Time for Change is Here

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We are hearing a lot lately about sexual violence in the military. Marie Deschamps released a report about the issue.  Julie Lalonde has been in the media after her experience of sexual harassment during a presentation at Royal Military College and then the harassment and death threats she received after going public about the abuse.

The Ottawa Coalition Against Violence Against Women, Sexual Assault Network Ottawa, and Draw The Line wrote an open letter to the Canadian Armed Forces:

Dear Members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF),

We understand that within the last month, you’ve been facing a lot of criticism about a sexual violence in the military. We also understand that your initial reaction to this criticism might be to say, “#NotAllSoldiers.”

Let us be clear: The criticism you are facing is not directed at any one member of the Forces, but rather a culture that permits, excuses, and minimizes the experience of sexual assault and harassment in the military.

You’ve been given an opportunity by Madame Deschamps’s report to challenge and change this culture. Indeed, it is the CAF’s opportunity to go above and beyond the ‘call of duty’ that she laid out in her report. The proven benefits of prevention are founded in its ability to address the normalization and minimization of sexual violence. Through the consistent challenging of sexist attitudes and violent behaviour, a culture which permits sexual violence will be eliminated. Without direct, decisive, and consistent action a culture of violence will continue to thrive. The CAF also needs to take steps to truly believe survivors and provide adequate support when violence does occur. Transformation can only occur by:

1. Calling sexual violence what it is. This is a not “pressing desires,” it is not “biological wiring.” Even the language of “sexual misconduct” minimizes the severity of what we are talking about. Sexual violence is an inexcusable exercise of power which is meant to dehumanize and violate another person’s human rights. Continue reading

#SACHAturns40 with Your Help

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Whoa. We’re celebrating forty years of SACHA tonight.  It’s both super special and unbelievable.

We couldn’t have gotten here or do the work that we do to support survivors and end violence without help and kindness from our community.  Thank you.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us in the last forty years. The survivors who founded the Rape Crisis Centre (Hamilton). The volunteers who answer the Support Line. The folks who plan events and make them run smoothly. The donors who help fund all our programs.

We appreciate you.

There are some specific folks who helped make tonight’s event happen that we’d like to thank as well:

All the details:

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Annual General Meeting

Hear exciting SACHA program highlights and lean about amazing ways that volunteers are enriching SACHA.

When: Thursday June 11, 2015 from 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Where: Hamilton Public Library, 4th Floor – 55 York Boulevard, Hamilton ON

Speaker’s Panel

The World We Want: Feminists Talk will be a discussion between some kick ass intersectional feminists about where we have been, who inspires us, and what we want in the future.

When: Thursday June 11, 2015 from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Where: Hamilton Public Library, 4th Floor – 55 York Boulevard, Hamilton ON

Featuring:

  • Danielle Be – Anishnaabe kwe, an Original woman of Turtle Island, she works everyday to reclaim and re-embody the knowledge and ways of living that were stolen from her through colonialism, patriarchy and capitalism
  • Farrah Khan – Crafty Muslim feminist and anti gender based violence advocate, committed to healing justice
  • Julie S. Lalonde – Ottawa-based public educator and women’s rights advocate
  • Poe Liberado – genderqueer, pansexual, hard femme robot, and chair of Space Between
  • With fabulous moderator Pauline Kajiura  – former SACHA staff and Executive Director of Information Hamilton
  • As well as a performance by the Tuesday Night Choir.

FREE event! All genders welcome.

Join the conversation by using the hastag #SACHAturns40

Accessibility: The library is fully accessible, including washrooms.

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Dance Party

WE WANT TO DANCE!

When: Thursday June 11, 2015 8:00 p.m. until midnight
Where: The Spice Factory – 121 Hughson Street North, Hamilton ON. Come around to the left side of the building.
Cost: Sliding scale – $0-$5. FREE for SACHA volunteers.
Accessibility: The entire event is physically accessible, including washrooms.

Featuring DJ Laura Reid and duo DJs Kristin A/B!

SHARE Program Starts June 10th

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Hamilton has never had a sexual health program only for cis and trans women, until now!

SHARE stands for Sexual Health and Risk Education. This is a program for cis women and trans women who want straightforward support for their sexual health and/or harm-reduction needs.

SHARE intends to create a space that feels safe and comfortable for women to ask questions, share experiences and knowledge. Learning from our peers – peeps we trust – is the best way to spread knowledge and empower each other!

The program will run on every second and fourth Wednesday of the month from 2-4pm in the basement of the YWCA at 75 McNab Street South.

The first session is on June 10th, and will be a conversation about HepC followed by opportunity to connect one-on-one with the fabulous nurse, Sharon.

This non-judgemental and confidential women’s program includes access to:

  • Rapid HIV testing
  • HepC testing
  • Plan B pill and condoms
  • Naloxolone and overdose prevention training
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Harm reduction supplies and information

Rape Culture and the Military – Questions and Answers

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The has been lots of talk the last two weeks about sexual violence and the military. The Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres wrote some answers to common questions that we get asked about rape culture.

What is the big deal about “minor” swearing or sexual jokes? How is this “rape culture”?

Sexual violence cannot be divided from a broader context – one in which the victim-survivor, the violation itself (or threat of it), and the offender exist in a larger system of social norms, values and relations.

Many prevailing or “accepted” societal attitudes justify, tolerate, normalize and minimize sexual violence against women and girls[1]. This phenomenon is referred to as rape culture[2]. But it’s not just about rape: it starts with jokes and minor comments that put another person down in a sexually demeaning way.

Further exacerbating (and reproducing) rape-culture values is the reality that many legal systems in the world function to minimize or ignore acts of sexual violence. This gives the impression that sexual violence is not a big deal. Timely examples of this global reality include the Democratic Republic of Congo, where sexual assault is regularly employed as a means of political and territory weaponry[3]; the history of sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in residential schools in Canada; and the apathy of politicians, police and judiciary towards rape victims in India, as evidenced by epidemic episodes of sexual violence in New Delhi, India[4]. Continue reading