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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

HSS SIU Jan 14, 2014 from Campbell Presentation 2

  • 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.


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.

Canada After Bedford – What Now? Part 2


On December 20th, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada struck down three laws surrounding sex work finding that they were unconstitutional.  The court gave the Canadian government a year to come up with alternate laws.

Last week the new suggested laws were announced.  Many folks had issues with them…

From Pivot Legal’s amazing blog post explaining the potential new laws:

This cynical, dystopic model does not resolve the problems that were created by Canada’s existing prostitution laws, which the Court held to be unconstitutional in Bedford, and adds new ones such as the prohibition on buying sex and advertising sexual services. The Charter rights engaged by this proposed law include life, liberty, security of the person, freedom of expression and equality. Arguably all are breached.

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The question can make all the difference


Really interesting post from the folks at Can You Relate? about the way that we ask folks questions about their relationships affects how folks are able to answer.

Can You Relate?

Just imagine you are sitting in your doctor’s office waiting for the doctor and chatting with the medical assistant. Maybe it’s your yearly physical or maybe this is your first visit and you just want antibiotics for a relentless chest cold. All of a sudden she starts running through this list of questions:

  • Have you ever been emotionally or physically abused by your partner or someone important to you?
  • Within the last year, have you been hit, slapped, kicked or otherwise physically hurt by someone? If YES, who? Husband, Ex-Husband, Boyfriend, Stranger, Other? Total number of times?
  • Since you’ve been pregnant, have you been slapped, kicked or otherwise physically hurt by someone? If YES, who? Husband, Ex-Husband, Boyfriend, Stranger, Other? Total number of times?

I would probably answer “no” to all of these questions even if I was experiencing abuse. It is so alienating to boil down the complexities…

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SACHA Support Line Volunteer Information Session


Are you passionate about women’s rights, supporting survivors of sexual assault and ending violence in our community?

Volunteer for SACHA!

There are lots of ways to get involved at SACHA, but we’re especially looking for women-identified folks who would like to volunteer on our 24 Hour Support Line.

As part of SACHA’s work against racism and other oppressions, we strive to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. Women-identified folks who are First Nations, Métis, immigrant, refugee, lesbian, bisexual; women from racialized communities, women with disAbilities and trans women are encouraged to apply.

Have questions about the commitment involved or the amazing in-depth training?  Come meet Sandra and Miriam and ask all of your questions.

When: July 22nd at 5pm
Where: YWCA – 75 MacNab Street South, Hamilton ON – Room 313

There’s no need to RSVP but if you have questions about the information session or volunteering on the Support Line contact:

  • Miriam – Support Line Coordinator –
  • Sandra – Diverse Communities Outreach Coordinator –

Here’s what SACHA volunteers have to say about how volunteering at SACHA has changed their lives: