February 14 (UAlberta) | February 20 (International)
The Days of Action Committee, in collaboration with The Landing and the Office of the Dean of Students, will be hosting World Social Day with a focus on gender-based violence prevention.
What is Gender-Based Violence?
Gender-based violence (GBV) is an experience that involves inflicting physical, sexual, and/or emotional harm to someone “based on their gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender” (Government of Canada). GVB can include sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking or verbal harassment, and can be “ intensified by other forms of discrimination such as racism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and poverty” (City of Edmonton).
This type of violence is reinforced by social understandings and acceptance of gender norms and behaviours, and is oftentimes “inflicted by someone who believes their own gender is superior” (City of Edmonton). These individuals seek to dominate and harm others, which can impact the dignity, safety, and autonomy of the people they target.
Impacts of GBV on U of A Students
According to a National College Health Assessment survey, at least 31.1% of UAlberta students report having experienced some form of GBV. The following breakdown reflects the experiences students disclosed:
- Touching without consent (9.6%)
- Emotionally abusive intimate relationship (8.3%)
- Stalking (5.5%)
- Attempt to penetrate without consent (2.7%)
- Penetration without consent (1.9%)
- Sexually abusive relationship (1.6%)
- Physically abusive relationship (1.5%)
These numbers reflect the prevalence of this type of violence and the need for open, honest discussions about the issue.
Help contribute to a community free of GBV
Understanding, identifying, addressing, and responding to the impacts of GVB within our community are ways we can intervene as bystanders (also known as bystander intervention). As a bystander, it’s also important to be aware of and assess the risks to your personal safety prior to supporting others (e.g., Are you putting yourself or others in danger? Will your actions escalate things?)
Once you’ve evaluated your safety in relation to what is happening, use the following strategies to intervene:
- Direct: Remain firm and clear in your communications.
- Distract: Take an indirect approach (e.g., if safe to do so, ask the person performing the GBV action for the time or directions).
- Delegate: Seek help from a third party (e.g., contact 9-1-1 or U of A Protective Services, or yell for help).
- Document: Document the situation (when safe do so). Remember to keep a safe distance, note down landmarks, the time, day, and other details.
- Delay: Check in with the individual who is being targeted (e.g., allow them time to process the experience and a chance to decide what they need/want to do).