Celebrating Ten Years of SACHA’s Chocolate Fest



We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who attended last year’s Chocolate Fest and Silent Auction.

Last year’s Chocolate Fest raised nearly $30,000!

We welcomed new restaurants and had a wonderful time celebrating the evening with our awesome supporters.

Last year’s Chocolate Fest also marked the beginning of our ‘Did you know?’ and ‘Have you heard?’ campaigns to raise awareness around the startling sexual violence statistics in our community.

Have You Heard for Chocolate Fest - February 7, 2013

Have You Heard for Chocolate Fest 2 - February 7, 2013 In 2014 we will celebrate our 10th Anniversary of this delectable event.

To mark this anniversary year, we are moving back to LIUNA Station. Chocolate Fest 2014 will feature sweet and savoury treats from a variety of restaurants in the Hamilton and surrounding area. Additionally, the event will feature a performance from Canadian singer and songwriter Brian Melo and Apollo’s Crown.

We are also hoping that, with your support, our 10th Anniversary marks our most successful fundraiser to date!

Save the date!
When: Thursday, February 6, 2014 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: LIUNA Station
Ticket Price: $50 per person or special offer of 10 tickets for $400

Call 905-525-4573 or visit Brown Paper Tickets to order tickets.

Frozen in time


Can You Relate?

Thanksgiving weekend I found myself in a long line at the movie theater, waiting to see the newest Disney princess flick, Frozen. So much of the movie buzz was about whether boys would watch a “princess movie.” Conventional marketing wisdom has been that girls will watch movies about boys, but boys won’t watch movies about girls. I saw it with a ready-made focus group—five boys ranging from preschool to pre-teen. Their reviews were glowing (“awesome!” “hilarious!” “the snowman said ‘butt’!”) and had nothing to do with the gender of the main characters. But let’s get real: on day 7 of a 10-day school break, none of us were that picky.

So what is it about “girl movies” that boys supposedly find so unappealing?

My guess? The girl protagonists we are used to being served up are just boring. It’s not their fault—they have been imprisoned in the towering failure…

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International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers


December 17 is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Check out this Rabble.ca post to find out what sex worker advocacy groups worldwide are doing to end violence and create justice.

One thing that would immediately make sex workers lives more safe would be to strike down the laws criminalizing communicating, living off the avails and maintaining a bawdy house.

On Friday the Canadian supreme court will announce its decision in the charter challenge that could lead to the decriminalization of sex work in Canada. Journalist Carly Forbes has produced and collected some documentaries with more information about the charter challenge and with some reflections from sex workers.

The Native Youth Sexual Health Network has posted a response to ongoing colonialism on December 17th and a call to end violence:

Ending violence against sex workers is also about ending the violence of colonialism from state systems such as child welfare, social services and the criminal (in)justice system that many of our communities face.For instance, criminalizing or arresting people, removing their children or access to them only removes support and puts people back into a system that often failed them in the first place. This is directly connected to the interpersonal violence that people experience, including sexual assault and domestic violence.

And lastly, if your curious, you can read why SACHA supports the decriminalization of sex work:

SACHA believes that policies and laws have often been formed to instruct women on what is right and wrong in an attempt to control their behaviour.  These social rules are decided for women by people (primarily men) in power who decide how “good girls” and “bad girls” behave.  Sex workers are a group of people more often spoken about than spoken with; they have not been consulted in forming the rules.  Policy decisions regarding sex work have been imposed on sex workers rather than in collaboration with them.  Racism, colonialism, classism, adultism and other forms of oppression have also been pivotal in policy design.


SACHA Broadcast — Feminist Links & Hijinks No. 21


For someone who senses they’ve barely had time to eat this week, I sure have compiled quite a number of share-worthy tabs… Hm…

(Torstar News Service) Lionel Klotz, a vice principal at Mayfield Secondary School in Caledon, dressed up as Mr. T for Halloween, sparking outrage from people feeling it invokes “blackface,” an 1800s-era tradition of white actors donning dark face paint to portray stereotypical, racist caricatures of black people.

Black-face donning Peel District School Board vice-principal Lionel Koltz is being transferred, despite what praise for his leadership his co-workers have to offer:

Barbara Malta, a member of the Mayfield Drama Parents Association, told the Star she was “disappointed” to hear that Klotz and Matthews were moving to new schools, calling the men “excellent leaders.”


In New South Wales, Australia, an outcry has developed slowly and too quietly over the past 15 years regarding whether a convicted person will be given the grand charge of murder, or the lesser charge or manslaughter, based on if they were provoked by a homosexual person.

Yes, that is fucked up.

What sort of signals about male interaction and violence does the legal status of the homosexual advance defence send to men and boys? If the answer to this question suggests physical and even fatal violence as the acceptable response, rather than a simple declaration of non-interest, then we should consider why our society would not tolerate a similar violent reaction from women who are subjected to routine unwanted overtures from men.

