We are stronger than fear

(L-R) Janhavi Mistry, VUSU Cultural Diversity Officer; Cat Abourizk, VUSU General Secretary; Professor Marcia Devlin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor; Teresa Tjia, Vice-President (Planning) and Registrar, in front of the International Women’s Day 2018 mural.

Around 50 students, staff and community representatives gathered for the unveiling of a mural at the University’s Footscray Park campus on Wednesday 1 August.

VU’s Academic Board walked together with Victoria University Student Union (VUSU) representatives, staff and students to the location of the mural in the covered walkway between Buildings C, G and E.

The Footscray Park mural was created by students and staff on International Women’s Day (8 March 2018). The artwork centres around education activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai’s compelling quote, “I am stronger than fear”.

Mural symbolic of VU's commitment to safety

The University’s Vice-President (Planning) and Registrar, Teresa Tjia, opened the event, noting that 1 August marks one year since the release of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Change the Course report, which detailed the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment on university campuses. She spoke about the collaborative work the University has been doing to eliminate gendered violence, harassment and discrimination.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marcia Devlin, then spoke. She acknowledged the pain and hurt suffered by those who have experienced sexual assault and harassment, and affirmed the University’s commitment to working with staff, students and the community to change the sexist attitudes that underpin violence and discrimination.

VU Student Union’s Cat Abourizk, who was Women’s Officer at the time of the mural painting, affirmed its symbolic importance in reclaiming a space for women on campus, and creating a message of strength and resistance.

Professor Devlin then unveiled the mural, dedicating it to “everyone in our community who has been affected by gender-based violence, through their life’s journey.”

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