Community cafe to be held in Surrey to discuss violence against women

Women discuss the issues around violence against women at Shakti Society’s June 2013 community cafe. Submitted photo/Facebook.

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Surrey’s Shakti Society is hosting its third community cafe to address violence against women Wednesday evening.

The non-profit society, which is committed to empowering women, children and families, hosted its first-ever community cafe Jan. 2013 — following the global outcry after a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was brutally gang raped on a moving bus in Delhi in Dec. 2012. The woman died of her injuries 13 days later.

The community cafe is organized in a coffee house setting, a place where the community can listen to speakers and share ideas.

“It’s not just about these women that are in the news,” said Shakti Society founder Sonia Andhi. “A big piece of these cafes is that people leave energized, they leave with ideas of what they can do as individuals to address these issues,”

For the event’s third instalment on Wednesday, the discussion will focus on the “male perspective” and hear from men who want to make a difference.

“We really wanted men to think about how they see this issue … how they are playing a role in it sometimes just being passive,” said Andhi, adding that the discussion will not only be about crimes against women, but also how they are perceived in society. “Women have been oppressed through the centuries — not just any particular culture but everywhere around the world.”

The goal of these events is to bring about positive change with the ongoing violence against women happening across the world.

“We’re going to have to change this, even if we’re just changing the men in our lives,” said Andhi.

Wednesday night’s speaker panel will feature four men from the Surrey community, including Aseem Khan, president of the International Muslim Academy of Canada, Gary Thandi, executive director of Genesis Family Empowerment Society, Orville Lee, former B.C. Lion and co-founder of the Pathfinder Youth Home and Sukhminder Singh Virk, founding member of the Guru Nanak Education Society of B.C.

The commuity cafe runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bollywood Banquet Hall on 128th Street in Surrey. To register for the event click here.

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