Students host event for the Nation Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
By Sophie Isbister, Staff Writer
This Thursday, December 6, at 2 p.m. at the New Westminster campus, the Douglas College Women’s Centre and Co-op Radio’s The F Word will be presenting a film screening in conjunction with 21st annual National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The event will include a moment of silence, a screening of the film The Invisible War, and a post-screening discussion with organizers from Women Against Violence Against Women and special guests.
The event is one of many that will be taking place nationwide to address violence against women. These events are held on December 6, the same date as the 1989 Montreal Massacre, where 14 female students were killed at École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec in a killing spree motivated by sexism.
Shila Avissa, student organizer of the Douglas College event and staff at the Women’s Centre, told The Other Press that it’s important to remind students that violence against women still exists to this day.
“By remembering this day and what happened in Montreal, hopefully we can be motivated to do something in order to help women who are facing abuse,” Avissa adds.
The Invisible War, directed by Kirby Dick, is an award-winning investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape within the United States military. Katie Schofield, who works with Co-op Radio’s The F Word , told The Other Press a bit about her motivations for choosing the film: “I have always had a personal interest in raising awareness about systemic violence against women.” Schofield also feels it’s important to change people’s preconceived notions about how they relate to systems of power.
Schofield adds: “I hope [the film] will show people that the military and I would say these other systems too, are not always there for us, and sometimes aim to hurt us, and need to be seriously looked at and reformed in a lot of ways.”
Both Avissa and Schofield stress the importance of acknowledging those who have been affected by gender-based violence and abuse through events like this film screening. Schofield states, “It is hard to see past your own experiences of life, into the experiences of others, to recognize that many women are suffering simply because of their gender, and that it’s just not acceptable.”
Avissa urges students to attend the event, which has a limited seating capacity of 80, is by donation, and takes place in the lecture theatre located by the library, room 2203: “The discussion should be a great place to have conversations about the issue with fellow students and members of the community,” she says in regards to the post-screening informal discussion.
Confirmed speakers at the event include Douglas College’s vice-president Blaine Jensen, who will welcome attendees, Dawn Black, current NDP MLA for New Westminster and former MP responsible for giving the day federal recognition, and Judy Darcy, a candidate for the NDP in New Westminster in the 2013 provincial election.
Schofield and Avissa are optimistic about the event and expect a lively turnout and discussion: “With the new Feminists for Gender Equality club, I think we will hear more conversations about feminism around campus,” Avissa tells us.
Schofield adds, “[The screening] will be providing a much needed venue to discuss and raise awareness about this issue.”