Strolling along UTMs Five Minute Walk, snow-frosted trees to either side, students smiling ahead and behind, it is easy to forget that the world, including our community, can be a dreadful place, one where violence can strike anyone anytime. A scary thought, indeed, but one we should all keep in mind.
On Friday, February 6, the UTM Student Centre will be hosting an all-night event titled Challenging the Suburban Myth — Violence in Our Communities.
We think that violence is something that only happens in major metropolitan areas like Toronto, says Maysoon Sheikh, one of the event organizers. And when I say violence, Im not just referring to the tangible things that happen like gun shootings, robbery, and homicide. Im talking about the things that affect everyone, like racism and sexism.
Violence, and women’s fear of it, limits women’s choices in virtually all spheres of their lives. It has short- and long-term, consequences on women’s physical and emotional well-being. By addressing this topic, the organizers want to address the heart of how members of communities relate to one another and how they are able to shape their own lives.
We want to engage people in the discussion of the many different definitions of violence against women, and offer theories about why it happens in all societies across the world, elaborates Maysoon. Changing community and family values are difficult, but it is the only way that we will be able to step out of the shadows of this horrible epidemic of gender violence and inequalities.
Students are invited to join the event organizers for an overnight stay at the Student Centre this Friday from 10 p.m. to Saturday 7:30 a.m. They can email challengeviolence@ gmail.com for more information or join ther Facebook group Challenging the Suburban Myth.
A variety of activities will take place during the event, including movie screenings and guest speakers who aim to address the issues of violence in the suburbs.
Attendees, however, are not limited to listening and watching; they are also encouraged to voice their opinions and advice.
We have a whole bunch of things planned for the night, so come on down to the Student Centre, even if it is for a few hours, says Maysoon. There’ll be free food and beverages, comfortable places to relax, and an inviting atmosphere for you and your friends.