Award-winning novelist to speak at Brock about women’s rights

A virtual reading and discussion at Brock will explore culture, women’s agency and human rights on Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 3 to 5 p.m.

The event, a joint venture between Brock University Creative Writing, Human Rights and Equity (HRE) and Brock International Services, will feature the award-winning novelist, activist and psychotherapist Farzana Doctor.

Her presentation, “Culture, Agency and Women’s Rights,” will begin with a live reading of her recently published novel Seven. Drawing on excerpts from the book, Doctor will facilitate a conversation on human rights with a focus on the issue of female genital mutilation, particularly within the Dawoodi Bohra community.

“It’s increasingly important to talk about human rights and sexual violence in its many forms and cultural contexts, especially considering the diverse global community at Brock,” said Jermaine Marshall, Gender and Sexual Violence Events and Volunteer Co-ordinator, HRE. “By creating spaces to facilitate these conversations, we’re hoping to help break the taboo of silence around sexual violence while providing opportunities for participants to learn more about what they can do to address these issues.”

Doctor’s presentation will be followed by an open discussion moderated by HRE Director Leela MadhavaRau on sexual violence against women, human rights and racism.

“Farzana Doctor’s hard work has made it possible for Brock to engage in a challenging conversation about female agency and the custom — long-held in some cultural communities — of female genital mutilation,” said MadhavaRau. “This is not an easy topic with which to engage, but HRE wants to ensure the campus community understands fundamental human rights in the broadest sense, not only those areas that are most commonly addressed in the media.”

A panel consisting of student leaders from a variety of Brock clubs and groups will take part in the discussion. The conversation will be interactive with opportunities for both the panel and the community to join in.

“Our campus is so intertwined with the local Niagara community that we want these important conversations to be available to everyone, so that change can happen throughout the region and not just within the bounds of the university” said Marshall.

This event is open to all members of the community. Registrants will receive a free copy of passages from Doctor’s novel ahead of the presentation. For more information on the event and to register, visit Eventbrite.

This event is part of Brock’s International Education Week. For a full listing of events, visit

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