The #MeToo movement is shifting the power landscape for women and victims of sexual assault. From Hollywood to our own provincial legislature, consequences for abuse and harassment are becoming very real. At the root of negative attitudes is the way society trains boys to be aggressors and view sexual relationships with girls as an inherent right. In this month’s round-up we explore the changing landscape and learn how we can work for positive and healthy change for all members of society.
As former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein faces criminal charges, the #MeToo movement gains a crucial victory. The list of prominent men accused of bad behaviour towards women continues to build; the latest includes veteran actor Morgan Freeman. The movement has affected the legal frontier with several countries enacting laws that protect victims of sexual abuse and harassment. Read more ….
From the beginning, boys receive negative and confusing messages about relationships with the opposite sex. They come to view sex as a rite of passage to become “real men” and feel they need to prove themselves in the sexual arena. Boys place pressure on girls ranging from persistent pursuit to outright physical intimidation. This article explores ways we can rewrite these scripts and instil healthy attitudes in youth towards sexuality.
Read more …
Closer to home, the handling of a sexual assault conviction of a University of Saskatchewan Huskies athlete proved the increasing political clout of women. In a recent legislature session, NDP interim leader Nicole Sauauer raised the issue of the athlete allowed to play on the team despite the conviction and the comments made by the coach expressing concern for the player rather than the victim. Advanced Education Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor’s response was unequivocal, “Mr. Speaker, I am angry. And this is not OK…” Consequences were rapid; by the end of the day the coach was fired. Sauauer and Beaudry-Mellor galvanized authorities to assume responsibility and take action for change. Read more …
Nicole Cushman, Executive Director of AMAZE, says sex ed might be the answer to America’s (and by extension, Canada’s) sexual assault problem. This op-ed video articulates the need for quality sex education from an early age. Children need to understand the issues of consent, healthy relationships and boundaries to put an end to the culture of rape and sexual assault. Nicole Cushman says AMAZE is “fixing the patchwork” of sex education across America by taking their message online in engaging, age-appropriate sex education resources for youth.
Childbirth can be the most wonderful experience in a woman’s life. For survivors of sexual abuse, birth can trigger feelings of loss of control over one’s own body and buried trauma. Negative maternal experiences are not acknowledged due to society’s insistence on ideal birth and motherhood scenarios. Two Regina women are working to address the gaps in education and public conversation with tools and resources for survivors.
This comic by Jim C. Hines deftly skewers the double standard directed towards survivors and illustrates the no-win situation many face when they report the crime. Staying silent means the issue is not addressed and speaking out results in blame and disbelief levelled at survivors.
The culture of blame and shame ~ society’s negative attitudes towards women and sexual assault.
With increased media attention and high profile cases, more people are coming forward with their own, personal stories of sexual violence. Would you know what to do if someone told you they were the victim of sexual abuse or assault? Would you know how to react appropriately, what their options are, or the appropriate community agencies for referral?
Many professionals in the health and mental healthcare fields are likely to be the first person a survivor shares their story with—and that first interaction can make or break the survivor’s decision to move forward with a rape kit at the hospital, getting mental health support, or police reporting.
It’s no small thing being trusted with someone’s story of sexual abuse, so we know you want to be prepared.
The Saskatoon Sexual Assault & Information Centre (SSAIC) is excited to offer a 2-day intensive course called First Responder to Sexual Assault Training™. The course content was developed and trademarked by the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS), and SSAIC has two accredited facilitators who can offer this training in our home community of Saskatoon.
The First Responder to Sexual Assault model draws from the idea of first aid. The job of the first responder to sexual assault is not to know all the answers, or to counsel the victim, but rather to provide psychological first aid. The goal here is to empower the person who shares this painful information to decide on their own plan with help from professionals (a counsellor, a doctor, or the police).
Just as civilians are trained to handle emergency medical situations, we can train people how to respond to a disclosure of sexual assault so that the victim feels believed and supported. Individuals who complete the First Responder to Sexual Assault Training will leave with the necessary background knowledge of sexual violence in various forms (childhood sexual abuse, barriers to disclosure, communication techniques, and community referrals) so that they are prepared to connect with the victim in the very short term and help them determine how they want to move forward.
The First Responder to Sexual Assault Training will be offered for the first time November 29 and 30, 2017 at the Saskatoon Community Service Village. There are only 12 spots, but we will create a waiting list for when the training is offered again in March and those on the list will be offered first right of refusal.
What: First Responder to Sexual Assault Training
When: November 29 and 30, 2017
Time: 8:30am – 5pm (two full-day sessions)
Where: Saskatoon Community Service Village (506 25 Street East)
Cost: $125; meals and training materials provided
Registration: Please call Megan Evans at 306-244-2294 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration deadline: Wednesday, November 22 at 12pm
If you’ve been following our webpage and social media, you are likely aware that we maintain a 24-hour Crisis Line, run by a team of fabulous volunteers. They do a lot of listening and encouraging, and every one of them is prepared to get out of bed to go meet a sexual assault survivor at the hospital for medical intervention. Volunteers: we couldn’t do our work without them!
Now, this difficult situation has been made a little more comforting because of Amber Ly at Campus Medicine Shoppe. The U of S recently held its annual Sexual Assault Awareness Week, during which time we began working more closely with Amber. We talked about how their branch might do something to make a difference for survivors; they decided to create “self-care kits” that will be provided to survivors following their medical / forensic examinations. We have just received the first delivery of the kits and will be making sure the hospitals have a supply available for distribution.
We’ll be monitoring the distribution of the kits, as well as any feedback from survivors. For now, we want to extend a big thanks to Amber at Campus Medicine Shoppe.
In the kits:
Hair brush & hair elastic
Toothbrush & toothpaste
Body wash & body sponge
Shampoo & conditioner
Underwear & panty liners
Same toiletries as above plus…
Razor & shave foam
Help SSAIC support victims of sexual violence.