It has been…. a year. Difficult and amazing all at the same time.

It has also been a year that we’ve experienced such strong SACHA support.

We wanted to highlight some of the folks who raised money for us this year. These folks made our hearts sing:


  • Jay Robb had the great idea to donate the money he would’ve spent on a ticket to see Bill Cosby to SACHA instead.

jay robb


  • McMaster’s Student Union Arts and Science choir gave proceeds from a dinner to SACHA
  • Feminist Tinder raised money for SACHA by selling sarcastic mugs
  • Hammer City Roller Girls ran 50/50 draws all summer at Rockin’ the Waterfront Cruise Nights
  • Kabuki Spa had raffles year round and proceeds from their holiday open house
  • White Elephant donated 5% proceeds of one day of sales
  • In February, we raised the most money we have ever raised for SACHA at Chocolate Fest.

cf cat

Thank you Hamilton. We hear you. We are feeling your love. We certainly do appreciate it. You are making a difference for survivors and showing us that you want a world without violence.

Supports During the Holiday Season


Holiday season: for some it’s a happy season, for some – not so much. For some it can actually be a time of loneliness and dark despair.

SACHA’s 24 hour support line will be available 24/7 to support survivors of sexual violence – and their friends and family. 905-525-4162.

There will also be some supports and activities offered by the Mental Health Rights Coalition (MHRC) and the Barrett Centre.  MHRC drop in will be open 11 am- 4pm Dec 25-Jan 1. Activities will run from 1-3 pm.

Highlights include:
Christmas lunch & carols
Gingerbread house decorating
Baked apples
Stress Balls
…and more

Download the schedule here

JESSICA JONES – Elaborating from Last Time


by Amelia Herman

This post comes from 500 different places. The bike in the next room; the yoga mat beside it. The kitchen sink at Ms. D’s place two years ago. The bathtub. The sofa. The passenger’s seat. Under the covers night and night and night again, and some mornings as I recover from what is “all in my head”. 

Those are just a few immediate examples.

Today, I find myself missing a fairly new friend. We hung out over the course of a week and I quickly got to know her very well, into the grungiest corners of her mind. And that was two weeks ago. Today I miss hanging out with my fictional friend…

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working with a excellent feminist sexual assault centre like SACHA, you’re probably fairly knowledgeable on how manipulative abuse works. 

You’ve maybe seen the Wheel of Power & Control . Perhaps you’ve learned about how to Listen to, Validate, provide some options, and express Appreciation for survivors’ stories. There’s a good chance you’ve even read from a wide variety of sources citing the dangers of a culture of sexism while unshakably coming up with myriads of suggestions for un-weaving the patriarchy’s webs.

So, when you finally decided to watch Netflix’s  Jessica Jones, you just got it.

Here are 9 ways (*spoiler alert*) Jessica Jones is doing work that complements the work rad feminists and feminist organizations like SACHA have been doing for decades:

1. Jessica Jones listens

4594059-raqpnmwCreations like the Jessica Jones series (though really, there are truly few creations quite like this one) are not the product of a lucky guess. The original comic on which the series is based, “Alias” was not pulled from thin air with a random idea its creators had. The scripts and production and actors behinds the characters of Jessica Jones didn’t merely take a guess at what these experiences might be like for those who go through them.

The collection the ideas and concepts and information that make Jessica Jones powerful and awesome in the truest sense of the term is the product of people who listened.

They listened to women; they engaged with material about survivor’s experiences; they kept current with applicable modern feminist values. They heard those stores because they took the time to listen to them.

Throughout the series, we see Jessica’s best friend, Trish, hear Jessica out and listen to her needs. We see what happens for Hope, one of Jessica’s abuser’s other victims, when Jessica offers to listen. Jessica later listens to Trish. Malcom listens to Jessica. There are lots of moments of real people given other real people opportunities to share their experiences.

Which is what makes the next point possible:

2. Jessica Jones validates

How do we know that Jessica Jones isn’t what some might dismiss as a “crazy b*tch”? I mean, it might seem a bit foggy for some. Flashbacks, isolation, erratic behaviours.

Crazy? Nope. Traumatized? Yes. Continue reading

SACHA Welcomes Refugees


IMG_0217Hamilton is busy preparing to welcome refugees from Syria.

SACHA is also prepared to welcome newcomers who are also needing support because of recent or historical sexual assaults.

You are not alone.

انت لست وحدك.


Multicultural Women’s Sewing Circle Graduation


Garlands, eye masks, slippers, aprons, warm winter toques! SACHA’s sewing room was piled high last week with amazing projects entirely made by participants.

We give our biggest congratulations and highest of fives to all women in the sewing circle. There was so much bravery and kindest shown as women got to know each other and shared skills and life stories.

End Violence Against Trans Women


By Jian Qing (Kit) Wilson-Yang

Jia Qing (Kit) Wilson-Yang is a mixed race trans woman living in Toronto. She current works coordinating a research project on trans women and HIV and has worked on a project focused on trans women and sexual violence, art projects with trans youth, and as a youth outreach worker in north Toronto.

