In light of the #MeToo movement, vital conversations about sexual violence have received international attention. These conversations disclose how many women experience sexual violence, harassment and discrimination, and how often circumstances don’t allow them to speak out. #MeToo made irrefutable the conditions that result from gender-based power imbalance.
#MeToo offers a hopeful glimpse into the power of storytelling. Storytelling has existed for thousands of years as a means to distribute knowledge through generations. Stories can circulate in the margins, often subverting or existing in contrast to dominant narratives.
Storytelling is also a powerful tool to form interpersonal connection and build meaningful relationships. As an immigrant woman in Canada, story-sharing in both private and public spheres has been integral to forming my sense of belonging amidst strangers. I feel less alone when I connect with others who have similar experiences of marginalization. I feel less burdened when I have opportunities to share these experiences with others who may not have the same familiarity and knowledge. Seeing and hearing marginalized stories out in the open deeply contributes to my sense of safety and belonging.
It’s my hope that in celebrating women’s voices, experiences and ideas, Speak Up! will foster a safer space for all women-identified members of the Sheridan community to excel.
– Marsya Maharani, Assistant Curator, Creative Campus Galleries