunity for groups and organizations that support anti-violence programs and services. Purchase the buttons for 50 cents each and sell them for $1.00 or more.

Place your order at: www.rosecampaign.ca

For further information, you can also contact YWCA Canada at:
Telephone: 416-962-8881