Get To Know Your Ontario Sexual Assault Centres

This winter the Ministry of Attorney General in sent questionnaires to all of the Ontario Sexual Assault Centres.

For those of us who are working or volunteering at Sexual Assault Centres, we can forget that not everyone knows about the work that we are doing to support survivors and end violence.

Not only was there really interesting information shared, but to see it grouped together was quite powerful.

Did you know?

  • 1972 the first Sexual Assault Centre (SAC) in Ontario opened.  Our newest Ontario SAC was created in 2012.
  • Thirty-one English speaking and ten French speaking Sexual Assault Centres completed the questionnaire.
  • Combined Ontario SAC’s answered 37 000 crisis/support line calls in a year.
  • Half of the calls were during the daytime, thirty-three percent in the evening and seventeen percent were after midnight and before nine in the morning.
  • Across Ontario 9060 people got face-to-face service from Sexual Assault Centres.
  • Across Ontario 165 counsellors are working at Sexual Assault Centres.
  • The average number of years experience per counsellor is ten years and the median number of years experience is eight years.
  • Two-thirds of SAC’s reported having difficulty finding volunteers for lots of reasons: traumatizing/difficult work, socio-economic or demographic characteristics of the regions (ex: aging population, rural with lack of transportation, volunteers seeking paid jobs, etc.), and difficulties attracting French-speaking volunteers at French SAC’s.

theme_01More info! Continue reading

Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair

hfzf fb banner patternThe Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair,  organized by SACHA, celebrates and creates spaces for marginalized groups to have discussions about feminism through do-it-yourself publishing.

We’re aiming to create an accessible event that gives a platform to those often under-represented in zine culture.

HFZF will have people tabling, selling and chatting about their zines, workshops, a calm chill out space and a seven hour zine challenge.

When: Saturday, November 15th from 10am to 5pm
Where: YWCA Hamilton – 75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton ON
Accessibility: The space is accessible, including washrooms. More information about accessibility and safe(r) spaces coming soon!
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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