Organizations speak out to prevent domestic violence during Grey Cup
With tens of thousands of football fans from across Canada set to converge on Edmonton next weekend, advocates are speaking out about sexual and domestic violence.
Edmonton last hosted the Grey Cup in 2010, and dozens of parties will take place leading up to the big game next Sunday.
The combination of sports, parties and alcohol has sexual assault and domestic violence groups creating their own game plan.
“Whenever a Monday morning happens after a big event in our city, whether it's a big concert or a sporting event, the calls to our crisis line certainly increase,” said Mary Jane James of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton.
A 2017 study out of the University of Calgary showed a correlation between a rise in domestic assaults and sporting events.
Researchers say calls in that city rose by 15 percent after games between the Eskimos and Stampeders, and shot up by 40 percent whenever the Stamps played in a Grey Cup final.
A big blame for the increase is the heavy consumption of alcohol that usually goes hand in hand with sporting events.
“However as fun as they are, statistics demonstrate they can also lead to an increase in sexual violence. Particularly alcohol and drug facilitated sexual violence, and most particularly are against women,” said James.
Grey Cup organizers say the safety of their fans is integral with over 100 security guards and additional police officers being called in to patrol the site.
Football fans are also encouraged to step in if they see any signs of trouble during the festivities.
“You don’t have to be a hero or make a big scene to safely intervene if you witness sexual violence or what you might suspect could lead to sexual violence. You can take steps to protect someone in a way that fits your comfort level.”
With files from Nahreman Issa