media release

SFU researchers celebrate anti-violence campaign

November 08, 2011
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Contact:
Catherine Murray, 778.782.5322, murraye@sfu.ca
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035, cthorbes@sfu.ca


Simon Fraser University’s Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS) will put its own stamp on a 10-year-old international event aimed at eliminating violence against women Dec. 8.

Led by Catherine Murray, SFU GSWS chair and communication professor, the department will host Red Shoes, Green Belts and White Ribbons — a breakfast to celebrate activism against gender violence in Vancouver.

The celebration coincides with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence international campaign, Nov. 25 to Dec. 10.

Launched in 1991 by the Women’s Global Leadership Institute at Rutgers University in the United States, the campaign starts on International Day Against Violence Against Women and ends on International Human Rights Day.

More than 3,700 organizations in about 164 countries participate in the 16 days of activism celebrations by holding similarly themed events.

Author and radio personality Jen Sookfong Lee will be the keynote speaker at SFU’s $100 a ticket event, 7-9 a.m. at SFU’s Segal School of Business.

The SFU event will go beyond raising awareness of and denouncing violence against women, the primary goal of the 16-day international campaign. The GSWS event aims to help combat violence not only against women but also against “gender-variant” people, a term applying to any kind of gender-based discrimination, such as violence against gay, transgender or bisexual people.

“Gender-based discrimination is the most pervasive form of human rights violation in our society,” notes Murray. “Vancouver has the highest incidence of homophobic crimes in Canadian cities according to Statistics Canada. The city wears an international badge of dishonour over the disappearance of women in the Downtown Eastside.”

By broadening the international campaign’s efforts to protect women against violence to include gender-variant victims Murray’s department hopes to help raise public support for activism against gender violence.

“The incidence of victimization of gender-related violence is far higher internationally than the incidence of society’s most common diseases — breast cancer, stroke and heart disease,” says Murray.

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Backgrounder: Red Shoes, Green Belts, White Ribbons breakfast

The public is invited to join SFU’s Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies (GSWS) at a Dec. 8 breakfast to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence international campaign. The 7-9 a.m. event at the Segal School of business in downtown Vancouver dovetails with the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada (December 6) and International Human Rights Day (Dec. 10).

Other similarly themed events during this 16-day campaign are:

World AIDS Day (Dec. 1) and the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre (Dec. 6).

In addition to Jen Sookfong Lee as the keynote speaker, the GSWS Red Shoes, Green Belts, White Ribbons breakfast will feature the following:

  • Dana Olwan, GSWS Junior Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, speaking about gender violence in Muslim communities.
  • Jen Marchbank, an SFU Surrey associate professor speaking about violence against gender-variant children. Marchbank researches mail-order brides, the settlement experiences of refugees in B.C. and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) activism in Surrey.
  • Tasha Patterson, doctoral student in GSWS presenting research on the celebrity culture’s condoning of gender violence.

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