TBTN: Free Bus from McMaster

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Our amazing allies at Unifor 5555’s Women’s Committee have organized a FREE BUS from McMaster University.

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The bus will leave the campus from the parking lot side of the Student Centre at 5:30pm and will return to campus by 9:15pm. All are welcome on a first come first served basis.

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McMaster Welcome Week Training

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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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#December6 – Time to End Injustice

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by Kojo Damptey

Kojo “Easy” Damptey is a music producer, songwriter, keyboardist, composer and filmmaker. He was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. At the age of 17 he moved to Hamilton, to pursue an education at McMaster University studying Chemical Engineering. Kojo Damptey is working daily to speak out and take a stand against the violence that women too often face in Hamilton.  Check out his song Broken Promises which supports the work of Interval House.

Martin Luther King is credited with the quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.[1] This quote epitomizes humanity’s desire to at least create a society where we are our brother and sister’s keeper.

Nonetheless there are a number of gigantic injustices plaguing our society today, one of which is gender-based violence. On this issue we have failed to address the root causes and when I say “we” I mean “men”.

In Canada, every time December 6th rolls around we are reminded of the gruesome act at Ecole Polytechnique; where a male shooter shot 28 people, killing 14 women, before committing suicide. Since, that tragedy we have been reminded that there needs to be more work done to end violence against women.

As a man involved in community work I feel it is necessary to create spaces where “men” can contribute in tangible ways to end violence against women. Here are my thoughts:

Paulo Freire explains oppression as any situation in which “A” exploits “B” or hinders his and her pursuit of self-affirmation as a responsible person is one of oppression; and mostly this situation constitutes violence.[2] Based on this definition there is no doubt that our current society has a problem whereby men continuously exploit women in all forms of life.

This “acceptable phenomenon” has created a society that supports the perpetuation of condoning men’s behavior in situations of violence while victimizing women that have experienced different forms of violence. This atmosphere of victimizing women ensures that men who are involved in acts of violence continue to use their power and control to further oppress women. Continue reading

Cookies and Consent Follow Ups

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Last Thursday Erin Crickett, SACHA’s Public Educations Coordinator was on a Cookies and Consent panel as part of McMaster University’s Welcome Week.

Crickett mentioned some links, videos, articles, Young Adult fiction, during the panel and the break out session afterwards about taking action to end sexual violence, which she promised to post here:

no more rape culture

Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as “just the way things are.”

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  • SACHA’s infographic on how be involved in the movement to end gender based violence:

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  • The Young Adult book Pointe by Brandi Colbert really shows how power plays a part of sexual violence and how many folks experience abuse are in love with their perpetrators and don’t label the relationship as abusive.

The more that I started talking about racism publicly, the more white people started reaching out to me for clarification; they’d say things like, I don’t want to seem racist, but I don’t know how or I was called racist and I don’t know what I did. I started to realize that these people reaching out to me to understand why someone was mad at them still pictured racists as white hooded men and they weren’t wearing hoods, so they thought themselves incapable of acting in a racist manner. I started to realize that my generation couldn’t redefine for everyone what a racist looks like; we have to define what racist actions are.

We have to let go of treating each other like not knowing, making mistakes, and saying the wrong thing make it impossible for us to ever do the right things.

And we have to remind ourselves that we once didn’t know. There are infinitely many more things we have yet to know and may never know.

We have to let go of a politic of disposability. We are what we’ve got. No one can be left to their fuck ups and the shame that comes with them because ultimately we’ll be leaving ourselves behind.

I want us to use love, compassion, and patience as tools for critical dialogue, fearless visioning, and transformation. I want us to use shared values and visions as proactive measures for securing our future freedom. I want us to be present and alive to see each other change in all of the intimate ways that we experience and enact violence.

If you’re like to invite SACHA to facilitate a workshop for your class, group, or workplace, contact Erin Crickett, SACHA’s Public Education Coordinator – erin@sacha.ca.

