On June 20, 2013, Joachim Ostertag combined his two passions – cycling and the work he does for The Men’s Program (Grey/Bruce), a program of Bruce Grey Child & Family Services. Joachim is cycling from Owen Sound, Ontario to Vancouver, BC, on his one-man awareness campaign to stop violence against women.
Joachim is undertaking this 5,000 kilometer journey totally on his own…with no entourage or support vehicle. His goal is to engage communities along the way, collect stories and inspire others to work in their own area to stop the cycle of violence. The Men’s Program (Grey/Bruce) relies heavily on fundraising to continue offering this program which helps men accept responsibility for their abusive behaviours, and develop beliefs and attitudes based on equality, partnership and respect in relationships between men and women. Joachim hopes to raise $15,000 during his journey.
As a 24 year veteran of The Men’s Program, Joachim and his team council over 300 men a year. Many have been referred by the justice system to get to the deep seeded root that causes their violence and abuse against women. Others come willingly knowing that they must make a change in their lives.
Looking at this as a great adventure, there will be tough days that it will be a test of Joachim’s endurance. He is looking forward to the unexpected situations and great moments and compares this trip to the every day reality at The Men’s Program as they challenge themselves and work to change and adopt new attitudes and behaviours.
This trip will also address violence against First Nations Women in Canada when he joins his daughter Sonja for the 800 km stretch between Prince George and Prince Rupert on Highway 16 known as the “Highway of Tears.”
By embarking on this journey, Joachim hopes to not only raise funds for The Men’s Program in Owen Sound but to shine the spotlight on the various programs throughout this country that struggle to support those who wish to “change the cycle” of violence against women.