DSU hosts annual United Against Violence Against Women events
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
November 25 and 27 mark this year’s United Against Violence Against Women (UAVAW) events hosted by the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU). Each year, the events are meant to coincide with the December 6 anniversary of Montreal’s 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, which took the lives of 14 women.
December 6 is also recognized in Canada as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day. Previous UAVAW events have had speakers and panels, and last year’s events introduced an interactive “pledge” project. The project had students signing cards with their name or a message about ending violence. Pledges are back this year, although the cards are now in the shape of hands. Pledges will be put on display, and various slideshows and videos will be screened throughout the day.
The events come with a trigger warning, as discussion of violence, and statistics and rates regarding said violence will be presented openly.
Participants are given a black scarf with the DSU logo and the phrase, “end violence against women,” printed on one end. Baking and pastry arts students from Vancouver Community College will be serving white ribbon cookies, and hot chocolate will also be available.
DSU women’s liaison Anni Thiele said, “I would like to see all students find it in their hearts to help stop violence against women. I would like to see students educate themselves on that matter and to spread the word on how important it is to stand up, not only for women, but for one another.
“With a lot happening in the media right now there have been lots of different events in the world that ended with unfair treatment towards women, a fair amount of domestic violence against women.”
The UAVAW events will also be offering a Women’s Support Services info fair, which several organizations have been asked to take part in.
The events are intended to raise awareness of violence against women, as well as domestic abuse, which all people can be victims of. The events are also intended to create a positive, encouraging environment to let students know what services are available and that there is support for them. The Canadian Federation of Students’ No Means No and the national White Ribbon campaigns will be promoted, and the college’s annual vigils remembering the victims of the 1989 Montreal massacre will be held.
The November 25 event also shares the date with this year’s UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Thiele cited one of the UN’s own campaigns as a source for hope: “The He for She campaign is getting big, and I think more and more people are starting to realize that the unfair treatment has to stop, especially in less developed countries,” said Thiele.
“As the women’s liaison, I want to let people know that I am always available for suggestions, questions, or if students just need somebody to talk to. I think it is important we spread the word about the [Douglas College] safe walks and that students speak up. I know it isn’t always easy to speak up [for oneself], but find somebody—a friend, a teacher, a family member—to help you and to support you and give you strength to stop what you are going through.”
The David Lam campus event will be taking place on November 25 in the A-B atrium, while the New Westminster event will be on November 27 in the concourse. Both events run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be open to all. If you would like to volunteer, contact the DSU’s college relations and outreach coordinator Tracy Ho at firstname.lastname@example.org