January is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) at UBC, an initiative spearheaded by the University and the AMS. Access & Diversity and the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) are taking the lead in organizing and running events during SAAM, in partnership with many other campus organizations. All throughout January, members of the UBC community will have the chance to engage with events, activities and learning opportunities to begin building an awareness about sexual assault. SAAM will explore themes such as how to help prevent sexual assault through learning active witnessing skills, how to have healthy relationships with others, how to create a culture of consent, and the supports and resources available to survivors and those supporting them.
“The first Sexual Assault Awareness Month was an initiative formulated when a group of students raised concerns about how sexual violence was being treated on campus, particularly in reaction to a misogynist article published in one of the undergraduate society newspapers. Due to this particular incident and history of concerns around the lack of sexual assault awareness on campus, this student group demanded action that resulted in the first SAAM in 2010” said CJ Rowe, Diversity Advisor, Women at UBC’s Access & Diversity. “Since that time, SAAM has continued to grow into a campus wide initiative which looks to involve the University’s communities in conversations about sexual assault awareness. This month is a dedicated time for current and ongoing discussions to take center stage on campus as we look towards more systemic sexual assault awareness education.”
The keynote speaker during SAAM 2015 is Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, a queer disabled femme writer, performer, healer and teacher of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. She is the author of the Lambda Award-winning Love Cake and Consensual Genocide and co-editor with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. Her talk, “Strong Communities Make Police Obsolete” will take place on Tuesday, January 27 at 12.30 – 1.30pm at the Liu Institute of Global Issues. For full details regarding this event see the online events calendar or Facebook event.
Check out a highlighted list of events during SAAM below. All events are free of charge. If you attend or would like to follow what’s happening on social media, use #saamUBC.
Thursday, January 15th
- BARtalk #14: Feminism in the Media, hosted by AMS and Terry Project UBC. 6-7.30pm, at the Gallery Lounge.
Tuesday, January 20th
- Anti-violence ally training, 10am-12.30pm. Contact Ashley Bentley at AMS SASC, email@example.com to register.
- AMS SASC is screening the film Stalled, followed by a discussion with film-maker Megan Gardiner. 7-8.30pm, Irving K. Barber 261.
Wednesday, January 21st
- Denim Day: Stand up for a respectful campus and ask the same of your friends. Wear denim, a Denim Day sticker, or both on January 21 to show your solidarity in the fight against sexual assault. Stickers provided by Access & Diversity, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, January 25th
- Place Vanier: Start Talking art show, Shrum Lounge 6-8pm. For UBC residents.
Tuesday, January 27th
- Access & Diversity presents keynote speaker Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, 12.30-1.30pm, Multipurpose Room, Liu Institute.
- AMS SASC, FUS and LFSUS are hosting a SAAM Showcase, 6-8pm, Agora Café.
Wednesday, January 28th
- AMS Speakeasy: Art Speaks – #StartTalking art exhibition, SUB Art Gallery, 5-8pm
Friday, January 30th
- Really? workshop: Anti-discrimination awareness response training, 3.30-5pm, Simon K.Y. Lee Global Lounge. Register at email@example.com
For more information regarding events and to find resources related to sexual assault awareness, please visit students.ubc.ca/saam.
Hannah Barath is a Co-op Student currently working at Access & Diversity.