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International Women’s Day strikes conversation in Quesnel on equality, consent

An event to celebrate women’s achievements and take action for equality was held on March 8

International Women’s Day was recently celebrated in Quesnel at the College of New Caledonia, where an array of activities were available for everyone.

Tables were set up in the cafeteria from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 by the Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre (QWRC) for visitors to participate in button making, colouring and more.

One table even had several bottles of paint so handprints could be added to banners for the annual Take Back the Night March coming up this fall.

“I think it’s so important, especially after the last little while,” said QWRC events coordinator Olivia Therrien.

“It’s nice to have a positive kind of celebratory event surrounding women in the community, and it’s a nice chance for people who are like-minded to get together and see each other. It’s also a nice way for us as the Women’s Resource Centre to share with the students of the college and the community what resources we have to offer.”

Discussion throughout the day moved beyond the achievements of women and included equality and healthy relationships.

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Kadyn Poirier was among the students with Correlieu Secondary School wearing a black t-shirt with the words “got consent?” and raising awareness about sexual consent and sexual misconduct.

They handed out brochures and an anonymous survey asking respondents five questions about consent and what it means to them.

“There are big issues with sexual violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault–all of these different cases, and not only that but people just disrespecting consent in general,” Poirier said.

“A lot of times certain societal constructs will make people feel obligated to go against their consent, and we’re just trying to use these surveys to eliminate those kinds of idealism.”

Far too many, Poirier said, do not believe sexual engagements in marriage require consent.

Following an expensive date, many women have also indicated that they feel obligated to have sex.

“It’s a very interesting but a very terrible societal way of thinking, and we believe that we can illuminate this for people and better educate them on what they are allowed to yes and no to which is anything but also educate people on when they are impeding on somebody’s consent,” Poirier said.

“Maybe help deal with some anger management issues and issues on rejection, and hopefully, if not in my generation but the generations to come will have to deal with this issue of consent, and sexual assault and sexual harassment less and less until eventually it continues to dissolves because I think that a world where everybody can respect everybody else’s space, everybody else’s consent is a beautiful world to live in.”

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