Tag Archives: sexual assault

Start By Believing

On this episode, we tackle the culture of unbelieving surrounding cases of sexual assault. First, we discuss the origins of the #MeToo movement. Then we speak with Debra Tomlinson, the CEO of the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS), about improving responder education with the #IBelieveYou movement, and the importance of believing survivors of sexual assault.

To find sexual assault services near you in Alberta:
To find a sexual assault services in other parts of Canada:

Links: How to Address Sexual Violence, Feminism and Dating, and Being Better Allies

Combating sexual violence is a key part of the movement for social justice.

Why is it so important to remember these connections? Because it has a big impact on our tactics. Without understanding the broader connections, combatting sexual violence gets simplified into just educating women about safety when going out at night.

Combating sexual violence gets simplified into telling young girls not to talk to strangers.

Combating sexual violence gets simplified into telling women to dress more modestly.

Combating sexual violence gets simplified into relying on the criminal (in)justice system to protect us from violence.

Combating sexual violence is not simple, and its elimination is going to require a big picture strategy that takes into account all of the factors that contribute to its existence.

I had a friend who gave me a copy of Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov. I was frustrated that an intelligent, independent woman was getting her advice from a book like that. There are also plenty of books written by men about dating for women. [Travis L. Stork’s] Don’t Be That Girl was probably the most appalling book I’ve ever read. Each chapter was a caricature of a woman – Busy Girl, Needy Girl, Whiny Girl – and advice on how not to be that girl, including, “Don’t talk about your job too much” and “Don’t ask when he’s going to call.” These dating books fall into a long tradition of men diagnosing women and their nervousness.

It glosses over substantial differences in experience in a way that can be hurtful, insulting and alienating.  After Prop 8 banned same-gender marriage in California, gay news magazine the Advocate published a cover story that declared that “gay is the new black.”  The problem is, this is frequently stated by white queer people.  And while white queer people have historically experienced hate crimes, police raids, and a whole lot more, we haven’t been lynched, been forced to sit at the back of the bus, or experienced the accumulation of oppression over generations on a single family or neighborhood.  Black/African-American communities have.  Intentional or not, claiming that “gay is the new black” is deeply disrespectful, and it’s often experienced as such.

News: Ontario Police Sued by Sexual Assault Survivor, Women Making Less Time for Friends, and Gender Gap at Crown Corporations

  • A woman has sued the Ontario police after being terribly mistreated by them after she was assaulted by Russell William, having her case poorly investigated, and for not being warned prior to her assault that assaults were occurring in her  town. Big trigger warning.

News: BDSM and abuse, Lesbian heroes ignored by mainstream media, and Sexual violence and mental illness

On BDSM and abuse – how they are not the same thing but do, of course, at times cross paths. The author, in response to a comment, said this:

I really really really want to feel sure that as BDSM becomes more destigmatized — a process that appears to be happening independent of me and other feminist BDSM writers — that its communication/consent techniques are popularized as well. I want people who engage in these relationships to be understood, but I also really really really don’t want BDSM to be used as a shield to cover abusers.

By and large, in the wake of the tragedy in Norway the mainstream media has ignored the fact that a married lesbian couple saved 40 teenagers.

The tie between mental illness and sexual violence is strong in survivors. This is one way of many which sexual violence is terrible for your health (I wouldn’t be surprised if physical illness what also connected).


News: Man Catches Sexual Assault Perpetrator, Better Housing Needed on Reserves, and Preserving Languages


  • A boy was sexually assaulted today in Edmonton. While this is obviously terrible (and it would be better if it could have been prevented before anyone was harmed), the fact that a bystander, after being told by the child what happened and who did it, went after the perpetrator, chasing him down and holding him until police came is really great news. Too often children (and other survivors) aren’t believed when they disclose about a sexual assault. This man didn’t spend any time doubting the account and took the attack very seriously. Good job, and thank you!

An evaluation of the federal government’s involvement in housing on First Nations reserves over 13 years confirms what critics have long contended: Ottawa is not keeping up with housing support, and conditions are actually getting worse.


At the same time, housing is often sub-standard and quickly falls apart. The audit says there is not enough funding to pay for maintenance and upkeep.

There are serious health and safety consequences for communities when housing is allowed to crumble, the report warns.

Overcrowding is still a major problem, although not as bad as in the past, the report adds. The proportion of houses considered overcrowded has dropped by a third over 13 years, but it is still six times higher than for non-aboriginal Canadians.

  • University of Alberta’s Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute graduates are working to protect and sustain their traditional languages. Maintaining different languages is important because they are not value neutral – other languages bring other worldviews. As well, losing language is linked to many other social problems.