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Fanshawe student creates colouring book for survivors


The colouring book for survivors and supporters tells a story of taking care of yourself, others and the environment.

Jessica Thompson | Interrobang | News | August 29th, 2016

With the help of Leah Marshall, Fanshawe’s sexual assault prevention advisor, Tristan McDonald, a graduate of Fanshawe’s fine arts program and a current student of 3D animation and character creation, came up with a colouring book to give a voice back to survivors.

The book tells a story, which focuses on three themes: take care of yourself, take care of each other and take care of the environment. Each of these themes are focused on throwing out the rape culture that is readily apparent in today’s society.

“Something in this book that we tried to illustrate is you decide how you want to be supported, that is giving the power back to the survivor,” Marshall said. “That’s the idea behind, ‘My voice matters, what I want matters.’”

The idea for this kind of project came to Marshall after she saw the success of a colouring book at Ryerson University, but she wanted to make sure that the book was unique to Fanshawe. That’s when the idea to collaborate with Fanshawe’s fine arts program came about.

“I reached out to the program co-ordinator and was connected with Tristan,” Marshall said. “We started to work together on what we thought should be the messages of sexual violence prevention on campus as well as what students wanted to see as that representation.”

According to McDonald, she believes colouring is the perfect outlet for stress and mixing that with the messages that are in the book, it will have a positive impact on the students.

“If they are engaging with the material more so than just reading it, the colouring book is something where people will want to keep it because it is theirs; they have had a part in creating it,” McDonald said.

And not only is it a colouring book, it has a mix of colouring pages as well as blank boxes to allow users to fill in the blanks for things that are important to them, for ways in which they want to be helped or help others.

“These pages are about how we can build each other up and support one another,” Marshall said. “We wanted to show the types of messages that people can use to support each other.”

McDonald added that the selfcare pages are meant as an invitation to do with the book what you want; this is just another way to make it yours.

The book is the kick-off initiative for Marshall who is planning around two events a month to promote de-stigmatization for sexual violence and to bring this issue out of the dark.

“It’s a starting point, we are creating a space where these conversations can happen and we hope that they’re happening,” Marshall said.

“We are not keeping this issue in the shadows because it has been in the shadows for way too long.”

The colouring books will be available in the library during Sexual Awareness Week, from Sept. 11 to Sept 17.
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