Bystander Intervention Skills

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You can interrupt sketchy behaviour at a bar, concert, or a party to prevent
sexual violence.

These skills are new for lots of folks! Just like first aid, these strategies require learning, relearning, and practice.

SACHA has got your back! If you see something sketchy and you unsure how to take action, you can call SACHA’s 24 Hour Support Line to chat about ideas and options – 905.525.4162.

The number one action you can take RIGHT NOW is:

Bystander Intervention Skills

Delegate

Don’t go it alone. Gather your peeps. Who is near that can help?A friend? Security staff? Even if it’s just to validate that the behaviour is not OK.

  • “I think she needs our help, but I don’t know what to do. Have any ideas?”
  • “Will you watch while I go chat with them?”

Direct

Approach either the person being targeted or the person doing the harassing and be direct.

  • “Are you OK?”
  • “Can I help you?”
  • “That’s not OK.”
  • “You need to stop.”

Distract

Think of a way to distract the folks involved in the situation: either the person being targeted or the person doing the harassing.

  • “Can you take a pic of my friends and I?”
  • “What time is it?”
  • “Where’s the washrooms?”
  • “That’s a FAB outfit! Where did you get it?”
  • “My friend’s gone missing. Can you help me find them?”

Document

Make a record or keep your eye on the situation in case it escalates.

Bystander Intervention by SACHA

 

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Mandi Gray’s Response

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Last Thursday, Mandi Gray’s rapist was found guilty. The judge tore down rape myths in his ruling: 

“No other crime is looked upon with the degree of blame-worthiness, suspicion and doubt as rape. No one asks to be raped. The blame lies with the perpetrator. Rape is an act of violence and aggression to which the perpetrator uses sex as a weapon to gain power and control over the victim.”

Mandi Gray wrote an INCREDIBLE statement released the day of the ruling, reposted here with her permission:

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.

My experience is regarded as a demonstration of progress in sexual assault cases in Canada. I am expected to feel good because a few people within the system believe me. If we are told to be grateful for receiving the bare minimum, and that we should simply allow for social institutions to further oppress us and violate our rights, I am incredibly concerned.

Accepting things simply as they are because “it could be worse” is the antithesis of progress. Continue reading

Resources for Coun. Terry Whitehead

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At a Hamilton city council meeting on Monday, Councillor Terry Whitehead used the words ‘ripping and raping’ to talk about moving jobs off the mountain to downtown.

Terry: Rape is violence. Violence that mostly women and children live through. Words matter. Words have meaning. Especially when we’re talking about sexual violence. But you weren’t talking about sexual violence and that’s why folks are upset.

Ending rape culture is hard. We all make mistakes. It’s what we do when we eff up that counts.

We’ve put together some resources about why words are important and how folks can help to end sexual violence: Continue reading

Prove It.

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To all everyone who is asking us on our Facebook feed and to our faces to prove that Jian Ghomeshi assaulted women:

We don’t have to, for one simple reason: We believe survivors.

Here’s the truth:

  • A not guilty verdict doesn’t mean that sexual assaults didn’t happen.
  • Survivors RARELY lie about being sexually assaulted.
  • Alcohol does not cause sexual assault.
  • Neither does clothing.

We believe survivors.
We believe women.
We believe men.
We believe trans folks, genderqueer folks, and non-binary folks.
We believe survivors who also do sex work.
We believe Indigenous folks.
We believe survivors who are newcomers and immigrants.
We believe survivors who live with a disAbility.
We believe grandparents.
We believe children. Continue reading

Causes of Sexual Assault

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There’s been a lot of confusion in the media this week, this month, and this year about what causes sexual assault.  In one hundred percent of cases sexual assault is caused by the perpetrator.

Causes of Sexual Assault

Things that do not cause sexual assault:

  • bikinis
  • flirty emails
  • sexy clothes
  • alcohol
  • survivors location: a bar, party, school, work
  • walking home alone

SACHA’s 24 Hour Support Line is here for survivors of sexual violence, their supporters, and folks with questions – 905.525.4162. #WeBelieveSurvivors

Online Feminism Challenging Rape Culture

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The hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported took off on twitter after allegations about numerous sexual assaults committed by Jian Gomeshi emerged.

Predictably, many were quick to question the accusations against Gomeshi and were suspicious of the women’s motives. What were these women hoping to gain by coming forward? Weren’t they just attacking Gomeshi, beloved celebrity of the CBC? Importantly many asked: If these women had truly not consented to sexual activity with Gomeshi and had experienced the violence described, why then had they not come forward sooner?

I say that this is an important question but not for the same reasons that the mainstream media asks it…

Survivors who speak up are used to hearing this question. It is thrown out to undermine the truth of their stories.

Most survivors do not report their assaults. In Canada, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual assault. Statistics for the trans community are not well documented but we know that rates of violence against trans folk are staggering. And yet, crime rates do not reflect this reality.

o-SEXUAL-ASSAULT-CANADA-570 Continue reading

The Romanticization of Rape in the Media

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by Kaitlin Petkovich

Kaitlin Petkovich is a Criminology student at Wilfrid Laurier University, taking courses that place an emphasis on women’s rights. She hopes to become a prosecutor in the future. Kaitlin is an animal rights activist and feminist. She enjoys spending time with her dog, Sprinkle, and is an avid reader.

Kaitlin wrote about the romanticization of rape culture in the media as part of her final high school report.

The imagery and diction that are presented in  mainstream media contribute to rape culture, especially those of music and television shows. These portrayals are especially harmful to teens and preteens. Misogyny is also prevalent, which is equally as harmful.

Network producers know who is watching their shows, they’re aware of how young and impressionable their audiences are. Shows like The Vampire Diaries have a large foothold in teenage audiences. Most people would say this is all well and good, these shows must be appropriate for them, as the Motion Picture Association has deemed it to be this way. This system is dangerous. Keeping The Vampire Diaries as our example, a television show that is primarily aimed at pre-teen/teen girls. This show is rated PG-13, please keep this in mind as you hear the following description. Continue reading