A new program aimed at youth may not have happened without him, prompting the Regina Sexual Assault Centre to give its first-ever Ulmer-Hildebrandt Award to a Regina police officer.
Insp. Evan Bray was modest as he accepted the plaque on Tuesday, saying the “Be More than a Bystander” program is a committee effort, and he was accepting the award on behalf of them.
“It’s targeting youth, particularly males, and changing attitudes about women, about violence against women, even about conversations that might happen in a locker room, in a school, in a playground … we focus a lot about how an attitude can really affect behaviour, and we’re trying to change behaviour by changing attitudes,” Bray said.
Debbie House is the executive director of the centre. She said there’s no better time to try to change those attitudes than when they’re young.
“The younger you start your education plan, the more success you’re going to have with it … If youth grow up witnessing violence against women, witnessing that it’s okay to talk badly, to hit, to abuse, that’s the life they know.”
The whole imitative started at the Regina Sexual Assault Centre’s 40th anniversary breakfast last year, when they had a speaker from the bystander program in B.C. (http://www.cjme.com/?s=regina-sexual-assault-centre-40-years-helping-people) Bray said the centre was looking for men to step up and for someone to take the lead, so he offered his services.
Bray explained it was a good fit for the Regina police.
“The Regina Police Service takes these types of issues very seriously, and we like to play a role, not only in the criminal side of things, but I think, more importantly, trying to prevent these types of things from happening.”
The program hasn’t launched yet, but Bray and House have high hopes for it, and several partners have come on board, such as Football Sask.
This is the first time this award has been given out, named for the women who first opened the doors of the centre, Abby Ulmer and Denise Hildebrandt.
House said they decided to award it to Bray.
“It’s been such an astonishing growth of a program that we, really a year ago, had no idea we would even consider. I think without Evan we wouldn’t even have begun.”
Bray said more will be released to the public about the program this spring.