16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence 2023: Listen. Learn. Act.
Each year, in November and December, Camosun faculty, staff, and students work together on campus and in the community to raise awareness to fight the social stigma affecting all women and 2SLGBTQIA+ people, and especially trans people, in order to end the systemic discrimination and gender-based violence (GBV) that occurs based on sexual orientation, sex characteristics, and gender identity and expression.
Dedicated members of the Camosun community, from the Women & Gender Equity Committee (WGEC), the Camosun College Student Society (CCSS) Pride and Women’s Collectives, the Camosun College Library, and the Federation of Post Secondary Educators’ (FPSE) Women & Gender Equity Standing Committee, are sharing information and promoting action on campus and beyond.
There are many ways for you to get involved and join in the action. Let’s work together to end the violence!
Listen. Learn. Act.
Each year, November 25th – December 10th, we engage in the16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. This campaign started in 1991 to call out and speak up on GBV, and to renew our commitment to ending violence against women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ individuals each year.
The Government of Canada’s theme for the 2023 campaign of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence is “Listen. Learn. Act‘’. The theme addresses the key steps to tackling GBV. LISTEN refers to supporting survivors who share their experience, and to the experts that work on the frontlines. LEARN encourages us to educate ourselves on what GBV is, how to spot it, and how we can prevent it and take action. ACT is for taking the information and applying it in our daily lives.
16 Days – Traveling Interactive Dress Sculptures
At Camosun, you are invited to participate in the WGEC’s Travelling Interactive Dress Sculpture exhibits. Together with the Camosun College Library Faculty & Staff and the CCSS Pride and Women’s Collectives, we will work together to raise awareness to end GBV. Over the coming weeks, you can:
- Reflect on – and pledge to act against – GBV with the collaborative “Dressmaking” interactive sculptural dresses. Attach a message or share a story, as we build these dress sculptures together in a display of community solidarity against GBV. Look for the sculptures at both campuses:
- Interurban: Library, Centre for Health & Wellness (CHW), Trades Building, and Helmet Huber Annex – Cafeteria
- Lansdowne: Library, Fisher Lobby, Wilna Thomas Café
- Browse resource displays in the libraries on both campuses featuring a variety of fiction and non-fiction works highlighting the impact of, and activism against, GBV in Canada and beyond.
Unable to make it to campus? Visit the Library’s resource guide for a sampling of scholarly, creative, and activist resources related to violence against women and GBV.
Check out the Federation of Post Secondary Educators’ resource guide developed by the Women & Gender Equity Committee.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
The 16 Days of Activism start off on November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which was originally designated in 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly. The date of November 25 was chosen to commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic who were violently assassinated in 1960. The day pays tribute to them and urges global recognition of GBV.
According to the International Alliance of Women (IAW), “Violence against women is found in every society around the world, in all cultures, religions, in all incomes, and educational levels. One in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner whether at home, on the streets, or during war.” The IAW urges us all to observe November 25th and undertake activities preventing violence against women.
Honouring our Transgender Community
Photo by Oriel Frankie Ashcroft from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-standing-and-holding-blue-and-white-banner-6054385/
Vector by Maiconfz from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/vectors/heart-shape-shaped-tilted-lgbt-7961458/
You may have noticed the College’s acknowledgement earlier this week on November 20th of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), on @camosunprez Social Media, or read the TDOR post on our own CCFA blog. Or maybe you saw the Transgender Awareness Week (Nov 13-19) posters on campus, a joint effort of our employee and student teams, promoting support for the Trans community and inviting you to wear Trans colours (#camosunTDOR2023) on TDOR in honour of all transgender, two-spirit, and non-binary people we know and love, and in memory of those who have lost their lives due to trans violence and hate.
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Image from Province of BC https://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/44192535385
During the 16 Days and YEAR ROUND, we are faced with the ongoing injustice of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. In 2019, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry’s Final Report revealed persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The Final Report is comprised of the truths of more than 2,380 family members, survivors of violence, experts and Knowledge Keepers shared over two years of cross-country public hearings and evidence gathering. It delivers 231 individual Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) conservatively estimated the total number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada numbers close to 4,000 and they continue to issue annual reports and lobby the government to act. Because of them, and similar organizations, the government has finally begun to act, though not enough has been done.
In response to the lack of government action, NWAC created the website, Safe Passage, dedicated to ending the ongoing MMIWG2S+ genocide and ensuring the continued safety of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. The website is a community-driven, trauma-informed, and survivor centered initiative that tracks cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, transgender, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people (MMIWG2S+), monitors ongoing safety concerns, provides distinctions-based safety resources, educates the public and media about the MMIWG2S+ genocide, and commemorates and honours stolen Indigenous loved ones.
International Human Rights Day
Image from the UN: https://www.ohchr.org/en/human-rights-75
December 10th, 2023,marks the 75th anniversary of one of the world’s most groundbreaking global pledges: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This landmark document enshrines the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
In pursuit of these ideals, between now and December 10th, make a special effort to find ways to ACT! Participate in the Dressmaking activity, check out organizations like the BC Centre for Women in Trades and learn more about the “More Than A Bystander” training program that promotes organizational and cultural shifts towards more inclusive, safer and respectful workplaces. Talk to your friends, family, even strangers about #stoppingtheviolence, #16Days, #metoo, #mmiwg, #mmiwg2s, #endgenderviolence, #16daysofactivism, #16daysofactivismagainstgenderbasedviolence, #16days2023.
And lastly, if you are in an emergency situation, please access 9-1-1 (in Canada), for emergency services in your area. If you are outside of the 9-1-1 service area, please access available emergency services or call a crisis line in your area. You may also want to consult this list of additional support services for people affected by GBV.
Ready to fight? Let’s end the violence together.
Sarah McCagherty (שרה רנה)
Co-CCFA rep on the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE) Women and Gender Equity Committee and Co-Chair of the Camosun Women and Gender Equity Committee
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