By CAMERON ORR
Sharing a message of solidarity against gender violence, two BC Lions athletes took to Terrace and the northwest as part of the Be More Than a Bystander program.
The two Lions, Travis Lulay and Rolly Lumbala, started at Parkside Secondary School before moving on to stops in Kitimat and Prince Rupert in the days following.
The program they represent seeks to give youths tools and options in facing potential acts of gender violence, even early signs
Both say that since the advent of the program in 2011, the culture even in the locker room of the BC Lions has changed.
“We’re so desensitized to a lot of the stuff that goes on around us that often times we found ourselves not even thinking about these issues, especially people who it hasn’t somehow directly impacted their lives,” said Lulay, adding the approach of the program is to give people tools even if they aren’t the perpetrator of gender violence.
“Respect one another but also the women in our lives. That’s the kind of culture we try to create among the football club. And you can see, absolutely, that …we’re kind of like the police in the locker room. I would say the culture has changed, definitely,” said Lumbala.
Among the tools they teach to students is simply to try changing the subject or telling a joke in a way that helps draw attention to someone perhaps acting inappropriately that their behaviour is not acceptable.
“We hope to give these guys some real options,” said Lulay.
While the message is universal, they acknowledge their position as football players helps them reach their audience.
“It gets a foot in the door to at least get their attention for a period of time,” said Lumbala.