TBTN Interview: Cole Gately


Take Back the Night, an annual event organized by SACHA, is a powerful opportunity for survivors and their supporters to actively build connections, assertively reclaim our right to safety, and courageously stand up against violence.

TBTN centers the experiences of women and gender non-conforming folks. We invite men to cheer the march on from Gore Park.

cole headshotWe’re interviewing male allies about why they support TBTN. Our first interview is with Cole GatelyCole is a queer trans guy living and working in Hamilton. As a woman he attended 18 TBTNs in a row and now he loves being involved by being an ally.

Why do you think it is important to create space for women and gender non-conforming (GNC) folks?

It’s important because of the assumption that everyone is always safe in Canada, which is not true. Women, as well as gender non-conforming people are at greater risk for violence, especially intimate partner and familial violence. Mainstream media reinforces stereotypes about femininity and masculinity, and sends subtle  messages about how we are supposed to behave if we want to be liked, loved, accepted, included, chosen, etc. GNC people are at very high risk for violence from strangers, friends, partners and parents alike, simply for being who they are. So, the idea of women and gender non-conforming folk taking up space, reclaiming the night, and being cheered on by cis-male allies is powerful.

What do you think male allies can do to create more space for women and gender non-conforming folks?

Think about TBTN as being about ‘giving’ back the night, or ‘giving up’ the night. I don’t mean to say it’s about men ‘giving’ women and GNC people the right to take up space, but there has to be a shift whereby cis-men understand that simply by being, they take up an awful lot of space. By stepping back and reflecting upon masculinity in Canadian society, and thinking about what kind of a society they want to see for their mothers, sisters, daughters, and gender non-conforming siblings, parents, children, as well as for themselves, they may understand that speaking out against violence against women, children and GNC people is not about attacking men, it’s about speaking out against violence.

What do you think male allies can do to end gendered violence?

TBTN-Male-AlliesMen need to speak to other men about violence. Male allies have a great opportunity to educate their peers. One of the best ways to actually achieve change is to use one’s privilege to challenge the status quo. When you have privilege, and power invested in you because of your social location (i.e. male, whiteness, non-disabled, heterosexual, etc.) other people in those kinds of positions listen to you. You have a unique opportunity to use your privilege and power in ways that will earn you the respect not only of women and GNC people, but of your fellow cis-men.

What inspires/motivates you to be a male ally?

I’m a genderqueer person myself. I identify closer to the masculine end of the spectrum, but I was raised by feminist she-wolves. I used to be a woman and I experienced violence from a cis-male partner many years ago. I have also experienced, as a genderqueer person, random violence on the street from a cis-male stranger, so I have experience from different positionalities. I now have male privilege, and with that identity comes responsibility. I don’t think a person has to go through violence in order to understand it’s wrong, but my passion comes from a sense of solidarity, compassion and outrage. As a male ally (I am read as male most of the time), I can use that power to educate other men about what is and is not cool.



Sisters In Spirit Hamilton


sisevents2016picGovernment statistics in Canada show that Aboriginal women are 5 times more likely to die as a result of violence than other women. In 2004 The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) launched the Sisters in Spirit Campaign to bring this shocking fact to the attention of Canadians.

The Sisters in Spirit Action Committee, Hamilton was formed in April 2005 to support these initiatives. Current membership includes several dedicated people from the community as well as representatives from: Amnesty International Canada, De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre, Native Women’s Centre, Hamilton Regional Indian Centre, Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, Hamilton Police Service, Correctional Service Canada, Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy, and SACHA – Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton & Area).

Our purpose is to draw public attention and education to the pervasive problem of violence against Aboriginal women across Canada, while we honour and remember our Sisters in Spirit. We as an action committee also support any official inquiry, round table or commission that will assist the resolution of this crisis.

The Sisters in Spirit Action Committee Hamilton invite you to participate in our upcoming community events to honour our 1200 Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women, girls, and trans people across Canada.

Flag Raising at City Hall
Thursday, September 30, 2016 at 12:00pm
71 Main Street West – Hamilton ON

Candlelight Vigil at Honouring the Circle
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 7:00pm
21 Rosendene Avenue – Hamilton ON

All are welcome to both events.

Come and gather to show we are a united front. Each vigil is a beacon of hope and strength! Help us honour restore the memory of our loved ones; our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, our aunties, our grandmothers, and their families.

