Compounding the Tragedy: Reflections on Media Coverage


This past week in Hamilton Jenna Gazzola and Aerlaena Smith were murdered. Jenna by a male neighbour and Aerlaena by her boyfriend.

You might have heard about it on the news or in the paper. Maybe not. Despite it being glaring absent in reporting: this IS about gender based violence.

The media stories seem shrouded in confusion and shock about the violence. It seems almost too much for them to name that Aerlaena was murdered by her boyfriend, for example.

Maybe you felt frustrated too, or confused or angry, anxious, sad– and not just about the tragedy of the murders themselves but also about how off-base the reporting on these situations has been.

That makes sense. The media consistently does a pretty terrible job of talking about  patriarchy, power, and gender-specific violence. Continue reading


A Time to Remember, a Time to Change


On December 6th, 1989, fourteen young women were separated from their male classmates and murdered with a semi-automatic rifle by one man at ecole ploytechnique in what became known nationwide as the Montreal Massacre.

2005-03-14 at 15-15-29

25 years have passed since a group of dedicated women from the Women’s Centre of Hamilton first placed the commemorative rock at Hamilton City Hall in honour of these 14 women, and all women who have been victims of violence. The following year, the federal government established December 6th as the national Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Continue reading

Survive to Thrive Workshops


Trauma informed conference May 7th 2015 (word)May is Sexual Violence Prevention Month.

SACHA is helping to organizing a conference about trauma informed support on May 7th – Survive to Thrive.

For all the details about registering and location click here.

Here’s more information about what the day will look like:

Morning – 8:45am-12pm
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Lori Haskell
Followed by Melissa’s story

Lunch – 12pm-1pm Afternoon – 1pm-4pm

Breakout sessions.
Each breakout session will have a collaborative focus. The sessions will be interactive, participatory, and discussion based with an opportunity for sharing information across the Developmental Services and Violence Against Women sectors. Continue reading

Violence Against Women Hurts Us All


Early last week the Canadian Association for Equality, a extremist Men’s Rights Group was in the media for their billboard they put up in Toronto.

The Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses prepared this amazing letter highlight how violence against women hurts everyone.

Prevalence and severity of violence against women and children has been well documented in Canada.

For over 30 years the Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses, our Members and community allies, such as Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres and more recently, Building A Bigger Wave have been working to address violence against women, and support survivors in local communities. We have seen violence permeate our streets, homes, workplaces, communities and institutions with tremendous social and economic impacts.

Here are the Canadian statistics that outline how violence is experienced by women and girls:

  • Domestic Violence Death Review Committee (2014) Reviewed domestic violence related homicides between 2002-2010 and found 80% of domestic violence homicide victims were female.
  • Statistics Canada (2011) Aboriginal Women in Canada were found to be 3 times more likely than Non-Aboriginal Women to report being a victim for a violent crime, regardless of whether the perpetrator was a spouse or stranger.
  • Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (2008) Young women from marginalized racial, sexual and socioeconomic groups are more vulnerable to being targeted for sexual harassment and sexual assault.*
  • Statistics Canada (2006) Identify a 10 year period where police reports showed males were much more likely than females to be the perpetrators of spousal violence incidents coming to the attention of police and more likely to repeatedly abuse their spouse.
  • Statistics Canada (2006) Indicates chronic abuse incidents as 97% by males versus 3% by females.
  • Statistics Canada (2006) Report 86% of sexual offences reported to the police in the year 2004 were committed against females.**
  • Statistics Canada (2005) Indicates women were three times more likely to fear for their life, and twice as likely to be the targets of more than 10 violent episodes.
  • Statistics Canada tell us that, overall, the prevalence of sexual violence experienced by males is not the same as that experienced by women and girls.***

Ending Violence Against Women Benefits Everyone

When we work towards ending violence against women, we create a culture that will end violence against  everyone.

To achieve this, strategies are required to address the complex culture of violence against women that are maintained by misogyny and colonialism.

OAITH congratulates the Ontario Government, under Premiere Kathleen Wynne’s leadership, for taking the substantive steps required with the release of It’s Never Ok: An Action Plan To Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment, the establishment of the Violence Against Women Roundtable and the new Sexual Health Curriculum.

These steps support structural actions that are critical to addressing violence against women, particularly sexual violence. Directly addressing misogynistic structures, beliefs and values will benefit children, youth and adults across all genders and communities.

Addressing the profound and tremendous impact of violence against women requires multifaceted approaches focused on prevention, awareness, support and responsive systems. Campaigns and legislation that are divisive work against positive change for any population impacted by violence.

As OAITH enters our 25th year of documenting approximately 600 women and children killed by their male intimate partners, as documented by the media, we are facing a very real problem in Ontario.

Join The Conversations On Violence Against Women!
#VAWHurtsUsAll #WrappedInCourage #MenLetsTalk #ENDVAW #WhoWillYouHelp
#Ibelieveher #RapeCulture #DrawTheLine #BeenRapedNeverReported

* Wolfe and Chiodo, CAMH, 2008, p. 3.
**Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006
***Juristat Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Sexual Offenses in Canada. 2004: 1

Survive to Thrive – A Conference about Trauma Informed Support


Trauma informed conference May 7th 2015 (word)The Southern Ontario Network of Specialized Care, Family Counselling Centre of Brant, Twin Lakes Clinical Services, and SACHA – Hamilton’s Sexual Assault Centre are hosting a conference about trauma informed support for folks living with development disabilities.

When: Thursday, May 7th from 8:30am to 4:30pm
Where: Carmen’s Banquet Centre – 1520 Stone Church Road – Hamilton, ONCost: Before March 2nd – $40. After March 2nd – $50.

Who: Everyone who is interested in learning more skills to offer trauma informed support is invited. Material covered at Survive to Thrive will be especially important to helping professionals who are working with folks living with developmental disabilities as well as helping professionals working to end violence against women. Continue reading

It’s Time Project Recommendations


it's timeIn April 2012, SACHA in partnership with the YWCA Hamilton, initiated a project at McMaster University focused on engaging students in the prevention of violence against young women on campus.

Funded by Status of Women Canada, this work has been guided by an on-campus Advisory Committee consisting of students, staff, and faculty representation from diverse areas of campus life.

The project gathered information from differenct sections of campus and developed an analysis and many strategies for institutional and cultural changes that could prevent violence against young women.

We’ve listed an overview of the recommendations below. Click here to for a more detailed look at the It’s Time project’s key recommendations.

Recommendation #1

The establishment of the Violence Against Women Working Group of the President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community.

Recommendation #2

The implementation of the Sexual, Domestic, and Family Violence Response Protocol.

Recommendation #3

The appointment of a Sexual, Domestic, and Family Violence Response Coordinator.

Recommendation #4

The development of sustained partnerships with community organizations in Hamilton that specialize in violence against women, culminating in a Women’s Services Satellite Office on campus.

Recommendation #5

The implementation of the Campus Community Alert Policy which includes concrete assessment criteria for incidents of sexual or gender based violence that constitute a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community.

Recommendation #6

The implementation of recommendations to policy made via the It’s Time project regarding the Sexual Harassment Policy and the Student and Residence Codes of Conduct.

Recommendation #7

The implementation of training on violence against women and gender based violence as a core component of mandatory training for all student leaders, faculty, and staff on campus.

Recommendation #8

The initiation of an annual, campus-wide education and awareness campaign engaging all aspects of the McMaster community on issues of violence against women and gender based violence.