— Homicides, homosexual advances and male honour: will NSW act on provocation law? by Thomas Crofts (associate law prof at University of Sydney) and
Stephen Tomsen (prof of criminology at University of Western Sydney)


This piece of satire gets in on the “scientific” reasoning behind sexism:

Male and female brains actually differ right down at the genetic level in quite a drastic way. Studies reveal that typically EVERY CELL in the male brain contains a Y chromosome. Quite alarmingly, female brains usually contain no Y chromosomes at all! This lack of a Y chromosome has many obvious physical effects, but most women still manage to lead normal, cognitively-unimpaired lives despite this clear deficit in the very DNA of their brains. Research into how they manage this is ongoing.

— Male and female brains: the REAL differences, by Dean Burnett


A photography project by artist Gracie Hagen aims to critically question what beauty actually looks like by contrasting pictures of the same model, one shot taken to reflect the media’s standard of beauty, and the other taken to show a human in an otherwise regular, daily, unflattering pose.

Gracie Hagen TBTNBlog

— Stunning Nude Photo Series Challenges What It Means To Be ‘Attractive’ (NSFW)

Note that the page is likely NSFW (Not Safe for Work) because it displays nudes.


Any for the grand finale, I give you Feministing.com‘s delicious, mouth-water, unstoppably moving compilation of Best Feminist Music Videos of 2013, featuring this irresistible slice:

Janelle Monae – Q.U.E.E.N. ft. Erykah Badu

Check out Feministing.com’s Best Feminist Music Videos of 2013 for a scrumptious handful of other tasty musical treats!

— Preached by Amelia

More Great Conversations at Westdale Secondary School


I returned to Westdale today to facilitate workshops with two more classes of grade nine girls.  (Check out the links, videos and articles that came up in discussions with yesterday’s classes…)

Today students were asking great insightful questions and making comments about sexual assault law, rape prevention tips, victim blaming and consent.

Lots and lots and lots of awesome questions asked, here are the questions and discussions that I promised to follow up with links, articles and videos:

  • One student asked “Why are rape prevention tips just for young women?  Why aren’t we talking to guys to?”.  We talked about how a lot of rape prevention tips for women are victim blaming.
  • We talked about Robin Thicke’s song ‘Blurred Lines’ and about awesome parodies of the song.
  • A student brought up the open letter about how to talk to young men about Robin Thicke.
  • Another student asked for interesting creative ways to ask for consent.  There’s lots of information and examples of how to ask for consent on consentissexy.net.
  • The age of consent in Canadian Law was bought up.
  • A question was asked about the misconceptions of feminism (Aren’t feminist just power hungry?  Don’t all feminists hate men?).  Gender focus has an awesome video series that debunks a lot of the myths about feminism:

I also promised to create SACHA’s Test for consent in movies, which would be an awful lot like the Bechdel Test, but would help folks to determine if movie characters are getting  consent before they get it on.  Would anyone like to help me with that?

I am absolutely amazed at what great conversationalist and discussions we have every time I visit high schools.  If you would like to invite SACHA to come speak at your school, community group or workplace please contact me.

— erin – erin@sacha.ca

Survivors and Substance Use Group


14.01 - Survivors & Substance Use - Flyer (Women) - JPEGSACHA with the City of Hamilton’s Alcohol Drug and Gambling Services is offering a group for women who have experienced sexual violence and who also use substances (alcohol and drugs) to help with coping.

The group starts on January 7th and will be held at Good Shepherd Women’s Services at 30 Pearl Street North.

For more information about the Survivors & Substance Use group please call Diane (905.525.4573 x224) or Karen (905.546.3606 x2007).

TQZF Winter Survival Tour Now At Homegrown


We’ve moved the Toronto Queer Zine Fair Winter Survival zine reading event to Homegrown Hamilton!

Here are the updated details:

When: Tuesday, December 17th from 2pm to 4pm
Where: Homegrown Hamilton – 27 King William Street, Hamilton ON
Cost: $0-$5 Pay What You Can.  No one turned away because of lack of funds.

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.

This tour is all about survival. What things do we do to survive the winter? What things do we do to survive every day? Lets share our tips, our strategies, our ways of coping, and our stories.


Maranda Elizabeth writes about mental health & illness, genderqueerosity, writing & creativity, self-care & support, and how to create a meaningful daily life. marandaelizabeth.com

Eric Levitt writes zines on the intersection of radical gayness, queerness, body fascism and radical politics.

Eddie O writes about supporting survivors and creating alternative structures of support and mutual aid with a focus on their own experience surviving abuse and recovering from trauma.

Local ‘zinsters are also welcome to read with TQZF on their Hamilton stop. Priority will be given to priority given to people of colour, trans* folks, & non-binary folks.


