SACHA Broadcast — Feminist Links & Hijinx No. 20

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Hey sports-fans 🙂 Hope y’all had a lovely weekend! Here is your weekly linkage-hijinkage

Oskee-wee-oui or Oskee-we-won’t? Our local Hamilton Ti-Cats played well, but did not come home with the 2013 Grey Cup. Though both teams did an effing fantastic job getting there, as I watched the post-game celebrations, I couldn’t help but be filled with some amount of worry. No, not that our beloved Tiger Cats will never make it back to Grey Cup finals — I’m certain they will! My fear comes from watching the preliminary Grey Cup partying and wondering “With all the boozing and euphoria, will I wake up tomorrow to read another football-related rape story?” I generally try to have more faith, but after cases like Stuebenville, UConn, and Maryville (and even Dalhousie to and extent), … well, I know I’m not the only one to worry a bit.

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public photo via Saskachewan Roughriders Facebook page

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James St. N. and Cannon, Hamilton Spectator file photo

In other local news, this happened last Friday night without much notice. James St. North has been heating up fast, and with 2010’s Great Gentrification Controversy discouraging many from taking part in further conversations, one has to wonder where these rapid developments are taking us and how we’re behaving in response.

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And speaking of gentrification,… well, it’d really be best for you to see for yourself:

I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I don’t pay a thing and a half this week instead of just one thing? It’s not like the sacrifice will result in improved circumstances; the thing holding me back isn’t that I blow five bucks at Wendy’s. It’s that now that I have proven that I am a Poor Person that is all that I am or ever will be. It is not worth it to me to live a bleak life devoid of small pleasures so that one day I can make a single large purchase. I will never have large pleasures to hold on to. There’s a certain pull to live what bits of life you can while there’s money in your pocket, because no matter how responsible you are you will be broke in three days anyway. When you never have enough money it ceases to have meaning. I imagine having a lot of it is the same thing.

Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, Poverty Thoughts by KillerMartinis

KillerMartinis has since posted several astonishing updates to this piece (which floored me, and my tear-filled eyes). They’ve been updating a blog on the regular, and also have a GoFundMe which is also updated with many gripping, captivating realities of the authors experiences.

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“The holidays are coming, …and there’s no chance of escape…”
Catch up with BitchMedia’s latest Popaganda podcast and its intentions for subverting the holidays:

First, we talk with author Sherman Alexie about his take on Thanksgiving. Then, we get advice from the folks behind Adbusters and the Story of Stuff project on celebrating the season without getting caught up in consumerism. From there, we talk with a vegan chef who is transforming America’s most meat-centric holiday, Thanksgiving, into a vegetable feast. To round it all out, Bitch editorial and creative director Andi Zeisler reads an essay about Jewish Christmas.

Listen to POPAGANDA here.
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— compiled enthusiastically by amelia

Fierce. Fabulous. Feminist. No2 Cancelled

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Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel this Sunday’s Fierce. Fabulous. Feminist. pancake breakfast show because of a death in the organizer’s family.

SACHA is really committed to the United Way having a successful campaign as well as having Tansy, Jessah and Griffin play their amazing music.

We plan to reschedule the show in January.

You can follow this blog or SACHA’s Facebook page for updates.

SACHA Broadcast — Feminist Links and Hijinks No.19

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Here it is!  Your weekly mix of feminist internets:

No Homophobes is a website that tracks the use of abusive anti-LGBQT slurs like ‘faggot’ and ‘dyke’ on Twitter.

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Mindy Kaling (from The Office and The Mindy Project) called out the way journalists insult her by thinking that a confident woman of colour who is not skinny is somehow abnormal in our world.  Via Upworthy and United in Colour (Black Feminist Club).

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Carina Kolodny’s Open Letter to Parents of U.S. Teenagers is brilliant in the way that it lists all the ways that by not teaching our kids how to be active in ending rape culture we are supporting rape culture.  Via Jackson Katz.

Remember that intimate conversation you had with your son? The one where you said, “I love you and I need you to know that no matter how a woman dresses or acts, it is not an invitation to cat call, taunt, harass or assault her”?

Or when you told your son, “A woman’s virginity isn’t a prize and sleeping with a woman doesn’t earn you a point”?

How about the heart-to-heart where you lovingly conferred the legal knowledge that “a woman doesn’t have to be fighting you and you don’t have to be pinning her down for it to be RAPE. Intoxication means she can’t legally consent, NOT that she’s an easy score.”

Or maybe you recall sharing my personal favorite, “Your sexual experiences don’t dictate your worth just like a woman’s sexual experiences don’t dictate hers.”