She spoke at Ontario’s Summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment as a part of the panel on seeding generational change and empowering youth voices.

Good morning. Thank you for having me here today. I’m here, because of the incredible efforts of so many trans women who have worked for our rights, inclusion, and existence to be recognized. To me, many of these women are elders, and many of them are the youth and peers I am privileged to work with.

Work that has been done and work that is being done, by trans women young and old, makes my being here possible.

I want to bring a few names into the room today with me. Kimberly Nixon. While she may not have won ultimately in the courtrooms of British Columbia, her fight is an example to us of how real and current the exclusion of trans women is in women’s spaces. Marsha P Johnston. Silvia Rivera. Two sex working trans women of colour who brought us the first ‘gay pride’ among many other things, though a walk through any ‘gay village’ may not tell you that.

Sex workers have had the backs of trans women for decades longer than most of our allies today. It is vital that the work of sex workers be recognized as work, and that their contributions and work with tens of thousands of men in this country be understood, as Vivian Namaste says ‘for the political contribution that it is’. To all of the people I have worked with and been inspired by, thank you.

Thank you elders, thank you youth and thank you allies old and new.

Violence is an exclusionary act. The act of murdering, attacking and assaulting all send a clear message, we don’t want you to feel like you have power here. Continue reading

Be Kind To Yourself


When the stories of survivors are told in ways that are actually compelling in the media, it’s easy to get drawn in.

Sometimes – no matter how sensitively a survivor’s story is told – it can still be triggering.

Maybe the details of abuse, the coping strategies used or the healing journey bring up difficult memories and emotions for you.

Remember, it is always ok to decide to not watch a show, listen to a song or read a book if it makes you uncomfortable.

Be kind to yourself. As Audre Lorde – feminist writer and activist – once said “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

audre lorde

SACHA’s 24 Hour Support Line is always here to listen – 905.525.4162.

Banner image by Chi Bird.

Canadian Federation of Students Working to End Sexual Violence


By Gabrielle Ross-Marquette

Gabrielle Ross-Marquette represents student unions in Ontario to the Canadian Federation of Students. This sees her mobilizing post-secondary students around issues of accessible and affordable education, equity, social justice and ending sexual violence. She is also an Acadian, a writer, a knitter, a TV watcher, a wanderer and a dreamer.

Gabrielle presented to It’s Never OK: Ontario’s Summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment:

rape culture example SVAP

This picture was taken in the dark, basement level hallways of the Colonel By building of the University of Ottawa campus. I want you to imagine, just for a second, that you are a woman-identified engineering graduate student, walking the halls after you’ve locked up your lab for the night. How would seeing those words make you feel about your campus, about your colleagues, about your community?

Students on campuses across the country face sexual violence in all of its forms on an all too frequent basis. We’ve all seen or heard about the notorious incidents through mainstream media, so there is no need to rehash the violence that was spewed through chants, Facebook chats or the blogosphere, though I want to reiterate over and over again that these incidents may be the ones that became notorious in mainstream media, but are not isolated nor unique to particular campuses. This is the culture students across this province and country face when they get up in the morning to head to class, to volunteer, to work. This is a rape culture where sexual violence is so normalized that it is rendered invisible and inevitable. Continue reading

#December6 – Time to End Injustice


by Kojo Damptey

Kojo “Easy” Damptey is a music producer, songwriter, keyboardist, composer and filmmaker. He was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. At the age of 17 he moved to Hamilton, to pursue an education at McMaster University studying Chemical Engineering. Kojo Damptey is working daily to speak out and take a stand against the violence that women too often face in Hamilton.  Check out his song Broken Promises which supports the work of Interval House.

Martin Luther King is credited with the quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.[1] This quote epitomizes humanity’s desire to at least create a society where we are our brother and sister’s keeper.

Nonetheless there are a number of gigantic injustices plaguing our society today, one of which is gender-based violence. On this issue we have failed to address the root causes and when I say “we” I mean “men”.

In Canada, every time December 6th rolls around we are reminded of the gruesome act at Ecole Polytechnique; where a male shooter shot 28 people, killing 14 women, before committing suicide. Since, that tragedy we have been reminded that there needs to be more work done to end violence against women.

As a man involved in community work I feel it is necessary to create spaces where “men” can contribute in tangible ways to end violence against women. Here are my thoughts:

Paulo Freire explains oppression as any situation in which “A” exploits “B” or hinders his and her pursuit of self-affirmation as a responsible person is one of oppression; and mostly this situation constitutes violence.[2] Based on this definition there is no doubt that our current society has a problem whereby men continuously exploit women in all forms of life.

This “acceptable phenomenon” has created a society that supports the perpetuation of condoning men’s behavior in situations of violence while victimizing women that have experienced different forms of violence. This atmosphere of victimizing women ensures that men who are involved in acts of violence continue to use their power and control to further oppress women. Continue reading