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I'm here to tell you that I'm not playing along. If my talking openly about being vulnerable makes you feel uncomfortable, then tough shit.
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Police are looking for four young men.
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Everyone needs to know about this.
In a country that prides itself in its gender-equal cabinet, the question of whether or not Parliament Hill is a safe space for women is rarely discussed. From hateful and misogynistic comments to sexual assault, women in Canadian politics continue to be targets of violence at various stages of their careers.
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There are still no resources to speak of for girls with disabilities facing violence, even though they experience violence at higher rates and more frequently than any other group of young women and girls in Canada. The rates of sexual, physical, verbal and systemic violence are at least three times higher.
Prison rape: it's a common trope in television and movies. How often is the "don't drop the soap," joke casually tossed around? But what's the reality for sexual violence survivors in prisons? We spoke with El Jones and Mooky Cherian to learn more.
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News headlines about sexual assault are too common, but stories of survivors and their realities are not commonly spoken. As part of Social Justice Week at Ryerson University, sexual assault survivors have shared their emotions in Lost Words, art workshops led by Toronto illustrator Hana Shafi.
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Children and youth under the age of 18 are the most at risk for sexual assault in Canada, followed by young people aged 18-24, according to Statistics Canada. This issue is critically important to young people, but so often, older adult voices are prioritized.
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The rate of violent victimization is 2.5 times higher for Canadians who identify as gay or lesbian, as opposed to those who identify as straight. For those who identify as bisexual, it's four times higher. While there's been increased media attention to stories of sexual violence recently, queer women's stories are often left out of the picture.
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While cisgender men are much less likely to experience sexual violence than women and trans folks, it doesn't mean that men can't be survivors of violence. We sat down separately with anti-violence advocates Glen Canning and Derek Warwick to hear more about how we can ensure men who are survivors aren't erased from the conversation.
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Having been a counsellor and crisis interventionist, I have supported people who only began dealing with horrible experiences after a trigger in their environment. And far as emotional triggers around sexual abuse go; this election is a doozy.
Quite often, visibly Muslim women receive the worst of Islamophobic violence and harassment. And when they face violence from within their communities, Muslim women may be unlikely to report it, knowing that their communities are already over-policed.
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Survivors of sexual violence may not be able to watch Parker's work for similar reasons, and that's fine. But don't sit it out on principle. In the year of Black Lives Matter, #HollywoodSoWhite and a certain presidential candidate, Parker's questionable past doesn't disqualify him from advancing urgent conversations about race and American history.
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While "cyberviolence" has been a hot topic for the past few years, recent months have put a spotlight on the misogynistic and racist sexual violence and harassment enacted online. More than two-thirds of Canadians who report cyber crimes to the police are women, according to Statistics Canada.
More and more, we're hearing stories of sexual violence being told publicly and receiving sustained media attention. This is, arguably, a turning point in the national conversation about sexual violence and gender-based violence in Canada. But whose stories are being included in the conversation? Which survivors' voices are heard?
When it comes to sexual violence, people with disabilities are often the most vulnerable. Research shows that women with disabilities are three times as likely to be forced into sexual activity (Vecova). But where are the stories of sexual violence survivors with disabilities?
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I think it's safe to say that as a society, we are rather risk-averse. We are eager to walk a smoother path, and are naturally drawn to life hacks, shortcuts and workarounds. But are we doing ourselves, and more importantly our children, a disservice by sidestepping the lessons of adversity?
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When we see stories of sexual violence against sex workers, we often aren't told that a sexual assault happened. The assumptions are the same: that it's not sexual assault if a person sometimes accepts payment for sex. That you can't rape a sex worker you're paying. That the sex worker asked for it. This couldn't be farther from the truth.
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Advocates say there are more than 1200 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, but these stories seldom garner national press. And Indigenous women in the provinces report a rate of violent victimization that is about 2.5 times higher than the rate for non-Indigenous women. We spoke with two Indigenous advocates and experts about what we should be talking about when it comes to sexual violence and Indigenous communities.
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One of the ways anti-Black racism manifests is the way we talk about (or don't talk about) sexual violence perpetrated against the Black community. While Canadian statistics don't gather victimization data by race, we know that Black communities are among the most underserved and marginalized groups in Canada, making Black women and trans folks among the most vulnerable to sexual violence
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I am thankful to Mandi Gray. It takes immense bravery to report sexual assault and endure an 18-month trial. Especially when confronting a system that regularly fails women. We have a system that was built broken and does not support survivors of sexual assault.
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The critical importance of bringing women into peace-building in a transformative way is still not part of the worldview of the majority working in this area. All too often "women, peace and security" investments are perceived as luxuries or marginal after-thoughts.
"Most, if not all, mainstream feminism only represents a certain kind of person. Of course, we're talking about white, middle class, able-bodied, cisgender women." Too often, says Kai, marginalized communities such as trans folks aren't given a platform to talk about the issues, like sexual violence, that impact them.
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I am calling on all Canadians to empower girls because we live in a globally connected world where rape and other forms of gender-based violence are pervasive. Canadians must realize that we are only as strong as our most vulnerable and that girls are among the most vulnerable population in the world.
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Indigenous women and children are especially vulnerable.
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There are many cases of sexual assault and harassment that never get reported, because our society normalizes them. Most women have had these experiences in a bar, in the street, in the gym, in a place of work, by a friend, by a co-worker, by a partner. Unwanted sexual touching and groping is ALWAYS sexual assault. We need to see this, name it and end it.
"Be kind to people you love, especially today."
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This bar encourages women to alert bar staff if their dates make them feel unsafe or if they receive unwanted attention from other customers. The sign posted in the women's washroom reads: "Your safety and happiness is our highest priority." Not surprisingly, support for this policy has reverberated across the Atlantic.
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It has become abundantly clear to me that, following the shameful example set by the Canadian justice system, McGill breeds predators, lacks adequate mechanisms to support its students, and refuses to put any in place. And in the past year, I have watched myself fall through its cracks.
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In their 1968 research into the bystander effect, Bibb Latané and John Darley explained that people who are alone will more likely intervene on someone's behalf over those who are with others. This is due to the "diffusion of responsibility" in which an individual's sense of responsibility is weakened or minimized by the presence of others.
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If you can just follow all of these simple steps start-to-finish, without any slip ups, and you can definitively prove that you're the right kind of girl and the right kind of victim, then maybe the judge won't have to give you a big ol' lecture while he's reading the "not guilty" verdict.
There is no one common reaction to sexual assaults. Survivors' behaviours following such traumatic events can vary from minimizing the incident and pretending everything is fine (e.g. kissing and cuddling in the park, or writing gushing love letters, as DuCoutere did following the assault); to suppressing the incident altogether, essentially blocking it from your memory; to blaming yourself, somehow, in an attempt to rationalize the trauma. It is not unusual in my caseload to see women, years after the fact, still believing they were somehow responsible for the incident.