Feminist Pets Support TBTN

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Even more feminist pets!

TBTN t-shirts, buttons and patches are available at SACHA’s office.

Send us your photos of the animals in your life with TBTN gear!

SACHA at Hamilton’s Labour Day Parade!

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SACHA is proud to march in Hamilton’s Labour Day Parade.

We will be marching with our allies and supporters from the Public Service Alliance Canada.  Check out their awesome post on Labour Day:

We have another definition of fairness around here. It says that medicare and pensions should be available to all as a right of citizenship. It says that we have an obligation to raise living standards, wages and improve job security.

The link between women’s rights and workers’ rights is really really clear.

SACHA staff, volunteers and supports will be there with the SACHA banner, flyers about women in the workplace and lots of information about Take Back the Night!

Here’s some photos documenting the fabulous time we had last year!

We’ll see you on Monday at Dundurn Park!

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres Responds to Ancaster Sisters Being Sued

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For over 35 years, the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) has been working in the province and across Canada to address and end sexual violence in our communities.

The OCRCC was formed in the mid-1970s as a communication network for Rape Crisis/Sexual Assault Centres. It provides information sharing in policy stances, funding and lobbying efforts for centres, and acts as an advisory body to governments, community groups and other organizations.

Yesterday, we found out that two Ancaster sisters are being sued for libel for alleging that their uncle sexually assaulted them.  This is OCRCC response.

Superior Court judge Andrew Goodman’s ruling – in which he ordered two Ancaster sisters to pay their uncle $125,000 in libel damages after they accused him of sexually assaulting them as children – belies the fact that those alleging sexual violence continue to be held to more stringent account than are their alleged offenders.

Judge Goodman dismissed the claim because the sisters’ memories of the incident were “not of the clear and cogent nature required” to substantiate the allegations.  It was also noted that the women “did not file a police report and that criminal charges have not been laid”.

As an adult, I can think of a hundred reasons why a childhood memory, particularly a traumatic one, might be unclear.  As a victim’s advocate who has spent many years supporting women and men in sharing their stories of childhood sexual violence, I can also think of a hundred reasons why a person might choose not to report to the police.  Unfortunately these details and others, as presented in Judge Goodman’s ruling, instead work to reproduce old victim-blaming rhetoric.

The erroneous belief that false allegations of sexual abuse – including malicious allegations levelled at a person that one simply “did not like” – are commonplace lurks, unspoken, beneath Goodman’s verdict.  It echoes other myths about sexual assault, which posit that innocent men are often accused of sexual assault and women lie about it to get revenge, for their own benefit, or because they feel guilty about having sex.1

In reality, the majority of all reported sexual assault cases are simply not resolved through the criminal justice system. According to Statistics Canada, only 6% of all sexual assaults are reported to police (a lower stat than in other crimes). Of the 6% of sexual assaults that are reported, only 40% result in charges being laid; and of those cases where charges are laid, just two-thirds result in conviction2 .  Is this because most of these reports are false?  No.  Instead, the fact of the matter is that sexual assault is difficult to prove in justice systems3 .  When we consider that the majority of sexual assault offenders are known to the victim in some way4 – and that acquaintances, dates or relatives are more likely to use verbal pressure, threats, or mild force during episodes of assault – is it any wonder that physical evidence of sexual assault is difficult to retain5 ?

And based on the above statistics, how many of those who report sexual assault could now expect a libel suits as a realistic consequence to their coming forward?  The answer is: most.

Sexual assault myths continue to be ever-present and used against victims within the Canadian criminal justice system.  Offenders and defense attorneys commonly take up the alibi that a sexual encounter was consensual; or – like Goodman’s ruling – construct the “victim as delusional, vengeful, exploitative, or an attention-seeker”6 .  Given the important role of the courts in supporting victims of crime, I suggest that judgements should not rest solely upon scrutinizing the victim. This discourages survivors of sexual violence from coming forward and takes the onus off of offenders everywhere.

Further, if Canadian justice systems do not consciously work to recognize the realities of child sexual abuse – and the great courage it takes for survivors to come forward – sexual violence will continue to go unchallenged.

Nicole Pietsch, Coordinator, Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres

www.sexualassaulsupport.ca

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[1] Sexual Assault centre Kingston. Busting Myths. Online: http://www.sackingston.com/Default.aspx?pageId=857971;

And The Learning Network. Overcoming Barriers and Enhancing Supportive Responses: The Research on Sexual Violence Against Women A Resource Document. May 2012: 14.