McMaster Welcome Week Training

In the last eight days, SACHA and Equity and Inclusion Office at McMaster University trained nearly 400 Residence Life staff and reps on taking action to end rape culture and nearly 1300 Welcome Week Faculty reps on McMaster’s Sexual Violence Response Protocol.
We hope that this week is a kick off to year-round action to prevent sexual violence on campus.
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In the hour long workshop with staff and reps from Residence Life we talked about:


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Zine Launch: Dreams, Healing & Safety


sachaposterlaunch FINALFor the past month, SACHA – Hamilton’s Sexual Assault Centre –  has hosted Sexual Assault: The Roadshow which provides space for local survivors of sexual violence to produce art. The Roadshow art gallery– made of a modified shipping container –  will travel to 15 Ontario communities over the next three years.  In Hamilton, survivors worked with artist Heidi Cho to create zines about their experiences of safety and healing.

We are inviting the community to view the art created by local survivors and hear about their experiences

Where: Good Shepherd courtyard – 25 Ray Street North
When:  Tuesday August 30th, 2016 @1:00p.m.
What: Survivor Zine Launch with a workshop participant speaking

Sexual Assault: The Roadshow is funded by the Ontario Arts Council and is a project by sexual assault activist Jane Doe and artist/activist Lillian Allen.  In Hamilton we appreciate the support of Good Shepherd Hamilton.


Take Back the Night in Style


Take Back the Night t-shirts have arrived!

This year’s shirts are black with teal ‘We Believe Survivors’ and come in both fitted and not fitted styles. The t-shirts are made and printed by Me To We.

Where can I buy one?
T-shirts will be available at the Take Back the Night event near the SACHA table or stop by SACHA – 75 MacNab Street South, 3rd Floor – during business hours to buy one!

How much do they cost?
We are selling the shirts are on a sliding scale for $15 for unwaged folks (which is the cost of the t-shirt) and $20 for waged folks.

We have a limited supply of t-shirts, so get one early!

What do you do with money raised from t-shirt sales?

We rarely make money from selling TBTN t-shirts, but if we do the profits go back into the cost of putting on an amazing Take Back the Night in Hamilton.

What about free stuff?
We totally recognize that not everyone will be able to afford $15 for a t-shirt.  At the SACHA table we have TBTN buttons for free.  This year community organizations will also have lots of free give-aways at their tables too!

How can I pay?
You can pay for your TBTN t-shirt with cash, Visa, MasterCard or a cheque made out to SACHA.

* Thank you to amazing SACHA staff Sandra and Miriam for modeling the t-shirts!

Call For Submissions: Hamilton-based Housing Zine



Inasmuch House is creating a zine (small publication) about the need for a National Housing Strategy that addresses the lack of safe and affordable housing, and how this affects women and families accessing violence against women and homeless shelters.

We would love contributions from other shelters, as well as spaces that work with women and families who have experiences trying to access safe and affordable housing.

Ideas for how to contribute:

  • Hold a workshop to talk about the National Housing Strategy and how it impacts women and families in shelters
    • Ask about the women and families experiences and stories, as well ideas for how to make positive changes – collect their stories in written format
    • Using half of an 8.5×14 sheet of paper, have residents share their experiences with housing – write poems, draw, collage, make a list, etc. – to contribute to the publication
  • Write / make art about your own experiences as a transition support worker working with women and families accessing housing: what are some major obstacles you’ve seen, what ideas do you have that could improve access?

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SACHA Supports Mandi Gray


In July of 2016, in an unprecedented ruling, Mustafa Ururyar was found guilty of the sexual assault of Mandi Gray.

In a public statement at that time, Gray remarked upon the grueling 18-month endeavour, and her experience of the criminal justice system — which allowed for the introduction of rape mythology and victim-blaming from Uryurar’s defence lawyer, Lisa Bristow.

“I am tired of people talking to me like I won some sort of rape lottery because the legal system did what it is supposed to…If we are told to be grateful for receiving the bare minimum, and that we should simply allow for social institutions to further…violate our rights, I am incredibly concerned”.  

SACHA shares this deep concern. We are also incensed that within days of the conviction, Ururyar’s defence team appealed the conviction and asked for bail. This was granted by Superior Court Justice Michael Quigley, who, despite the extensive case law cited in Ontario Court Justice Marvin Zuker’s decision, suggested that academic texts on rape and trauma may have somehow informed an impartial ruling. Continue reading