Consent Education at McMaster University

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In April 2012, SACHA -the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton & Area – in partnership with the YWCA Hamilton, initiated a project at McMaster University focused on engaging students (ages 17-24) in the prevention of violence against young women on campus. The information gathered through the “It’s Time” project informed eight key recommendations that could be addressed to better prevent violence against young women on McMaster’s campus.

For the past year, the Student Wellness Centre in partnership with Human Rights and Equity services have been leading the development of an annual, campus wide Education and Awareness Campaign intended to engage all aspects of the McMaster community on issues of violence against women and gender based violence (Recommendation #8). With much appreciated support from the Anti-Violence Network, the Women and Gender Equity Network, the Student Health and Education Centre and many interested students, the first component of the campaign is ready to be launched. This year as McMaster welcomes the first year class during Welcome Week (#MacWW2015), there will be messages about #consent on posters, brilliantly buttoned billboards, banners, buttons, condoms and even in some of the programming.  

Consent is NECESSARY in every sort of sexual encounter whether it is a hug, a kiss, a cuddle or penetrative sex.

Without consent, it is sexual assault!

And, consent is applicable for all situations that include sexual encounters such as a one night stand, a long term partnership, a date, a fling, a marriage, and no matter the gender or number of participants involved.

It is important to remember that everyone has different boundaries around sexual consent: some people may not want to have penetrative sex but may be okay with other activity,  some people may be unable to move into different positions because of physical abilities, some students may be unwilling or unable or opposed to engage in certain sexual encounters whether as a result of personal beliefs, culture, religion, familial expectations—or a combination of these things. All of this must be kept in mind when discussing consent. But, most importantly, it must be discussed with everyone! Continue reading

Say Yes to Consent Education

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Guest post by Sam Godfrey, a member of McMaster’s Student Health Education Centre ‘s executive

“What’s sex?”

I propped myself up on my leopard patterned pillows, taking a bird’s-eye view of my mother from my top bunk. If she was taken off guard by the question, she didn’t show it. Resting her chin on folded hands and speaking softly, my mother gave me a calm and patient introduction to sex.

Since then I’ve received many versions of ‘The Talk,’ but no matter who was teaching – be it friends or instructors or HBO – there was always something missing.

There are a lot of ways to have sex involving a myriad of types of people and versions of body parts. Some sex is gentle and loving, and some sex is rough and lustful. Some is between two or three or more people, and some is solo. Some sex is complex and inventive and creative and totally magically unique. Some sex is not.

But for all its diversities and possibilities, there is one thing that is absolutely intrinsic to sex: consent.

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Mia Mingus -Disability Justice Activist

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Mia Mingus is a queer physically disabled Korean woman. She is a disability justice activist, community educator and organizer working for disability justice and transformative justice responses. She works for community, interdependency and home for all of us, not just some of us, and longs for a world where disabled people can live free of violence, with dignity and love.

Watch Mia’s amazing speech when she accepted the Creating Change Award:

We cannot separate heterosexism from ableism and allow disability issues to be seen as secondary issues.

Here’s an incredible interview with Mia:

There’s nothing that has shown us that simply expanding the rights of the privileged to add a few more people has actually led us to a more just world.

What and Where …

Lecture: Thurs. March 19, 1:30 – McMaster University, MDCL (Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery) Room 2232

Disability activists are forwarding a political framework through which disability and ableism can be understood and connected to other forms of oppression and violence. In this lecture, Mingus will talk about the meaning of Disability Justice, the necessity of an intersectional analysis and what solidarity is in this ever-evolving practice we call “liberation.”

Panel: Thurs. March 19, 6:30- McMaster University, Council Chambers, Gilmour Hall, Room 111

Many grassroots activists with disabilities have moved beyond individualized rights models to a disability justice movement that recognizes the interconnectedness and interdependence of all people, with or without disabilities, at the intersections of privilege and oppression. The panel will explore self-determination in terms of community building and disability culture. How does this changing discourse reimagine the experiences of students with disabilities in Western contexts?

If you have accessibility issues or questions please contact Ayshia at 905.525.9140 x. 24644 or amusleh@mcmaster.ca.

Check out the Facebook event.

Presented by McMaster Human Rights and Equity Services.