Find out all the cities that TQZF is stopping at this winter –https://www.facebook.com/events/198607163657101/


Co-presented by SACHA (sacha.ca) and TQZF (http://torontoqueerzinefair.tumblr.com/)


December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (http://www.december17.org/)

Toronto event – organized by Maggies TO and sponsored by The Native Youth Sexual Health Network – https://www.facebook.com/events/184486898412118/?ref_dashboard_filter=calendar

Hamilton event – organized by Big Susie’s (http://www.bigsusies.com/) and volunteer coordination by The AIDS Network – https://www.facebook.com/events/652897461421855/?ref_dashboard_filter=calendar

Awesomeness Today at Westdale Secondary School


I had such a great time chatting with grade nine girls this morning at Westdale Secondary School!

I visited two classes in the morning and we talked about dynamics of sexual assault, myths and lies that we are taught about sexual assault, consent and victim blaming.

It was really awesome to chat with folks about good examples of consent in the media.  Can you think of a TV show or movie that shows characters asking for consent before they get it on?  I would be super curious to know…

As usual, I promised to post some links about what we chatted about:

Thanks to the teachers who invited me into their classrooms and thanks for the students for being so brave and having honest, tough conversations about ending violence in our community.

— erin
Public Educator @ SACHA

Rescheduled! Relocated! Reassuredly Fabulous!


We have rescheduled SACHA’s United Way FUNdraising show.  We have even moved to a bigger venue and added another performer as well!

FFF2---January-18,-2014Fierce. Fabulous. Feminist. No 2 PANCAKE BREAKFAST!

……pancake breakfast with music from women-identified/gender non-conforming  folks……


Griffin Epstein (Toronto) – acoustic sing-alongs with imaginary orchestration. Griffin will be playing a solo show, but you can listen to their full band, The True Believers, here – http://griffinandthetruebelievers.bandcamp.com/album/apostrophe-catastrophe

Jessah (Hamilton)

Kit Wilson-Yang (Toronto) – http://kitwilson-yang.bandcamp.com/

Tanacetum Vulgare (Hamilton) – acoustic jazz-inspired folk, heartwarming and heartwrenching songs that deal with difficult emotions. http://tanacetumvulgare.bandcamp.com/


When: Saturday, January 18th — Breakfast @ 10am. Music @ 11am.

Where: YWCA Senior’s Centre Auditorium – 75 MacNab Street South,  Hamilton ON

Cost: $10 Pay What You Can. NO ONE TURNED AWAY!

Who: People of all ages and genders invited.

Accessibility: The Auditorium is an accessible space including washrooms.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1426242887606347/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular


Presented by SACHA as a FUNdraiser for the United Way.


PS.  Thanks to Jac for suggesting the title of this blog!

Gender Studies in Hamilton High Schools


Yesterday, I had the super exciting opportunity to chat with students from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School.

Gender studies was added to the Ontario curriculum after years of hard work from a dedicated group of feminist activists in the Miss G Project.

The Miss G project began in January 2005 as the somewhat naive dream of a few students at the University of Western Ontario. Kickin’ around a dorm room, listening to tunes, and talking about high school experiences, it occurred to them that they had never encountered an introduction to studies of gender, its intersections with class, race, ability and sexual identity, and its implications in their high school education. Nor did they see women’s perspectives and experiences represented or included in the curriculum as anything more substantial than a tokenistic sidebar in a textbook.

We had a great chat about feminism, sexual assault, rape myths, victim blaming and effective strategies to end violence.

I promised the students that I would share all of the links, videos and articles that I mentioned in class:

  • The amazing PSA created by Rape Crisis Scotland that confronts and busts the lie that women ask for rape by what they are wearing:
  • Project Unbreakable which has pictures of survivors holding signs of with quotes from their abusers:
    project unbreakable
  • Then the awesome bloggers at Sociological Images compared quotes of abusers from Project Unbreakable to the lyrics of Robin Thicke’s song ‘Blurred Lines’:
  • HollaBack! Ottawa’s open letter to the women of Ottawa after there were a series of stranger rapes that were covered by the media:
    “How do we, as advocates, tell young women to protect themselves from their lab partners, their boyfriends, their prom dates, their classmates and their friends? We don’t. We tell men that sexual assault is wrong. We educate young men about consent. We build a society and community that respects women and sees them as equals, not as objects.
    We are deeply concerned for the women who have been hurt. We are deeply concerned about the messages coming from media, safety services and city officials about how to address the problem of sexual violence. We are deeply concerned that we live in a culture that silences those who speak out about sexual assault, shames women who have been assaulted; blames a woman for her assault; a justice system that consistently fails women.”
  • Salon’s article on “How to prevent rape without blaming women”:
    “The notion that the way you dress influences your chance of being raped is just one of the ways that we delude ourselves into believing that rape happens to other women – women who aren’t as smart or cautious.”
  • Ten Rape Prevention Tips:
  • These awesome young truth-speaking poets on the sexification of halloween:
  • Awesome campaigns addressing sexual violence:
    It’s Time… To End Violence Against Women and Girls
    Draw The Line
    Don’t Be That Guy

It was awesome to get the chance to speak to a gender studies class in Hamilton, but I’m wondering if this class is being offered in any other high schools in Hamilton.  Does anyone else know of gender studies being offered in their school?

— erin, erin@sacha.ca