Laurier advocates to eliminate gender based violence

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is currently taking place on Wilfrid Laurier University’s campuses, from Nov. 26 to Dec. 10.  

The initiative is being collaboratively run by Laurier Sexual Violence Education Group, Laurier’s Student Wellness Centre, the Diversity and Equity Office, Waterloo Region’s Sexual Assault Centre as well as Advocates for Student Culture of Consent.  

“This year’s theme for 16 days of activism is ‘My Actions Matter,’” said Sarah Scanlon, sexual violence response coordinator at Laurier.  

“It’s a call to action that asks everyone to take concrete steps and question and call out acts against ender based violence,” Scanlon said.

Each day of the 16 days of advocacy, the initiative’s partners will be suggesting concrete actions that those in the Laurier community and beyond can do in order eliminate gender based violence.  For example, on Nov. 26, the suggested action was to donate to Waterloo Region’s Sexual Assault Centre.  

“The average wait for the sexual assault centre is over a year. That’s a real problem in that people who are really struggling who have experienced real trauma are not able to access the recourses that they need so we’re encouraging folks, as one way to help end gender based violence, to donate money to the Sexual Assault Centre” Scanlon said.

Each day, participants are asked to share a photo of themselves taking action against gender based violence and tagging their photos online with #ConsentIsGolden.  

“We’re also asking folks to suggest other actions to us and share actions online and encourage others to also act up speak up and do something to contribute to this issue,” Scanlon said. 

In order to further encourage and foster activism on Laurier’s campus, the 16-day initiative is hosting daily events in order to encourage advocacy, awareness and change.  

“We wanted to create a consistent conversation across those 16 days about the different ways in which individuals across the Laurier community can contribute to this conversation and help work towards eradicating Gender Based Violence and ensuring more supports and a safer campus for everyone,” Scanlon said.

On Thursday Nov. 27, students and the Laurier community are asked to wear the colour purple for Wear Purple Day. 

On Dec. 3, facilitators form Male Allies will be running an Introduction to Male Allyship workshop. While on Dec. 6, the collaborators will be hosting a radical healing space and an opportunity to build your own self-care kit.

“There’s a lot going on around this issue and publicly and on social media. People are really depleted people are actively having that convo, we just wanted to have a space where folks can come together and prioritize collective care and support each other,” Scanlon said.  

In conjunction with 16 days of activism, LSPIRG is running a survivor comfort donation drive, where individuals are encouraged to donate various supplies until Dec. 10. A list of essential items are listed on LSPIRG’s website. 

“Those donations will be going to directly survivors accessing Waterloo Region’s sexual assault centre who are often in desperate need of particular resources, and particularly for low income survivors,” Scanlon said.  

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