Lenore Lukasik-Foss, Woman of Distinction

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sacha women of distinction

SACHA’s Women of Distinction! From left to right: Diane – SACHA Staff, Diana – SACHA Volunteer and nominee for a Young Woman of Distinction Award, Myriam – SACHA Staff and winner of Volunteer Award, Htee – SACHA Staff, Lenore – SACHA Staff and winner of Community Development and Social Inclusion Award

Lenore Lukasik-Foss – SACHA’s Director – is a proud feminist who recently was awarded a Woman of Distinction award.

Here is the words she shared on the night of the ceremony:

Good evening and thank you. I am so deeply honoured to accept this award tonight and really overwhelmed. I want to acknowledge Rae Pemberton and Tara Coffin Simpson – my co-nominees: who are Women of Distinction. I also want to thank my amazing colleague Katherine Kalinowski for nominating me, all the awesome women who supported my nomination, my amazing family (many whom are here tonight) and to the YWCA for organizing this event.

I have been so privileged to do work that I love alongside passionate, dedicated people – first at Good Shepherd Centres, now at the Sexual Assault Centre.

Right now we are experiencing an amazing moment in our efforts to end violence against women. Even a few years ago, people would politely back away from me at parties when they heard that I work at the Sexual Assault Centre or found out I am a proud feminist. Continue reading

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Review – How to Talk to Kids About Consent

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By MF Miller

There are so many things to rave about in “How To Talk To Kids About Consent,” the mini-webinar by sex educator, Nadine Thornhill.

It offers a great introduction to approaching the issue of consent with children of varying ages while also highlighting some of the barriers around sex in our society. She identifies various stereotypes and obstacles currently hindering the idea of consent and gives great examples of how to approach these with children and teens.

Thornhill is a fresh, fun and approachable speaker. She makes the subject matter easily relatable and never talks down to the viewer. It feels very comfortable from the very beginning and her presentation style is clear and easy to follow. Continue reading

SACHA’s Open House – May 21st

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open house plantsSACHA is celebrating 40 years of working to end sexual violence in Hamilton!

Come meet the fabulous SACHA staff and volunteers and see our newly renovated space.

When: Thursday, May 21st from 2-6pm
Where: 75 MacNab Street South – 3rd Floor

For more information about all of our fabulous 40th Anniversary events visit sacha.ca

Were you involved in SACHA in the early years – 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s?

Did you come to SACHA for support? Did you volunteer or work at SACHA? Did you come to a SACHA event like International Women’s Day or Take Back the Night?

Please contact us! We would love to hear your story – sacha@sacha.ca.

Accessibility:
SACHA’s space is accessible, including washrooms. 

Parking: 
Parking is limited near SACHA’s office. There is paid parking in the City Hall parking lot, metered parking on Hunter and Jackson Streets, and three hour free parking around Bold and Duke Streets. SACHA is very close to the MacNab Street Bus Terminal.

Questions and More Information:
Contact SACHA – 905.525.4573

Interview with Nadine Thornhill – Your Friendly Neighbouhood Sex Educator

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By MF Miller

Nadine Thornhill is a sex educator and therapist currently based in Toronto, Canada. She offers parent coaching and various sex ed workshops for teachers, parents, and youth. You can find her first mini-webinar, “How to Talk To Kids About Consent” here.

Nadine fabulously live tweeted her reading of Ontario’s new sexual health curriculum which you can read here.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you end up a sex educator and what compelled you to focus on kids/parents/educators? Was there a pivotal moment for you?

Sex education sort of found me. I was an actor/playwright in search of a day job. When I discovered Venus Envy – my favourite local sex shop – was hiring, I thought it would be a fun way to earn extra cash between theatre gigs and maybe get a discount on vibrators. I got the job and in addition to the retail work, I began facilitating some of VE’s evening workshops and loved it! Continue reading

Survivor Rising

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by Jennifer Fleming

My name is Jennifer and I am a rising survivor of childhood sexual abuse.  I am riding 260km along the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail, from Hamilton ON to Presqu’Ile Point Provincial Park in Brighton ON, to raise money for SACHA.  My goal is to raise $500.00 for their excellent community services.

My story is simple; I suffered most of my life with a seeming inability to trust, get close to people, or feel good about myself.  I believed all the worst things about me, and I believed the world was a dangerous place to be.  I learned to survive by hiding, pushing people away and carrying the burden of my shame alone.  It felt safer that way… Until it didn’t anymore.

Four years ago I made a decision to deal with the pain and fear.  It was a hard decision and much of it has felt like recovery from frost bite; there’s an awareness that something is numb, a part that feels dumb and useless and barely alive.  As life and feeling are brought back, so comes the pain of all that I refused to feel before.  Healing hurt.  Healing hurt a lot. Continue reading

“I have a friend who has a sister who…”

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It’s hard to watch friends struggle with domestic or sexual violence. Folks supporting survivors can call SACHA’s 24 Hour Support Line – 905.525.4162.

Can You Relate?

Photo by Justin Jensen Photo by Justin Jensen

I used to do a lot of domestic violence trainings. In fact, someday I’ll tell you the story of when I did 36 trainings when I was pregnant and barfing. But recently I have been training again. And I remembered something. At some point, without fail, a participant will come up to me with some version of this question: “I have a friend who has a sister who has been in a domestic violence situation for years and my friend just doesn’t know how to help her. They’ve tried everything but she just won’t leave and everyone is worried about her and her kids’ safety and it is just a mess. What can they do?”

Every time my heart breaks. Again. My heart breaks for the asker, the sister, the survivor, the kids, the abuser. All of us. And I wish I had a better answer. But…

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Romita Sur, Woman of Distinction

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Romita is a 4th year social work and political science student. She is an intersectional feminist and believes that solidarity within community is important to bring about change.  Romita is the faciliator of McMaster University’s United in Colour , a support and advocacy group for students of colour that uses a Black Feminist framework.

On Thursday, Romita was awarded a Women of Distinction award and she shared some of her thoughts about what it is to be a woman of distinction.

Being a Woman of Distinction is overwhelming, exciting, and surreal.

I would like to thank my family, friends, professors, supervisors, and all the women I have worked with who have supported and encouraged me.  I could not have done this without all of you.

I would like to thank my friends Zaynab and Sabeen, my professor Saara Greene, and my mentor Lisa Watt for believing in me in being able to be a leader in my community.

In my family, my grandparents and parents always say “We live in a society that tells women that they are not good or capable enough for certain jobs or opportunities, but when women support each other and believe in themselves, there is nothing stopping them for going for their dreams”. Being a Woman of Distinction means just this.

Although I was involved with social justice groups at my university, my passion for positive change in the Hamilton community began when I started my placement at Jared’s Place and supported women through the legal process in leaving abusive situations.

This made me reflect on my own community at McMaster which encouraged me to speak up and do something about it through leading United in Colour and having mine and other women of colour voices’ heard in violence against women working groups and anti-oppressive committees, so that the policies and changes created for us are in collaboration with us.