SACHA is Hiring a Director

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SACHA is looking for a fabulous intersectional feminist to work with us as our Director.

Come work at a vibrant modified collective where we live and work our values. Plus our potlucks are legendary.

JOB POSTING – Director

Salary: $67,375, plus competitve benefits package

SACHA, the Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton and Area) is seeking an exceptional woman or non-binary leader to fill the position of Director. The new Director would be leading a committed group of staff and volunteers, who bring years of dedication to providing supports to people who have experienced sexualized violence at any point in their lives. We operate as a modified collective and work to end violence and oppression through education, advocacy, outreach, coalition building, community partnerships, and activism. The Director will ensure that processes and structures are in place for effective Centre management. They will provide leadership in meeting SACHA’s Mission through the development and management of goals, policies and programs.

The incumbent will possess the following qualifications:

  • Five-years senior leadership experience in a feminist organization or social service agency or equivalent combination of education and experience;
  • A well-developed intersectional, feminist analysis of sexualized violence;
  • A strong commitment to building an inclusive and accessible organization;
  • Skills in the facilitation of organizational change and community engagement;
  • Strong supervisory and problem-solving skills;
  • Knowledge of front-line survivor issues, counselling, and public education;
  • Strong administrative, communication and public education skills including social media;
  • Strong knowledge of financial management skills including working with budgets, financial statements, grant proposal writing and fundraising.

Please send letter and resume by Friday October 5, 2018 to:
SACHA Hiring Committee
sacha@sacha.ca

No phone calls or emails please.

As part of SACHA’s work against racism and other oppressions, we strive to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. Woman identified and non-binary persons, who are Indigenous, immigrant, refugee, lesbian, bi-sexual, pan sexual, 2 Spirit, queer, racialized, with disAbilities, and/or who experience any other oppressions are encouraged to apply. Working knowledge of multiple languages an asset.

 

 

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Go Rogue! Workshop Series

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Go_rogue_series
The new Ontario government has decided that our province’s young people don’t need to learn essential information on safer sex, consent, gender identity, residential schools and truth and reconciliation, and more.

We disagree.

speqtrum has teamed up with SACHA, The Aids Network, YWCA Hamilton, and North Hamilton Community Health Centre to bring YOU the information that your school WON’T.

When: 6-8pm
Where:
YWCA Senior’s Centre – 75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton ON

Rogue workshops are open to ALL youth 16-29*.

Accessibility:

Gendered washrooms will be converted to all gender in the Senior’s Centre, and there are single non-gendered accessible washrooms on the first floor and basement of the YWCA.

The space is physically accessible. Fidget toys available. Please let us know if you have any access needs.

*We won’t be carding folks at the door.

August 8th – Consent

The new changes to sex education in Ontario makes it so youth are not going to be taught about gender identity, same sex marriage, consent, online violence, and much more.

This SACHA workshop for youth aged 16-29* will help participants get the facts about consent, sexual assault, and bystander intervention.

Let us know you’re coming by filling out this form – https://consent.brownpapertickets.com/

August 15th – Safer Sex

Let’s talk about (Queer Inclusive Safer) Sex!

Join Eno and Eddy from The Aids Network to talk about all kinds of sex, safety, and sexuality as part of our Rogue Workshop Series.

August 22nd – Truth and Reconcilitation

Learn the TRUTH about Canadian residential schools and reconciliation.

Laura Kooji, local two-spirit activist, will bring some real talk on what Truth and Reconciliation means, and how we, as young people, can participate in that process.

August 29th – Youth Action Planning

Calling all queer, trans, and two-spirit youth, and our allies to join us in planning for ACTION to make sure this generation and generations to come receive clear and essential education on gender, sexuality, and consent.

The first hour will be led by Mela from NHCHC, who will compare and contrast the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum with the ancient 1998 curriculum that will be reinstated this fall.