Last but not least, do you remember calling your son out when you discovered he was using the word “slut” liberally? Or when you overheard him talking about some girl from school as if she were more of a conquest than a person?

I want you to consider these conversations and then ask yourself why you don’t remember them. The likely reason is because you didn’t have them. In fact, most parents haven’t had them.

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Have you always been white?  How do you know that you are white?  Naima Lowe asks these questions in her book “39 Questions For White People” to create a discussion about white privilege. Via Colorlines.

The deceptively simple text asks complex questions about race and accountability. Each page of this limited edition, forty-page, loose-leaf book, was hand inked and hand typed at a small collectively run print shop in Olympia, WA. This work started as an experiment based in my curiosity about how whiteness is framed and understood by white people. The work of creating the book became an exercise in turning the emotional labor of racism into tangible physical labor. I was able to turn all that pain into an object, which is incredibly strange, but also incredibly freeing.

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— compiled by erin

Sexual Assault Centres Apply for Intervenor Status in Ancaster Appeal

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In August 2013, a case of sexual assault, highlighted in the Hamilton Spectator and the Toronto Star came to our attention.

We learned that in a civil case, Superior Court Judge Andrew Goodman ordered two sisters from Ancaster, Ont., to pay their uncle $125,000 in libel damages for allegedly “falsely accusing him of sexually assaulting…when they were children”.

Judge Goodman ruled that the sisters’ memories of the incident were “not of the clear and cogent nature”.  He also pointed out that the women “did not file a police report and that criminal charges have not been laid”. As victim-survivor advocates, we note that there are many realistic reasons why victims of crime choose not to report to the police; or why historical memories stand unclear.

The erroneous belief that false allegations of sexual abuse 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. Not surprisingly, some media outlets piled on to regurgitate old notions and anecdotes, aimed at identifying any woman or child who alleges abuse “as delusional, vengeful, exploitative, or an attention-seeker”. Little was said about the realities of sexual assault reporting, and our criminal justice system’s effectiveness in holding offenders accountable.

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) is very concerned about this ruling. It has profound negative implications for survivors of sexual assault everywhere. We have decided to apply as an Intervenor within the context of the Ancaster sisters’ appeal.

What is an Intervenor?
In law, intervention is a procedure to allow a nonparty, called an intervenor, to join an ongoing litigation.  The rationale for intervention is that a judgment in a case may affect the rights of others, who ideally should have the right to be heard.

There are several distinct reasons why someone might wish to intervene in a proceeding. As example:

  • The intervenor represents a group of people who have a direct concern in the legal issues raised in the case, and the implications of a ruling
  • The intervenor is concerned that the court’s decision in a particular case might be so broad as to have additional, even unintended, effects on others

The role of intervenors is to “assist” the court in making a just decision on the dispute at hand.

Why does OCRCC have an interest in intervening in this case?
We can see that the ruling has profoundly negative implications for all survivors of sexual assault.

First, the courts have an important role in supporting victims of crime and this ruling does not ally with the realities affecting survivors of sexual assault. Instead, it draws on (and reproduces) sexual assault myths and misconceptions which harm survivors.

Second, the messaging implicit in the ruling conveys a significant lack of knowledge concerning the impacts and contexts of sexual assault and sexual assault reporting:

  • Many survivors do not report due to stigma, embarrassment, self-blame, a fear of not being believed, and concern for repercussions in their personal relationships – particularly when the offender is a friend, family member, acquaintance or co-worker
  • The majority of sexual assault offenders are in fact known to the victim in some way
  • Acquaintances, friends, dates or relatives are more likely to use tricks, verbal pressure, threats, negative consequences, or victim-blaming rhetoric (i.e. “You know you wanted this”; “If you tell about what happened here, you will be in trouble”) during episodes of sexual coercion. This inevitable impacts upon a survivor’s capacity to resist or report what happened
  • Too often, a “victims’ apparent lack of resistance becomes the focus of assessment and intervention”. The ruling supports this problematic approach to understanding and substantiating sexual violence
  • False allegations of sexual assault are not a common social problem. What is a common social problem is:
  1. the reality that survivors of sexual assault are regularly not believed or supported when they disclose their experiences of violation and
  2. offenders are not held accountable for their actions. In reality, the majority of all reported sexual assault cases are simply not reported at all – and those that are reported are 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 conviction

Last, this ruling will have very negative and precedent-setting implications for survivors of sexual violence who choose to talk about their experience of violation. Now – in addition to the myriad other implications of telling their stories – survivors will face the real threat of being sued for libel by their offenders. We believe this will particularly affect the reporting of sexual assault to police.

