After working as a residence advisor and then as a full-time professional out of the Office of Residence Education and Programs at Western’s Housing Department, Cameron Arksey, a Western graduate and managing director of the London-based creative services agency WARPAINT Media, decided that while the university does a good job at focusing on topics of consent and sexual health in young relationships, more attention on the health of the relationship is necessary.
Because of this, he recently started Break the Cycle—a project he hopes will bridge the gap between youth and young adults, and bring awareness to the issue of relationship violence. The 23-year-old would like to produce a short video and resource kit, specifically aimed at post-secondary students.
“Unhealthy relationships and violence are much more widespread than most young adults probably think, and if unhealthy patterns are not addressed early on, how will these people know they are a serious problem?” Arksey said. “The video is meant to speak to a young, tech-savvy audience who consume much of their media online, [or] in the form of quick, compelling visuals. If the video gets even one person to start thinking about the issues, visit the website to seek more information or connect with local resources, then the project is worth it.”
Even though Arksey has received a lot of positive response so far, there is still a long journey ahead to make this video a reality. The entrepreneur needs to raise $18,000, and is looking for the community’s help.
“Of course, I welcome any and all moral support [that] individuals or organizations can offer, but my main goal for support is financial, only because there is a real cost to getting the materials created at a quality I believe they need to be for people to really take Break the Cycle seriously,” he explained. “The professional services for these materials will come at a significant cost to myself unless I can elicit monetary support from the communities for which they are intended or in-kind donation from creative partners themselves.”
“It would be ideal to receive funding from community organizations related to or interested in the issues of domestic violence or sexual assault, but then again, I think the topic of ending violence in relationships should be important to every social services agency and educational organization.”
For students who wish to help with this campaign, Arksey welcomes anyone to share network connections or resources that could help by e-mailing email@example.com. However, he also said students can help by spreading the message.
“Students can be especially helpful because, as I know from my own Western experience, they are a powerful, intelligent and community-minded people,” he said. “I invite them to share with each other, their families and partners that violence in relationships is an important issue to them.”
“Whether it be as a result of this campaign or not, mere awareness and discussion of the topic is a first step to success.”