16 Days Campaign Calls on Community Members to Speak Up on Gender-Based Violence

Someone holds a white candle with a tag that reads December 6th, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

A vigil is being held on VIU’s Nanaimo campus on December 6, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, to honour and remember the 14 young women who were murdered in the 1989 massacre at École Polytechnique. Vancouver Island University Photo

November 24, 2021 - 3:45pm

Orange lights will shine in VIU’s Nanaimo campus quad to encourage people to unite against gender-based violence.

The Vancouver Island University Faculty Association (VIUFA) Status of Women Committee is asking individuals and organizations on Vancouver Island to call out, speak up and reflect on immediate actions they can take to end gender-based violence during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.

The 16 Days Campaign, which marks its 30th anniversary this year, begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and runs until December 10, World Human Rights Day.

“Ultimately, we aim to spark a desire to know and to do better here and now. Many of the issues surrounding gender-based violence are obviously very difficult to talk about, but we have a tremendous community of people, with diverse expertise, skill sets and backgrounds, who can and do guide us to become better informed for life-changing and life-saving conversation, advocacy and action,” says Dr. Melissa Stephens, VIUFA Status of Women Committee Chair. “It is up to us, individually, to step up and commit to change.”

The Status of Women Committee is hosting its second annual video campaign supporting 16 Days and is sharing videos submitted by individuals and community organizations discussing the topics: what should be done to eliminate gender-based violence and how individuals can work on the issue. The videos will be shared throughout the campaign on the VIUFA Status of Women Facebook page. Watch the previous 2020 videos on the Women Act Nanaimo YouTube channel.

The video campaign aims to encourage awareness, action and accountability all year round. As such, the VIUFA Status of Women Committee has invited vital organizations and educators to contribute informational videos about issues ranging from gaslighting, to pornography’s impact on children, to risk reduction strategies for BIPOC communities. Some organizations may also speak to the distinct services that they provide. 

“This is crucial because not one service suits everyone and sometimes people aren’t even aware of the incredible programs that may be available to them,” says Stephens. “There may be a community waiting for you at the time you need it most.”

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Nanaimo is “Oranging the Bastion” during a ceremony at 5 pm on November 25. The Bastion will remain lighted throughout the 16 Days campaign. VIU Students’ Union Women Students’ Representative Cole Reinbold will be attending to represent VIU students at the light up.

In solidarity, the Status of Women Committee, with the help of Robin Boxwell, VIU Technical Director of Malaspina Theatre, is lighting a section of the Nanaimo campus quad orange and will display a banner calling for people to unite to end gender-based violence. The colour orange is part of the United Nations’ Women Orange the World campaign and symbolizes a brighter future, free of violence.

On December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a vigil is being held at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre to honour and remember the 14 young women who were murdered in the 1989 massacre at École Polytechnique. The event will begin in the Malaspina Theatre (Building 310) lobby at 10 am, where invited guest speakers will reflect on histories of violence and on pathways to a safer and more hopeful future. Attendees will then proceed to the Jardin des Quatorze, near Building 360, which is a memorial garden erected to honour the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre. The event concludes there with a vigil and a moment of silence. Everyone is invited to attend. Masks are required for the indoor portions of the event. Vaccination passports are required if the attendance number exceeds 50 people. 

The Indigenous-Informed Sexual Assault Program at Nanaimo Family Life Association is kicking off the Nanaimo 16 Days Campaign on Thursday, November 25 with A Time to Stand in Unity: Day for Elimination of Gender-Based Violence. The event will honour and remember all the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, while also recognizing all lives impacted by gender-based violence. 

A Time to Stand in Unity is being held from 1-3 pm at Swy-a-lana Lagoon with permission from the Snuneymuxw First Nation. Elders, community leaders and organizations will speak during the event. Stephens will be one of the guest speakers and encourages everyone to attend.

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Media Contact: 

Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373 l E: Rachel.Stern@viu.ca | T: @VIUNews


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