Sonya Strohm is a Project Facilitator for Draw-the-Line campaign at the Newcomer Centre of Peel. She is also a doctoral student in Family Relations and Human Development at University of Guelph.
As Sexual Assault Prevention Month comes to a close, it’s important that we remember to continue to engage in a dialogue about sexual violence. What can help us to do that? Draw-The-Line.ca
Draw the Line is a province-wide campaign created by Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOCVF) and the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC). Launched as part of Sexual Assault Prevention Month in May 2012, at the Draw The Line website people can place themselves in six different scenarios of sexual violence and choose how to respond.
Take, for example, the scenario where a friend sends you a naked picture of a girl he knows. Posing questions such as, Is it a big deal to share it with others?, the campaign aims to help people understand why it is important to draw the line on sexual violence, when to do so, and how to intervene safely and effectively.
Efforts are currently underway at a number of organizations across Ontario to expand the initial Draw the Line campaign. This includes outreach, translation of campaign posters and postcards into multiple languages, and the creation of new resources to address the range of sexual violence issues that exist in different communities (e.g., Aboriginal, elderly, ethno-cultural, immigrant & refugee, LGBT, women with disabilities).
At Newcomer Centre of Peel in Mississauga, outreach has targeted newcomer youth who take part in their Community Connections Youth programming. On May 10th, an event was organized around the above scenario, and allowed youth to contemplate whether or not it is a big deal to share a naked photo with others. This question sparked a two hour discussion that was facilitated by youth mentors, and that addressed issues such as consent, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, online sexual harassment, and the possession and distribution of child pornography. Youth were also able to share and learn about ways that they could “draw the line” – for example, by deleting the photo and refusing to send it to others, calling a friend out, or reporting it to a trusted adult or authority figure.
Draw-the-Line campaign materials, including posters, post cards and a guidebook are available on the website free of charge.