AMS Social Issues Commission collaborates with University on workshop series for Gender-Based Violence Awareness Month

Initiative aims to support QTBIPOC students navigating gender-based violence

The workshops have been transferred to an online setting due to the ongoing pandemic.
Journal File Photo

For Gender-Based­ Violence Awareness Month, the AMS Social Issues Commission (SIC) and the Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Office (SVPRO) are exploring the effects of intersectionality on how survivors cope, heal, and find support.

Throughout the month of October, the SIC and the SVPRO are partnering to provide a gender-based violence prevention workshop series with a particular focus on the QTBIPOC community.

“The Social Issues Commission is very aware that the supports are limited for survivors in a number of ways. There’s not a lot of opportunity to get support in the way you need,” Angela Sahi, AMS social issues commissioner, said in an interview with The Journal. “It can be a very overwhelming and isolating experience.”

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“Our goal is to offer a variety of events and offerings for both survivors and allies,” Sahi said. “There is, a lot of times, very limited availability of resources on campus and typically they all adhere to the same approach, and we want to diversify what was available to survivors.”

This month’s programming focuses particularly on the QTBIPOC community. 

“We’re also going to be offering programming that is exclusive or specific to the QTBIPOC survivors. We’re trying to go against traditional Western approaches to gender-based violence supports.”

The workshops have been transferred to an online setting, which Sahi said has its challenges and silver linings.

“It’s a lot harder to build community and make connections that are meaningful virtually,” Sahi said.

“We are giving a lot more attention and care to participants’ well-being prior, during, and after our programming. We’re not leaving anyone stranded after the workshop, no one’s left on their own.” 

However, she said the online setting “opens a lot more possibility to bring in really great speakers or organizers who are in the field who aren’t local and can virtually facilitate.”

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Although the initiative is only a month long, Sahi said it’s important that support for survivors of gender-based violence is ongoing.

“It is important that we think beyond this month and think about long-term structural changes that can actually better support survivors at this university,” Sahi said.

“Gender-based violence is something that exists everywhere. It needs more attention and care.”

Sahi said she’s hoping this initiative will invite more students into the conversation and spread more awareness about gender-based violence.

“It’s time to offer more diverse supports that recognize survivors—particularly when we’re talking about QTBIPOC survivors.”

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