Leslieville boxer fights for empowerment; Roosh V throws in the towel

News Feb 10, 2016 by Joanna Lavoie Beach Mirror

To say the past week has been a whirlwind would be an understatement for Savoy Howe, the head coach and founder of Leslieville’s Newsgirls Boxing Club.

Howe is an accomplished female boxer known for her work to break down barriers and empower women, children and transgender people in and out of the ring. Just over a week ago, she got word self-proclaimed ”seduction artist” Daryush Valizadeh, who blogs as Roosh V, was planning to hold one of 165 men-only meetings in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Howe immediately felt compelled to do something to stop him and quickly issued a standby call to members of her boxing club advising those interested in getting involved to be ready Saturday evening for a rally at Queen’s Park.

“We wanted to show up there with our boxing gloves on and make a statement,” said Howe, whose all-women boxing gym is home to Shape Your Life, a program that helps female and transgender survivors of violence empower themselves and gain self-esteem through the sport of boxing.

“Our goal wasn’t to literally knock out anyone.”

In the end, Valizadeh called off his 43-country international meet up. He cited safety and privacy concerns for the men interested in attending on his Return of Kings website.

Howe’s efforts to speak out against Valizadeh went viral and in the past week she’s received dozens of messages from women as well as men from as far away as India and the U.K. thanking her for leading the charge against the neo-masculinist blogger, who has drawn the ire of many for his anti-gay, misogynistic, and rape-should-be-legal stances.

“It’s like we’ve pushed a small snowball down a mountain and it has gained so much momentum,” said Howe, who has also done dozens of interviews for media outlets around the world in the past week about her anti-Roosh V movement, Fight Factory 101.

Regardless of the cancellation of Valizadeh’s meet up on Saturday, Howe and her crew decided to go ahead with a rally against violence at Toronto City Hall where members of the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club along with martial arts clubs and similar organizations came together to empower female and trans people by teaching them basic self-defence techniques.

Earlier this week, she also received a call from at least one major sporting equipment company about the possibility of working together on the Fight Factory 101 campaign.

“It’s not about publicity or to be a martyr,” Howe said, adding the goal is to give women and trans people the tools they need to feel safe and empowered. “We want to get the message out that women and trans people are never to be messed with again because we’re hitting the gym.”

Howe said she’s in the process of setting up seminars at her Carlaw Avenue gym to educate the management of other gyms about how to train their employees to teach their members about supporting trans people training at their facilities.

“(Newsgirls) has the first transgender policy in North America and we want to share it with other facilities,” Howe said, adding she’d like to launch a white ribbon-type campaign to speak out against Valizadeh with the goal of educating his followers about the proper way to treat women.

In the end, Howe said she feels Valizadeh could really use a dose of compassion.

“I would send him so much love in the hopes he would think about what he’s doing and stop what he’s doing and transform,” she said.

– with files from Hilary Caton

Leslieville boxer fights for empowerment; Roosh V throws in the towel

News Feb 10, 2016 by Joanna Lavoie Beach Mirror

To say the past week has been a whirlwind would be an understatement for Savoy Howe, the head coach and founder of Leslieville’s Newsgirls Boxing Club.

Howe is an accomplished female boxer known for her work to break down barriers and empower women, children and transgender people in and out of the ring. Just over a week ago, she got word self-proclaimed ”seduction artist” Daryush Valizadeh, who blogs as Roosh V, was planning to hold one of 165 men-only meetings in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Howe immediately felt compelled to do something to stop him and quickly issued a standby call to members of her boxing club advising those interested in getting involved to be ready Saturday evening for a rally at Queen’s Park.

“We wanted to show up there with our boxing gloves on and make a statement,” said Howe, whose all-women boxing gym is home to Shape Your Life, a program that helps female and transgender survivors of violence empower themselves and gain self-esteem through the sport of boxing.

“Our goal wasn’t to literally knock out anyone.”

In the end, Valizadeh called off his 43-country international meet up. He cited safety and privacy concerns for the men interested in attending on his Return of Kings website.

Howe’s efforts to speak out against Valizadeh went viral and in the past week she’s received dozens of messages from women as well as men from as far away as India and the U.K. thanking her for leading the charge against the neo-masculinist blogger, who has drawn the ire of many for his anti-gay, misogynistic, and rape-should-be-legal stances.

