Douglas College students seek to eliminate violence against women and girls
By Julia Siedlanowska, Staff Writer
On December 2 and 3, the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU) and the Douglas College Women’s Centre are hosting an event in honour of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This day marks the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre of 1989 where 14 women were killed based on their sex. On December 6 of that year, Marc Lépine entered the l’École Polytechnique de Montréal with a rifle, separated men from women, and began shooting the women, claiming he was “fighting feminism.” It is widely accepted that the women were targeted because of their presence in the traditionally male dominated field of engineering, and for their representation of the advancement of women’s equality. Since then, the day has been commemorated as the Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.
“Violence against women is still pervasive in our society today. From domestic violence, to sexualized violence, to human trafficking, and the existence of rape culture that permeates our everyday lives,” says Tracy Ho, college relations and membership outreach coordinator at the DSU. “This event will draw attention to these [issues] and also call for action to end violence.”
The event will be held at the David Lam Campus AB Atrium on Monday December 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and at the New Westminster campus concourse on December 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“The event will include a vigil to honour the 14 women that were killed, a shoe memorial that will show visually the number of women that are affected by violence, a slideshow, a pledge, a panel of speakers from the community and at the New Westminster Campus a film screening of Until the Violence Stops,” says Ho.
The 2003 documentary is about female empowerment and features interviews with women affected by abuse ranging from rape to female circumcision, as well as testimonies from men who “expose social and cultural attitudes that perpetuate the pervasive violence against women.”
Starting at 12:30 p.m. at the David Lam campus, and at 3:30 p.m. in New Westminster, there will be a welcome from an Aboriginal Elder, and speeches from representatives from Women Against Violence Against Women. There will also be special guest speaker Selina Robinson, MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville at the Coquitlam Campus. Special guest speakers for the New Westminster campus will include Judy Darcy, MLA for New Westminster, and Erin Rozman from the Douglas College Faculty Association.
In her interview with the Other Press, Ho concluded by saying that “there are many things that we can do as students, faculty, staff, and members of this community—speaking out and highlighting these issues is the first step. The Douglas College Women’s Centre is one space on campus that this work can begin and continue to challenge sexism and violence.”
The Women’s Centre is also seeking donations of shoes for their upcoming shoe sale in honour of International Women’s Day, which occurs every year on March 8. Donations can be dropped off at the Coquitlam campus in room A130, or at the New Westminster campus, room 2850, by March 3. Shoes start at $2 a pair and proceeds will go toward bursaries to support women in their studies at Douglas College. Any leftover shoes will be donated to a local women’s shelter.