Prime example of gender tension

By Carolyn J. Blum

Editor, the Gauntlet,

I am writing to bring to your attention an incident I experienced on campus on Wed., Mar. 3. 2004.

Around 5 p.m., I was in the corridor of the McKimmie Library putting up posters for International Women’s Day. As I was stapling them to the bulletin boards, a male walked by behind me, likely saw which posters I was putting up, and made the following comment:

“International Women’s Day, the one day a year we can’t beat the shit out of women.”

I was appalled to hear such words uttered from the mouth of anyone, let alone an individual on a university campus where people give and share their knowledge. This comment is a serious incident and in my opinion it should be dealt with.

It is clear to me that there are people on this campus who are unaware of what some women face everyday: from derogatory, violent comments like this one to harmful violence in the home. After this upsetting moment, I tried to understand how someone could be so uneducated on the general issue of violence against women. I thought of the other universities in Canada that I have attended and how different they are in terms of community. I came to the disappointing conclusion that I do not feel as safe or as equal here as I have in other cities and on other campuses.

The University of Calgary needs a women’s centre or a gender centre to address some of the issues different genders bear. Clearly people do not recognize the impact of the specific issues that women face, and this campus in particular is not open to discussions or dialogue surrounding women and women’s diverse experiences. This is, after all, an educational institution, so why not offer students the chance to enhance their knowledge on gender issues?

The more awareness there is, the more likely we are to have a safer environment for women.

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