[2] http://www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/owd/english/publications/sexual-assault/reporting.htm

[3] Ibid

[4] Statistics Canada, 2003, The Daily, 25 July

[5] Hakvag, H. Does Yes Mean Yes?: Exploring Sexual Coercion in Normative Heterosexuality. Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme. Volume 28, Number 1. York University Publication: 122

[6] The Learning Network. Overcoming Barriers and Enhancing Supportive Responses: The Research on Sexual Violence Against Women A Resource Document. May 2012: 17.

Good Shepherd’s Take Back the Night Solidarity Event

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Join Good Shepherd for a Solidarity Sign Making Party in preparation for Take Back the Night!

When:  Tuesday, September 10th from 4:30-6:30pm
Where:  Good Shepherd Community Support Services for Women and Children,
30 Pearl Street N in the Wellness Room

All Woman Identified folks and children welcome!

See you there for some super sign making fun and some scrumptious snacks.

Check out the signs from last year’s party here.

SACHA Broadcast — Feminist Links & Hijinks No. 8

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Hey there SACHA pals, check out this week’s great big broadcast:

My friend Tings invited me up to TO last week for this event. Though I couldn’t make it, I later read this and felt moved by her efforts and the work she and her friends have put into these sorts of actions and outcry’s:

Dozens of volunteers in a makeshift ship take over Yonge Street in Toronto.

Human Art Installation Critiques Race and Immigration in Canada

Volunteers staged a “mass arrival” of white-skinned settlers to challenge Canada’s legacy of colonialism.

“This action made me think about the process of colonialism and genocide,” said volunteer Meagan Gohnston. She believes the legacy of European settlement and the brutal treatment of Native people at the hands of colonialists still shapes Canadians’ views on immigration. “How come one group is seen to have a legitimate claim to this land, but others don’t?”

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Academy-aware winner Tilda Swinton recently shared her opinions about Russia’s anti-gay legislations as seen in this photo:

“…Swinton could face a jail sentence of 15 days and deportation for simply posing with a rainbow flag in public according to the new law.”

The newly adopted antigay legislation also states any individual using mass media or the Internet to share information about LGBT identities can be subject to fines up to 100,000 rubles ($3,050 USD), while officials are subject to fines twice that amount, and legal entities face a 1 million ruble fine or 90-day suspension for discussing LGBT people.

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If you’ve noticed the wicked upsurge of Men’s Rights Activist groups (MRA’s) and felt as disgusted and disheartened as I have, you might like this little article. Here’s a quote. Warning though: the comments, as one will predict, are horrendous.

Somehow, it is still hard to talk to men about sexism without meeting a wall of defensiveness that shades into outright hostility, even violence. Anger is an entirely appropriate response to learning that you’re implicated in a system that oppresses women – but the solution isn’t to direct that anger back at women. The solution isn’t to shut down debate by accusing us of “reverse sexism”, as if that will somehow balance out the problem and stop you feeling so uncomfortable.

Sexism should be uncomfortable. It is painful and enraging to be on the receiving end of misogynist attacks and it is also painful to watch them happen and to know that you’re implicated, even though you never chose to be. You’re supposed to react when you’re told that a group you are a member of is actively screwing over other human beings, in the same way that you’re supposed to react when a doctor hammers your knee to test your nerves. If it doesn’t move, something is horribly wrong.

— the great Laurie Penney, Of course all men don’t hate women. But all men must know they benefit from sexism, from newstatesman.com

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Oh, by the way — Cats against Cat Calling. Yep, it’s a thing. Whoop!!

(via The Ultimate Feminist Playlist)

For a variety of theme songs on the topic, riotgrrrlberlin.tumblr.com has set us up a webpage. To check out the music, direct yourselves to the bright yellow box near the bottom of their page. Don’t forget to read about how to learn more about the bands and the music. This is the 6th compilation they’ve made and as always, the riot grrrl scene can not live on if no one talks about it. Share it with a friend ❤

— Compiled by Amelia, who, one day, will learn how to use her twitter account

Hammer City Roller Girls Demand a World Without Violence

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Hammer City Roller Girls let us know how they demand a world without violence at their last practice!

Thanks to Murder She Rolled for collecting all the photos!

Find out more about your local roller derby skater here.

Let us know how you demand a world without violence.  Send a photo of your message to erin@sacha.ca and we will include it on the blog and SACHA’s Facebook page.