December 19, 2017 - 1:45pm
Vancouver Island University Faculty Association, VIUSU and ResTide spearheaded events on Nanaimo campus
Hanging a shirt with an anti-violence message, donating a warm coat or lighting a candle to remember a victim of gender-based violence may be small gestures, but these actions can cause powerful ripple effects in communities.
These gestures can lead someone to step up and become involved in a cause, speak out or motivate organizations to band together to create change, says Melissa Stephens, Vancouver Island University (VIU) Faculty Association Chair for the Status of Women.
“The amplification of ideas is not because of one person. It is because many people are working together,” said Stephens. “It’s crucial to realize the struggles that women face and the organizations that struggle for funding. Imagine having nowhere to go because these organizations didn’t exist.”
During 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, members of the VIU community and Nanaimo came together to raise awareness about gender-based violence and gender justice. VIUFA, the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union (VIUSU) and ResTide spearheaded events on VIU’s Nanaimo campus, including a Clothesline Project; Thrive Drive fundraiser for the Nanaimo Women’s Centre; a vigil to remember and honour the women killed during the massacre at École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989; a Stitch ‘N’ Bitch feminist embroidery gathering; and the Red Ribbon Project, presented by VIU’s Know More Campaign, which honoured the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“The work done over the 16 Days of Activism is important as it reminds us of the real, often desperate need to support those who are affected by gender violence,” said Chantelle Spicer, VIUSU Women Students’ Representative. “I know that in hearing of the realities some individuals face, it is often very overwhelming – especially when I see how these individual issues are one story in a sea of stories – the scale is so grand. However, by working together with our campus community and local organizations, not only do I get a reality check, but I am also reminded of the power of collective action.”
Dr. Ralph Nilson, VIU President and Vice-Chancellor, said VIU students, faculty and staff showed passion and commitment during the 16 Days of Activism in recognizing the need to end violence against women – and the importance of speaking out.
“Silence empowers violence – in our society, our communities and on our campuses,” said Nilson. “Ending this silence is one of the key drivers of VIU’s Know More Campaign – to encourage conversations about violence against women, learn more about conduct and consent, and what you should do if you hear, see or experience something that concerns you. I believe that everyone on our campus deserves to enjoy a safe and respectful learning and working environment.”
Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
Tags: In the Community