Friday, September 13, 2013

Refuse to Give Up! What is Resiliency?

Take Back the Night’s focus this year is ‘refuse to give up’, which is an example of resiliency. So what then, is resiliency? Resiliency is the ability to quickly recover from difficulties, such as trauma, threats, or tragedies. Being resilient does not mean experiencing no difficulties or hardships, it means moving forward with supportive relationships, encouragements, and reassurance. Resiliency is refusing to be silenced when standing up against the violence directed towards women and children.

The beginning of September marks the beginning of a new school year where students are met with positive beginnings. However, students from at least two universities were faced with negative messages glorifying non-consensual intercourse. Last week, a pro-rape chant was used during frosh week at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The chant itself celebrated and promoted underage, non-consensual sex: “SMU boys we like them young… Y is for your sister, O is for oh so tight, U is for underage, N is for no consent, G is for grab that a**.”  Similarity, the same pro-rape chant was sung during frosh week at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.

It was revealed that this particular chant has been used for some years. According to the Global Mail, the students’ attempted to conceal the chants by the mutual agreement that “if it happens in the group, it has to stay in the group.” Furthermore, there were students that have come forward complaining about the chants; however, their concerns were dismissed. It was not until the videos were posted on the internet that disciplinary measures and actions were taken to stop the chant from occurring.

Resiliency can come from different sources; from individuals or from a group, it can be personal or it can be public resiliency.  Regarding the pro-rape chants, resiliency came from the public; resiliency came from the students stepping up against the chants and fellow peers. Resiliency can mean different things to different people. What does resiliency mean to you?

There are no easy solutions to eliminate violence against women; we need a joint effort from society, governments, men and women. We can begin by recognizing and standing up against violence – let’s refuse to give up!