Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus was host to the Man-to-Man campaign, a project from Beyond Borders and The Gatehouse working to tackle the issue of sexual abuse toward children.
Beyond Borders is a non-profit Canadian organization working to raise awareness about the issue.
Arthur Lockhart is a justice studies professor and the founder and co-chairman of The Gatehouse, a community-based organization located near Lakeshore Campus where victims of sexual abuse can receive help in recovering. He suggested Beyond Borders launch their campaign at the campus because he thought it would be the ideal place.
“I have a belief that the students at Humber College are amazing and I believe that students are people who want to take action on social issues,” Lockhart said.
Faculty members and students of the School of Social and Community Services, as well as key speakers and representatives attended the launch of the Man-to-Man campaign on Oct. 26.
Deborah Zanke, Beyond Borders campaign manager, said this campaign is different from most because it targets men, who are the majority of offenders in child sexual abuse cases.
“This is one of the first campaigns in Canada to focus on the demand side of the issue,” she said. “If those who use children and youth for sex and profit stopped, the victimization would stop.”
Lockhart said it is crucially important to raise awareness about child sexual exploitation because one in four youth are affected and it translates into victims running away from home and getting into drugs, alcohol and other forms of addiction.
Ritchie Lanys, a Beyond Borders contributor and strategic advisor for the Gatehouse, knows firsthand what it is like to be sexually abused and said he is doing as much as he can to help other victims.
Lanys sought out The Gatehouse in 2007 to help him deal with his experiences as a child. Halfway through the 15-week program for men, he realized he wanted to work with The Gatehouse as his way of giving back.
“If I could share my story and have others see it in order to help others, they can get through it, Lanys said. Where can we go if people aren’t helping people?”