“It’s like we’ve pushed a small snowball down a mountain and it has gained so much momentum,” said Howe, who has also done dozens of interviews for media outlets around the world in the past week about her anti-Roosh V movement, Fight Factory 101.

Regardless of the cancellation of Valizadeh’s meet up on Saturday, Howe and her crew decided to go ahead with a rally against violence at Toronto City Hall where members of the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club along with martial arts clubs and similar organizations came together to empower female and trans people by teaching them basic self-defence techniques.

Earlier this week, she also received a call from at least one major sporting equipment company about the possibility of working together on the Fight Factory 101 campaign.

“It’s not about publicity or to be a martyr,” Howe said, adding the goal is to give women and trans people the tools they need to feel safe and empowered. “We want to get the message out that women and trans people are never to be messed with again because we’re hitting the gym.”

Howe said she’s in the process of setting up seminars at her Carlaw Avenue gym to educate the management of other gyms about how to train their employees to teach their members about supporting trans people training at their facilities.

“(Newsgirls) has the first transgender policy in North America and we want to share it with other facilities,” Howe said, adding she’d like to launch a white ribbon-type campaign to speak out against Valizadeh with the goal of educating his followers about the proper way to treat women.

In the end, Howe said she feels Valizadeh could really use a dose of compassion.

“I would send him so much love in the hopes he would think about what he’s doing and stop what he’s doing and transform,” she said.

– with files from Hilary Caton

Leslieville boxer fights for empowerment; Roosh V throws in the towel

News Feb 10, 2016 by Joanna Lavoie Beach Mirror

To say the past week has been a whirlwind would be an understatement for Savoy Howe, the head coach and founder of Leslieville’s Newsgirls Boxing Club.

Howe is an accomplished female boxer known for her work to break down barriers and empower women, children and transgender people in and out of the ring. Just over a week ago, she got word self-proclaimed ”seduction artist” Daryush Valizadeh, who blogs as Roosh V, was planning to hold one of 165 men-only meetings in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Howe immediately felt compelled to do something to stop him and quickly issued a standby call to members of her boxing club advising those interested in getting involved to be ready Saturday evening for a rally at Queen’s Park.

“We wanted to show up there with our boxing gloves on and make a statement,” said Howe, whose all-women boxing gym is home to Shape Your Life, a program that helps female and transgender survivors of violence empower themselves and gain self-esteem through the sport of boxing.

“Our goal wasn’t to literally knock out anyone.”

In the end, Valizadeh called off his 43-country international meet up. He cited safety and privacy concerns for the men interested in attending on his Return of Kings website.

Howe’s efforts to speak out against Valizadeh went viral and in the past week she’s received dozens of messages from women as well as men from as far away as India and the U.K. thanking her for leading the charge against the neo-masculinist blogger, who has drawn the ire of many for his anti-gay, misogynistic, and rape-should-be-legal stances.

“It’s like we’ve pushed a small snowball down a mountain and it has gained so much momentum,” said Howe, who has also done dozens of interviews for media outlets around the world in the past week about her anti-Roosh V movement, Fight Factory 101.

Regardless of the cancellation of Valizadeh’s meet up on Saturday, Howe and her crew decided to go ahead with a rally against violence at Toronto City Hall where members of the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club along with martial arts clubs and similar organizations came together to empower female and trans people by teaching them basic self-defence techniques.

Earlier this week, she also received a call from at least one major sporting equipment company about the possibility of working together on the Fight Factory 101 campaign.

“It’s not about publicity or to be a martyr,” Howe said, adding the goal is to give women and trans people the tools they need to feel safe and empowered. “We want to get the message out that women and trans people are never to be messed with again because we’re hitting the gym.”

Howe said she’s in the process of setting up seminars at her Carlaw Avenue gym to educate the management of other gyms about how to train their employees to teach their members about supporting trans people training at their facilities.

“(Newsgirls) has the first transgender policy in North America and we want to share it with other facilities,” Howe said, adding she’d like to launch a white ribbon-type campaign to speak out against Valizadeh with the goal of educating his followers about the proper way to treat women.

In the end, Howe said she feels Valizadeh could really use a dose of compassion.

“I would send him so much love in the hopes he would think about what he’s doing and stop what he’s doing and transform,” she said.

– with files from Hilary Caton