November 27, 2018 - 3:00pm
Since the #MeToo movement, issues of gender-based violence and sexism have moved to centre stage of public discussion. Survivors and allies no longer feel they have to keep quiet – and the VIU community is making its support known during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.
The VIU Students’ Union is hosting, in partnership with the VIU Faculty Association (VIUFA) and CUPE Local 1858, a series of events on campus in support of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Events include the Clothesline Project on display outside the Upper Cafeteria (Building 300), an Only Yes Means Yesworkshop, discussions such as Male Vulnerability: A Perspective on Feminist Activismand much more.
“On a local level, VIU is accountable to its students and employees, but I would suggest that it also has a responsibility to Nanaimo and to communities extending beyond the campus borders,” says Dr. Melissa Stephens, VIUFA Chair for the Status of Women. “VIU educators train students to become professionals and to hone their expertise in particular areas of study, and we also prepare them to think and act as informed citizens.”
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence began on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 and ends of International Human Rights Day on December 10. These sixteen days are a reminder that individuals have the ability to make a difference – now and throughout the year – to eliminate gender-based violence.
A large part of ending gender-based violence is helping people broaden their personal definition of the term gender-based violence to include instances of sexual misconduct. To educate the community about what sexual misconduct is, VIU started the Know More campaign in 2017, an initiative which addresses sexual violence and sexual misconduct. The campaign focuses on building awareness and providing education about where to seek support and how to know what consent is.
The theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is #MYActionsMatter. It is a call-to-action that asks everyone to take concrete steps to question, call out, and speak up against gender-based violence.
“What people can do on a daily basis to end gender-based violence is remember everyone has a unique story,” says Stephens. “We need to be willing to hear stories that are different from our own.”
Rae-Anne Guenther, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
Events happening at the Nanaimo and Cowichan Campus for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is shown below: