Last Tuesday, UTM’s student housing and residence life department held its annual Light the Night event, where students embarked in a silent candle-lit walk around campus to help raise awareness about power-based violence.
Catherine Wong, a representative from UTM’s student housing and residence life and fourth-year biology major, told The Medium, “Light the Night is an initiative that is run through the UTM student housing [and residence life] department for many years now. We basically run this night to help raise awareness about power-based violence—we want to educate students about the topic.”
According to Wong, power-based violence is any instance where one asserts their power over another.
This year, the event featured a representative from the Yellow Brick House to help educate event attendees about the cause.
Yellow Brick House is a non-profit charitable organization that provides services to women and children that have experienced and are vulnerable to violence and abuse. According to the Yellow Brick House’s website, the organization started in 1978 with five individuals: three social workers, a nurse, and a probation officer. Currently, the Yellow Brick House “operates two emergency shelters, [offers] 41 beds and one crib combined.”
There are various forms of power-based violence, including but not limited to: physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse. According to Statistics Canada, women between the ages of 15 to 19 experience 10 times more violence in relationships than men, and dating violence is most common between the ages of 15 to 24.
Wong also stated that 64 percent of sexual offences occur in the home.
According to Yellow Brick House, in order to help someone who has experienced power-based violence, it is important to emphasize that it’s not their fault, help them recognize the abuse, and tell them where to get help.
Additionally, self-esteem is always an important component to a healthy relationship. Yellow Brick House states that you are in a good relationship if you feel good about yourself, you are treated with respect and dignity, and you reciprocate the same towards your partner.
The Light the Night event ended with a moment of reflection alongside a student who is a member of the staff from the Community Engagement team. Students were asked to jot down one word or sentence that is affiliated with power-based violence. Amongst the many sentences, one that stood out the most was, “Strength prevails all.”