What will happen next?
OCRCC has secured legal representation. We will apply to intervene in support of the appeal of this case. The court will decide whether or not to allow us to intervene.

An experienced lawyer has offered pro bono support to us at $5,000. She will support our application to intervene, as well as the intervention itself, should the court approve. During the intervention process, OCRCC will articulate the above information in the context of the case.

What else do I need to know?
OCRCC represents a network of 25 sexual assault centres from all across Ontario. OCRCC is funded through membership fees only, and a few other small project grants. As such, we have a very modest funding base.

Most of us are affected by sexual violence at some point in our lifetime: perhaps our sister, mother, partner, friend, co-worker or wife is a survivor of sexual violence, or perhaps you have personally been affected by sexual violence. In this, sexual violence affects all our communities.

We are relying on the support of the community to assist us in raising the $5000 incurred in legal fees related to this case.

If you want to support OCRCC’s efforts, you can do so by going to:
https://www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?charityID=s32280 and clicking on `Donate Now`. Any amount will make a difference. Please circulate this
to other allies who you think may also support this case too!

This is  one way that you can make a difference for survivors of sexual violence right now.

I want to more information. Who can I contact?
You can contact Nicole Pietsch, OCRCC Coordinator:

  • By phone at 905-299-4429
  • Via email at ocrcccoordinator@hotmail.com.

Making SACHA More Beautiful

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Team Members from Home Depot’s Ancaster location have been working all day to make SACHA’s space look even more beautiful.

This is just the first phase in our painting, but you can see a big change already!

Here are some before photos:

And here are some photos of all their hard work of painting today:

BIG HUGE thank yous to Behr for donating the paint and to the folks from Home Depot Ancaster who donated their time and skills to SACHA!

Home Depot team members are planning on returning to SACHA on January 24th to finish the painting!

If you would like to help SACHA in supporting survivors and working to end violence please become a monthly donor.

SACHA Gets a Fresh Look

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On Thursday staff from Home Depot Ancaster will be giving SACHA a new coat of paint!

We have been working this year to make our space more lovely and welcoming to survivors.  We make decisions about how to spend money really really carefully and most of the time money goes towards programs and services that directly support survivors.

But as Lenore describes in this blog post, “We believe survivors of violence need a safe, welcoming and not gross space to come for counselling and support.  It was time to act.”

Survivors who come to SACHA deserve a beautiful warm space to meet with a counsellor.

We are very thankful for the donation of paint from Behr and Team Home Depot from Ancaster and for their time and painting skills of the workers will be committing to make SACHA space more beautiful.

Painting SACHA’s space is a pretty big job which will be split into three visits.  This Thursday the sewing circle room, group room, waiting room, public education office and main hallway will get a new coat of paint.

Here’s some photos of what these spaces look like now.  Check back soon for some updates of what the rooms look like with their new paint jobs!

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SACHA’s waiting room

SACHA's main hallway

SACHA’s main hallway

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SACHA’s kitchen

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SACHA’s group room

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SACHA’s group room

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SACHA’s group room

The women at Sewing Circle have already prepared the room for painting!

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SACHA’s group room

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SACHA’s sewing room

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SACHA’s public education office

If you would like to help SACHA in supporting survivors and working to end violence please become a monthly donor.

Fierce. Fabulous. Feminist. No2

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……pancake breakfast with music from women-identified/gender non-conforming folks……

FFF2---November-24,-2013FEATURING:

Griffin Epstein (Toronto) – acoustic sing-alongs with imaginary orchestration. Griffin will be playing a solo show, but you can listen to their full band, The True Believers, here – http://griffinandthetruebelievers.bandcamp.com/album/apostrophe-catastrophe

Jessah (Hamilton)

Tanacetum Vulgare (Hamilton) – acoustic jazz-inspired folk, heartwarming and heartwrenching songs that deal with difficult emotions. http://tanacetumvulgare.bandcamp.com/

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When: Sunday, November 24th – Pancake breakfast @ 10am. Music @ 11am!

Where: Homegrown Hamilton. 27 King William Street, Hamilton ON

Cost: $10 Pay What You Can. NO ONE TURNED AWAY!

Accessibility: Homegrown Hamilton’s space is accessible but the washrooms are a bit small.

Who: People of all genders and all ages are invited.

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/476071739179055/?notif_t=plan_user_joined

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Presented by SACHA as a FUNdraiser for United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton.