Talking about dating violence was a taboo subject for Grade 11 Malvern student, Jessica Garnier, until she came to Chester Le Junior Public School.
On Oct.16, seniors, adults, and youth gathered at the school to address topics that are usually silenced.
A forum for youth that addressed dating violence was the highlight of the event for Garnier.
“I learned that [dating violence] is something that happens often but many people don’t talk about it,” said Jessica. “I have enough information to inform and help others who may be going through the same thing.”
The community around Chester Le is a predominantly Asian community with many newcomers and immigrants. A woman, who referred to herself as Ice, is trying to bring awareness to these newcomers about violent relationships.
“Marginalized people are more at risk because they have fewer resources in the community,” she said.
Ice said that it is also important to teach youth at an earlier age the signs of a violent relationship especially with the prominent influence of the media.
“Sometimes when we hear songs on the radio we don’t actually listen to the lyrics which actually hold some aggressive words and images,” she said.
This is the first time that such a large forum on healthy relationships has occurred in the community. While many youth did not turn out, there were a large number of seniors at the event.
Jenny Li, the coordinator of Agincourt community services hopes that these types of forums can continue in the Agincourt community. But while Li says she has good feedback to the event, she is not sure if it will continue.
“Unfortunately, our funding for this project is ending this December, so will my position be ending too. So I can’t say if I will organize this kind of event again next year,” Li said.
The event also talked about healthy parenting relationships, and how seniors could deal with elder abuse.