You Rock. It’s True.

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IMG_2213We were so excited to be invited to 5th Ancaster Girl Guides last fall to help them with their Say No To Violence Challenge.  We had amazing discussions and did activities to think about what they want in their relationships and how they can stand up for their friends.

They also came up with a very long list of what they look for in friends! The Guides then made beautiful art for survivors at SACHA, with their messages of support and love.

Thank you to these amazing young women for sharing to much compassion and creativity!

May is Sexual Violence Prevention Month.

Broad Convos & Participation – Pearl

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Broad Conversations are gatherings in Hamilton, Ontario for feminist broads. Gatherings are structured to inspire new ideas and reflections on important themes within a feminist context. 

Pearl Mendonca shares her thoughts on this month’s theme of participation.

pearl“How do we define, value and manage participation as feminists, women, as citizens?” 

This was the question our panel was asked at the second Broad Conversations event.  It’s a fascinating question, and each of us on the panel took the conversation in completely new and awesome directions.

Here were my thoughts:

I’m going to look at my participation from three experiences: 1) as a woman of colour; 2) as a survivor of sexual violence and 3) as a bodywork practitioner.

As a woman of colour, I’m very aware of my own experience of race and how it has impacted my own participation.  This also makes me think of representation – where are women of colour’s voices represented?

I am familiar with the societal expectations of the way that I will participate as a brown woman.  I am also aware of my family’s expectations, cultural expectations – how I have internalized all of these expectations and lived within them.

As a woman, especially as a woman of colour, I’ve hesitated many a time in speaking up and raising concerns.  It has been difficult at times to find my voice.  It often takes me time to navigate different and difficult spaces, and even then, I need to feel a sense of safety. Continue reading

Messages of Support for Survivors

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final poster mapsOn November 5th 2016, we organized the 3rd annual Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair. We asked folks who attended, tabled, organized, and volunteered at the fair to contribute their words, drawings, and collages to our collective zine to give messages of support to survivors. This zine is a collection of ideas, hopes, images, and stories that show up, and spread love and support, for all survivors.

From SACHA with strength, courage, and healing: here are your messages of support for survivors.

May is Sexual Violence Prevention Month.

If you would like a free copy of the zine stop by SACHA’s office during business hours – 3rd floor of 75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton ON.

What Has Been Helpful In Your Healing?

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Healing is hard work. The effects of sexual and emotional harm are complicated and make the path of a survivor unclear, nuanced, and volatile. What works for one person might not for another, and even what works for one person at one time, might not work at another. It can be draining to be constantly on the alert for what kind of care you need at each given moment, but with patience and support it does get easier.

Here are a few thoughts passers-through in the SACHA office have about what’s helping them heal right now:

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SACHA Supports Mandi Gray

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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