2110 Centre Holds Alt Event Series

From a fertility awareness workshop to papier maché puppet, this year’s version of the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy’s Another Word for Gender event series has something for all Concordia’s diverse communities.

Running from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, Maya Rolbin-Ghanie, the 2110 Centre’s publicity and promotions coordinator, says that this is the time of year to be introducing students to the practices and ideas around gender advocacy. Another Word for Gender, she says, covers a wide range of issues.

“We thought that broad programming, setting lots of different events around things that very much had to do with gender and feminist organizing reflected our approach,” said Rolbin-Ghanie. “All these different issues and events are very much linked.”

Last year’s event was well attended and culminated in the largest ever Sisters in Spirit March and Vigil for Missing and Murdered Native Women that brought together about a thousand people.
This year, the Sexual Assault Centre Campaign is presenting an Intro to Sexual Assault workshop.

The campaign has been rallying the university for funding, space and policy that directly and specifically addresses sexual assault, and have finally been able to sit down with administrators to discuss the need for a safe haven for assault victims on campus.

“We’ve certainly made progress engaging student interest in having a Sexual Assault Centre,” said Rolbin-Ghanie. “The Concordia Student Union and the Graduate Students’ Association have been very supportive, like pretty much all students at this point, and they’ve both called for the same things we’ve been calling for over the past year.”

Organizers say that the victim-blaming rhetoric that governs the university’s sexual assault policies need to be flipped, and so far their petition for a centre has ballooned to over a thousand signatures.
This year was also the first year that sexual consent training was offered to frosh leaders in response to a number of complaints during past events.

“The [training] is not just geared towards people who experience sexual assault,” said Rolbin-Ghanie. “It’s also aimed a people who might be perpetuating sexual assault.”

This year’s keynote speaker, Loretta Ross, echoed the sentiment of campaigners saying that universities tend to under-react, under-report and underestimate the impact of sexual violence that occurs on their campus.
“Having accessible places of help is very important and unfortunately women are very vulnerable in college and university settings to sexual assault,” said Ross.

“It’s the combination of being very trusting and being in atmospheres where violence against women is—not encouraged—but the universities often don’t take it seriously enough because they don’t want to smear the name or reputation of the university.”

Ross, a founder and national coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, will be speaking at Concordia about the intersection between sexual and reproductive violence on Sept. 27.