Dalhousie University is hosting a series of activities, as part of an international campaign, to help stop and bring awareness to gender-based and sexual violence.
The campaign started on Nov. 25 during the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and will last to International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.
“The events at Dalhousie have been co-ordinated with a number of groups to host a number of events, campaigns and activities committed to profiling, addressing and eradicating all forms of sex- and gender-based violence.” said Janet Bryson, senior communications manager of Dalhousie.
As part of their involvement, Dal has focused on the LGBTQ and First Nation communities. During the campaign, LGBTQ resource and information booths can be found in different places around campus.
“There are many people within LGBTQ community who have been abused because of their gender or sexuality, or both,” said Rachele Manett, president of DalOut, a LGBTQ student organization at Dalhousie, and a peer educator for the campaign.
Manett said many people, especially in the LGBTQ community, who suffer from gender-based violence don’t tend to speak out their experience. Thus, finding ways to effectively help these people is problematic.
“What we are doing now is to create an awareness of resources on campus for LGBTQ community at Dalhousie,” Manett said. “The most we can do is to give information and offer support, but really the next step is what people choose to do.”
For the First Nations portion of the campaign, Mi’kmaq Poet Laureate of Halifax Rebecca Thomas was invited to share her poems about Indigenous missing women and talk about issues with violence on Thursday.
“Ten per cent of homicide cases are about Indigenous women, but (the) Indigenous population is just three per cent of the whole population,” she said in an interview.
Thomas wants to use her poems to give a voice to Indigenous women.
“I can at least tell the story of somebody who might not have the same audience,” she said.
In Nova Scotia, there were 668 sexual assaults reported to police in 2012, according to the Sexual Violence: A Public Health Primer report. That’s a rate of 70.41 assaults per 100,000 people. This figure is higher than the average rate in Canada, which is 62.85 assaults per 100,000 people. However, the majority of gender-based violence isn’t reported.