The second hour, facilitated by Jyss from speqtrum, will focus on developing a plan of action to ensure our peers receive the education they need and deserve.

Three Reasons Sexual Assault Centres Support Sex Ed

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This September, Ontario will revert to an outdated 1998 sex-ed curriculum. Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) believes that this shift will adversely impact Ontario’s young people.

Providing comprehensive sex-ed is first and foremost “about making sure that young people receive the information they need and are entitled to in order to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives”. With the repealing of the 2015 sex-ed curriculum, Ontario youth will miss out on the following vital content:

I. Education which fosters the prevention of sexual violence

Ontario’s 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum includes information about equitable and safe relationships, consent, sexual violence and online violence that young people need today. This is particularly important because we know that young populations are at a high statistical risk of experiencing sexual violence. For example:

  • In a Canadian criminal justice report, males made up 29% of child victims and 12% of youth victims¹. For males, being under 12 years old heightens their vulnerability to being targeted for sexual offences²
  • Young women between the ages of 15 and 25 years in Canada are the age group most likely to experience sexual or relationship violence³
  • Young women from excluded groups are more vulnerable to being targeted for sexual harassment and sexual assault4. This includes women of colour, disabled women, intersex, queer, trans, and Two Spirit women.

Education on sexual violence goes a long way towards prevention. Education offers innovative ways to challenge sexual assault myths and victim-blaming; and to reach out to diverse and young populations to talk about things that they may not be having conversations about at home. Education on sexual violence contributes to the prevention of sexual assault by:

  • supporting young people to understand their rights. By being prepared to offer information about sexual violence, educators help equip young people with a clear understanding of their bodies, their rights and where to go should they ever need support.
  • identifying the continuum of sexual violence (from harassment to rape)
  • supporting young people to challenge sexual assault myths
  • knowing the laws concerning sexual assault and consent

Education can also help others learn how to respond to survivors who disclose their experiences, and direct them to helpful supports in the community. Research indicates that many survivors wish to talk about their experiences, but fear the reactions of others. When survivors receive a positive response from their disclosures, the benefits of talking about one’s experience of sexual violence are in fact “associated with improved psychological health, increased comfort, support, and validation, and desired outcomes such as penalizing the perpetrator and protecting others”5. Other research shows that young survivors are most likely to disclose to a peer, family member or someone with whom they have a prior trusting relationship (that is, not necessarily to a social worker or other professional)6.

For these reasons alone, it’s important to talk with young people about sexual violence in the very spaces in which they spend much of their time – including at school. Continue reading

WAWG’s Response to Jordan Peterson

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The Woman Abuse Working Group (WAWG) is a coalition of more than twenty
agencies in Hamilton, Ontario working to end violence against women and their
children.

WAWG is writing to express our concerns about FirstOntario Concert Hall hosting
Jordan Peterson on July 20th, 2018.

Jordan Peterson presents a point of view that poses a risk to transgender and nonbinary
people, LGBQ2S communities, women, and racialized groups. Peterson has
publicly expressed that he doesn’t acknowledge the human rights of transgender and
non-binary people. Peterson is also on record rationalizing and justifying genderbased
murders: for example, when a man drove a van along Yonge, Peterson said,
“He was angry at God because women were rejecting him. The cure for that is
enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.” Further examples
that demonstrate his concerning viewpoints are readily available in the media.

We support the public position of Councillor Matthew Green who has reservations
about Peterson addressing our Hamilton community. He states “It will bring
attention to the city. I don’t think it’s the type of attention or the type of activities
that bolster the reputation and brand we are trying to build here in the city.”
Additionally, as recently as a week ago, Durham City Council issued a statement
calling on the Durham community “to reject and resist bigotry wherever we
encounter it” in response to Peterson performing at the Durham Performing Arts
Centre. The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton also opted to cancel Peterson’s event in
February 2018.

While we don’t want to undermine anyone’s freedom of speech, it’s essential to
consider how Peterson’s messages promote hate and bigotry.

