Sexual Assault Advocacy Centre
Social action, or grassroots movement is action that springs up spontaneously due to a pressing issue that a community feels needs to be addressed. Because gender-based violence in the Cowichan Valley is a chronic crisis, our social actions campaigns are consistent and ongoing. Coming together against violence means working collaboratively and engaging each other about the issues. Together, we are stronger.
Our social action events are inclusive of all voices regardless of gender identity or expression. Using our compassion and great sense of humour, our focus is raising awareness and breaking isolation for survivors of gender-based violence. Survivors need an educated, informed community who can step up and become more than a bystander to violence against women.
Community social action steps out of the pyramid paradigm of single leader hierarchy and recognizes the inherent power in the hands, hearts, and minds of the people. Community lead action is the circle paradigm which equalizes power by valuing the necessity of unique individual perspectives. We are all one in the Circle of Life.
A call to action of over 200 countries rising together based on staggering statistics that 1 in 3 women will be beaten or raped in her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls violated – one billion daughters, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunties, lovers and friends.
An “art-turned-protest” display representing the astounding number of Indigenous women and girls lost to violent crime in Canada, and as a call for action to prevent future violence. An empty garment of clothing operates as a marker for those who are no longer with us. Displayed in trees, red dresses become a silent prayer vigil.
An art installation addressing victim blaming and rape myths. Victim blaming implies that survivors of gender-based violence are responsible for anticipating, causing or stopping the violence. Victim blaming obscures the actions offenders take to plan for and overcome the survivor’s resistance. Violence is a choice.
Empowering, celebrating and promoting inclusion, acceptance and respect for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and gender diverse persons. Trans people and bi-sexual women face alarming rates of sexual violence. Stigma and higher rates of discimination are barriers for seeking out resources and reporting sexualized crimes.
Men As Allies
“If we can get the majority of men who don’t use violence against women to speak to the minority of men who do, we know that social change will happen.”
-Tracy Porteous EVA BC
There is a growing global movement of men coming forward as allies to end violence against women, men who recognize that violence against women is just as much a men’s issue, men who challenge patriarchy because toxic masculinity hurts everyone. When men lose status for being bystanders to violence against women, when men lose status in their own peer culture for being abusive, violent, or for objectifying women, when men gain status for speaking out against other men who sexually exploit women, when men as allies become the mentors other men seek approval from, that’s when violence against women will end.
Growing Global Movement of Allied Men
There has been confusion, as well as a lack of leadership for how men should respond to violence against women. Society has not taught men how to effectively respond to other men’s use of violence. We live in a culture of hyper masculinity where men and young boys (and young girls) are inundated with images and messaging that sexually objectifies women’s bodies, and models behaviours that demonstrate what it means to “Man up!” Men need to redefine true masculinity, and we in turn need to support them as they do that.
We develop curriculum and facilitate workshops for local community members and social services organizations under the umbrella of grassroots social action.