Just in time for International Women’s Day, the TRUSU equity committee held an informative and interactive discussion on intersectional experiences of sexual violence both in the Kamloops community and in society today as a whole.
While the cultural climate is warming up to the stories shared by those who are survivors of sexual violence, there is still lack of representation from those in marginalized groups such as indigenous people, sex workers and those in the LGBTQ2S+ community.
The TRUSU equity committee worked hard along with Amber Huva, TRU’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Manager, to create an all inclusive discussion on a topic that has gained immense power over the past months with social phenomenons like Me Too and Times Up campaigns.
The night’s speakers came from the TRU and Kamloops community to share personal stories of violence in a way to get the attendees talking.
The evening opened with Natalie Clark, a professor in the Social Work faculty at TRU and Secwepemc band member. Clark spoke on the issues that indigenous girls and women face when if comes to sexual violence.
Clark focused her speech on the idea of risk boxes and how even as an established woman, she was still put into the risk box that many indigenous women face.
“I was put into a risk box and someone checked the box for me.” Clark said.
Clark was followed by Jillian Watson from the ASK Wellness Society here in Kamloops, an association that aids in social and health options for persons in sex work. Watson brought with her ASK’s peer advisor, Sam, who is a fifth-generation sex worker.
Sam shared her views on how the ASK Wellness Society aided in her getting clean and becoming a helping hand in educating and helping women on Kamloops’ street stay safe and avoid violence.
Guests were also invited to speak about the risks that LGBTQ2S+ community members face when it comes to sexual violence and how common it is for these instances to go unrecorded out of fear of the repercussions that may follow.
The evening’s speakers opened the minds of all that came and the inviting discussions opened up the group to talk about personal thoughts on why this is happening and how we as a society can overcome it.