OCCRC’s Response to the Ontario Election

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The Province of Ontario elected a Progressive Conservative, government on June 7, 2018.

At Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC), we have appreciated the significant work of the previous Ontario government’s It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan on Sexual Violence and Harassment, and its leadership in the Action Plan’s implementation, including the Premier’s Provincial Roundtable on Violence Against Women.

We also recently saw the launch of the Ontario Gender-Based Violence Strategy, which would directly increase funding to sexual violence support services in Ontario. The Ministry of Status of Women’s work, under the Ontario Liberal Party, made brave and effective efforts to raise awareness around sexual violence, improve support for victims, improve prevention education, and introduce policy that improved system response to survivors. In the time of #MeToo and #TimesUp, this work was timely —and in our opinion, unprecedented in our government.

We value the Province’s commitment to address gender-based violence, its prevalence, and the challenges facing survivors of violence. We hope this work continues – as many will agree, much more work still needs to be done.

OCRCC hopes to work with our new government to further this important cause. While change can be challenging, there can also be opportunities.

Here’s what we commit to do:

OCRCC will continue to speak up with and for survivors of sexual violence, address victim-blaming myths, and reduce stigma for those who have been sexually violated. We will also continue to speak up for women’s rights, including women and girls’ right to live free from violence, and for the rights of all marginalized and equity-seeking groups.

Be part of this work. Here’s what you can do:

1. Continue believing survivors of sexual violence in your communities.
2. Help connect survivors and those that care about them to sexual violence supports near you.
3. Advocate for government investment and support in community sexual assault support services.
4. Stand up for those who experience stigma and discrimination on the basis of their gender identity, sexual orientation, sex, gender, race, age, ethnicity, religion, and other factors.
5. Join and support organizations, movements and groups advocating for an end to sexual violence.

Together, we will make a difference.

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) is a network of community-based sexual assault centres/rape crisis centres across Ontario. Sexual assault centres deliver free and confidential crisis, advocacy and ongoing support to survivors of sexual violence throughout all of Ontario. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, please go to http://www.sexualassaultsupport.ca.

Sexual Assault Centres Addressing Human Trafficking in Ontario

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By the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres

The sexual exploitation of persons through human trafficking is a crime that disproportionately affects women and girls. Marginalized and exploited populations of women – for example, youth, Aboriginal women and girls, and women with limited or no status in Canada – are most vulnerable to being targeted. Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan identifies that there is a “need for a more coordinated response to human trafficking”; further, a number of different sectors need to be involved “in order to assist victims with everything from safe housing to navigating immigration processes”.

We also recognized the importance of a collaborative approach to human trafficking. As sexual assault centres, we shared concerns on how to do collaborative work effectively in our own communities and across multiple sectors while maintaining a feminist anti-oppression and intersectional approach to the work.

Sexual Assault Centres in Ontario: Competencies in Addressing Human Trafficking

While all Ontario sexual assault centres support sexual violence survivors and share similarities in their programs and services, centres across the province are autonomous. Sexual Assault Centre staff and volunteers engaged in this work, however, all agree that sexual violence against women and children is power-based, gender-based, structurally supported and therefore political.

Violence includes the human trafficking of women. Particularly, sexual assault centres are interested in supporting women and girls who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. A recent report from the U.N. crime-fighting office noted that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time, and 80 percent of them are being exploited sexually2.

In many ways, Sexual Assault Centres are well-positioned to address human trafficking in Ontario.

