Derek Mellor Update

On Tuesday, July 15 Hamilton police officer Derek Mellor’s hearing was delayed again.

Derek Mellor has admitted to inappropriate sexual behaviour with witnesses or victims in human trafficking investigations which has caused many Hamiltonians to speak out.

From CHCH:

A cop accused of exploiting the victims of a human trafficking ring will remain a Hamilton Police Service employee for at least another four months. A hearing for Sgt. Derek Mellor — a 14-year veteran — was delayed today because his lawyer was sick.

Derek Mellor was supposed to right the wrongs inflicted on a number of female victims by a human trafficking ring here in Hamilton. Instead, he had sex, with three of them.

A petition has been started asking for Mellor’s dismissal from Hamilton Police.

In a letter to the Hamilton Spectator SACHA and the Elizabeth Fry Society stated:

Of serious concern is that Mellor hopes to continue to serve as a police officer.  Anything short of Mellor’s complete dismissal would send a concerning message to the community, including survivors, about a lack of police accountability.

 

Lee Prokaska wrote to the Spectator frustrated about the slow moving hearings:

The financial cost of delay is perhaps easiest to discern in Police Services Act matters, during which officers are suspended with pay pending the outcome of their trials. Former Hamilton police inspector David Doel, for example, faced 13 serious charges under the act. He took home more than $550,000 while suspended; manipulation of the system resulted in Doel retiring before the charges were dealt with.

A new date has been set for the hearing – November 3rd, 2014.

 

Toronto Queer Zine Fair

savethedatetqzf2014edit2Toronto Queer Zine Fair is happening Saturday, October 4th!

Toronto Queer Zine Fair seeks to make space for traditionally marginalized voices in the zine community. While accepting applications from all self-identified queer/trans* folks, TQZF chooses to prioritize the voices of trans women, trans women of colour, queer people of colour, indigenous/two-spirited folks, and non-binary folks. Toronto Queer Zine Fair is an alternative zine fair focusing on the radical and political history/philosophy of zines and giving a platform to those often under-represented in zine culture.

Toronto Queer Zine Fair is a direct response to the lack of accessibility, queer & trans*  visibility, and focus on zines represented in the “zinefests” organized annually in Toronto and the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).

You might remember that TQZF visited Hamilton on their Winter Survival Tour

If you would like to table at TQZF here’s the application.

When People We Know Hurt Us

Julie, a SACHA volunteer, sent us this Black Girl Dangerous article – I Was Sexually Assaulted By Someone I Thought Was A Feminist And An Ally.

It took years of therapy before I could even acknowledge my betrayal and violation at the hands of a so-called “radical” man.  As a survivor of domestic abuse, I was accustomed to explicit and obvious forms of violence.  I didn’t expect it from someone who shared my commitment to working against it.  Another part of the challenge was my being in the academy, a place that valorizes men who preach feminism while exerting their masculine power.  This combined with the almost total absence of structural consequences for sexual assault made admitting my victimization almost impossible.

Julie writes:

I think this article is important because the writer offers an example of why the personal needs to be political.  Too often, we respect people’s public politics and are then horrified to find out what our political allies do in their private lives.  People who are from marginalized groups might feel like they have to choose their battles and not focus on gender at times, but I think this is a good reminder that all oppressions need to be righted together.

The author sharing her story of sexual assault reminded me again about how rape is about power not about sexual attraction.  And also that this violence is systemic.

It’s really worth reading the whole article!  At the end the author has some suggestions about how we can end sexual violence in our communities.

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The book ‘The Revolution Starts at Home’ is a really good resource for ending violence in activist communities.

McMaster Redsuits and Toxic Culture

mcmaster-redsuitsIn January 2014, the McMaster Redsuits – the engineering student group – became subject to an investigation. This investigation was triggered when the university administration’s attention was drawn to a songbook filled with misogynistic and violent songs. Songs in the songbook include references to torture, rape, incest, bestiality and murder.

Calling the material in the songbook “highly repugnant” and full of “sexist, violent and degrading material”, the university hired an external auditor to take a closer look at the culture and conduct of the student group. Continue reading

MadPride Hamilton’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Flyer_MPHam_July19_2014_June3draft-1Mad Pride Hamilton is throwing an insane party on Saturday, July 19th – and you’re invited! This celebratory event is FREE, family-friendly, and open to the public.

What is Mad Pride Hamilton? Mad Pride Hamilton is an annual madness arts, culture, and heritage celebration organized by self-identified Mad people for members of the local consumer/survivor/Mad community. We have a right to be proud of our survival, experiences, ideas, identities, creativity, accomplishments, contributions, and communities – just like everyone else. Mad Pride has been celebrated internationally for over twenty years and in Hamilton since 2013. Mad Pride Hamilton also publishes a magazine called This Insane Life. Continue reading

Listening to Disclosures Workshop – Useful Links

We’ve been busy the last couple of weeks facilitating workshops for helping professionals about how to listen to someone’s first disclosure of sexual assault.

There were amazing discussions about the myths and lies we’re taught about violence, victim blaming, survivor-focused support skills, offering empowering options, and resources in our community.

Each group and each discussion is different, but this is a collection of resources, links and things that came up in discussion that were shared in the last month of workshops:

  • The femifesto collective created a great toolkit on how to report on sexual assault.  It also has a great intersectional explanation of rape culture and the framework of sexual assault in Canada starting at page seven.

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  • Survivor’s hear too often that their assault was caused by what they were wearing instead of focusing on the perpetrators actions and behaviour.  Rape Crisis Scotland created an absolutely amazing rebuttal to the clothing myth:

  • It’s really important to learn and debunk the myths and lies that we’ve been taught about sexual assault.

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  • Dr. Rebecca Campbell’s presentation on the neurobiology of sexual assault.  Lots of good stuff in this hour-long webinar – what is secondary victimization, how are traumatic memories stored, really great explanation of the freeze response, and more.

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  • Alcohol is the most used date rape drug, but a lot of folks put emphasis on survivors’ drinking and not perpetrators behaviour.  Great article from NPR that talks about alcohol facilitated sexual assault being a targeted behaviour and not ‘miscommunication’.
  • Most men will never perpetrate sexual assault.  Creator of the Mentors in Violence Prevention program, Jackson Katz, talks about how violence against women is a men’s issue.