A One-On-One With HerVoice at UofT

Edited by Olivia Spahn-Vieira

Hi Everyone, I'm Kate. Welcome to my first ever HerCampus Article! This week, I did an *exclusive* one-on-one interview with Vaneeza Moosa, co-president of HerVoice. This amazing organization aims to support and educate women about the realities of domestic violence. 

K: Let's start off with your name, your position at Her Voice, and why you choose to start/get into the Her Voice at UofT.

V: My name is Vaneeza Moosa, I’m a co-president of Her Voice and the reason I chose to get involved with Her Voice was because I felt like it was a club that really works with a topic that’s often overlooked in society if it doesn’t affect someone directly, however still very important to talk about. I wanted to be able to empower women and specifically raise awareness against domestic violence - simply doing my part to make a change. 

K: The name of your organization is so empowering and strong. What is the meaning behind your organization’s name “Her Voice”?

V: Since we are a club that empowers women we wanted a name that represented that directly, thus Her Voice. It illustrates how we work to amplify women’s voices; creating a platform where women are heard - survivors & victims of domestic violence, as well as just women working with us to raise awareness.

K: Your Instagram says that you are a club “advocating to end domestic violence against women”. There is so much power in your vision. Why do you think it’s as important to shed light on this issue within the university setting?  

V: We think it’s important for this issue to brought attention to in ALL types of settings regardless - it affects a lot of people within our society and often no one even thinks about the existence of this issue unless they see someone affected by it. It’s very important that there is more awareness brought to it so then there can be change - without proper knowledge of the issue it is very difficult to bring about change. Also, in a university setting, it is important to recognize there are students who are affected by domestic violence and it is vital that we support them together. 

K: Many universities and schools have shifted learning in the digital space. Extracurricular and club activities are shifting as well. What do you think are the potential challenges of running an organization online and how do you/will you overcome them? 

V: It is definitely challenging and a change to be running our organization online because in the past it’s always been run fully in person. It entails a lot of our past events not being able to be held this year - our pancake breakfast, gala, silent walks, fundraising with bake sales for shelters, and more. We are working towards creating new events that can be held online this year, and have a lot of exciting virtual ones planned. We’re still going to be donating to shelters, especially since in these trying times there is an additional need for donations, so we will be trying to host virtual fundraisers as well. 

K: What is your most rewarding experience at Her Voice at UofT? 

V: My most rewarding experience at Her Voice has been creating a dynamic resources page (to be released soon) for women affected by domestic violence. It has been really nice to know that this page might be able to help women who are struggling or in crisis - it might be able to offer them a way to live a better life. Honestly, all my work with Her Voice has been rewarding; working with an organization that advocates for something so important has been a privilege and simply an amazing experience. 

K: Are there any projects or plans that your organization is looking forward to this coming school year? Please share it with us!

V: Yes!! We have some speakers planned coming in, with our first one, Kanwal Ahmed, at the start of October. She is the creator of soul sisters Pakistan, and has a talk show where she talks about taboo topics, with the mission of empowering women in Pakistan. We will be hosting a virtual event with her and have giveaways planned for people coming to the event as well. We have more exciting speakers planned for later months as well, and have a mentorship plan we are trying to get into place for the year to help ease new students’ transitions into university. We have a website under development as well, where we are hoping to have different sections on domestic violence; how to detect signs of domestic violence, survivors of domestic violence, some facts and a resource page for where to reach out for help if you are going through something of this sort. We are really excited to go through with all our plans this year! 

K: Could you please link any socials that people who are looking to join Her Voice at UofT?

V: Yes! We have a Facebook page: Her Voice U of T, Instagram: @hervoiceuoft, and we’re currently working on a website as well, so make sure to look out for that!