Sexual Assault Centres transferable competencies include the following:

  1. Centres are committed to respond to all survivors of sexual violence with whom they come into contact, including women experiencing sexual violence in the context of human trafficking.
  2. Centres have considerable and longstanding expertise in working with women surviving sexual violence from a trauma-informed, anti-oppression, intersectional framework.
  3. Centres understand that different women experience sexual violence differently. For example, a woman’s race, religion, socioeconomic status, age or sexual identity affects her level of risk for being targeted for acts of violence, as well as resources accessible to her in her healing from violence. This framework for support acknowledges that different women present different confidentiality, safety, shelter and access needs, and compels Sexual Assault Centres to respond to these needs.
  4. Feminist counselling approaches used at Sexual Assault centres include “the ability of workers to assert and reinforce boundaries in ways that do not exploit power differences between clients and staff…and the ability of workers to apply ongoing critical analyses of larger societal systems and institutions”¹.
  5. Centres have historically exercised the capacity, motivation and resourcefulness to support survivors of sexual violence who choose not to engage with the criminal justice system as a means of resolving their experience of violation. Sexual Assault Centre workers instead agree that mandatory reporting to police can promote overreliance on a current legal system which (1) does not effectively resolve most reported sexual assault cases, and (2) can alienate or outright prohibit access to support for marginalized populations of survivors², including survivors who are in conflict with the law. While it is important that sexual assault survivors have access to the legal system, women also need alternatives. This position can be very useful to survivors of human trafficking, who may elect not to engage with the criminal justice system, may face barriers, or may feel ambivalent about accessing the criminal justice system. Currently, many human trafficking initiatives in Ontario have a strong criminal justice focus; or prioritize the prosecution of traffickers ahead of support for trafficking survivors. In this, Sexual Assault Centres bring increased capacity to community work with survivors who choose not to report.
  6. Centres continue to exercise the capacity and motivation to advocate for women survivors individually (that is, on a case by case basis) and systemically.
  7. Centres have the capacity, motivation and expertise to challenge policy criteria (i.e. criteria for admission into a women’s shelter, to acquire Special Priority on housing listings, to apply for Ontario Works) meant to support women experiencing violence in their regions. Women who are trafficked often do not meet these criteria due to lack of documentation or identification. Motivated and experienced advocates, such as Sexual Assault centre staff, can support women in challenging outdated policy/criteria and achieving these supports.
  8. Centres agree that “survivors are at the centre of the work”3, and that this framework for supporting survivors of violence can be extended to developing specific supports for trafficked women. Support, in this context, includes activities and services facilitated by sexual assault centres, as well as larger lobbying action for legal and systemic changes that support survivors of trafficking. Sexual Assault Centres acknowledge that survivors of sexual violence “know from experience…where the gaps and traps are in systems and policies”4. In this, Centres are interested in understanding the needs of trafficked women and creating regional responses that address these needs.

Whether a Centre currently has direct experience supporting survivors of human trafficking in your region or not, it likely identifies with the above competencies and operationalizes them within its services for survivors of sexual violence.

These competencies are all applicable to ─ and useful in ─ addressing the needs of human trafficking survivors in Ontario. Continue reading

Mental Health, Youth and Sexual Violence: An FAQ

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By Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, White Ribbon Campaign, and OPHEA

What is mental health, and why is it especially important to young people?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a “state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. Mental health problems can include panic and anxiety, depression and other mood problems, psychosis, eating problems and other emotional, coping or addiction problems.

It is estimated that around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents have mental health problems. About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14. Without support, mental health problems can have a significant impact on a young person’s ability to engage with and succeed in their studies: “young people with mental health disorders are at great risk for dropping out of school”. As they grow older, additional challenges can accumulate, with “diminished career options arising from leaving school prematurely” and an overall “effect on productivity” and well-being.

Challenges also exist in providing helpful responses to young people dealing with mental health problems. Children’s Mental Health Ontario shares, for example, that:

  • 28% of students report not knowing where to turn when they wanted to talk to someone about mental health¹
  • Black youth are significantly under-represented in mental health and treatment-oriented services and over represented in containment-focused facilities²
  • First Nations youth die by suicide about 5 to 6 times more often than non-Aboriginal youth
  • LGBTQ youth face approximately 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse than their heterosexual peers.

Continue reading