new, Updates and Press Releases
Recently, a national discussion has been developing online and in the media regarding sexual violence within sports organizations, most notably Hockey Canada.
As a Sexual Assault Support Centre, we stand with all survivors of sexual violence, including those who have experienced harm by athletes. We know serious problems exist at the root of sports culture that too often result in sexual violence. These problems include:
These problems culminate in what is termed rape culture. It is a fact that the harm caused by rape culture in sports organizations and our broader communities predominately impacts women, girls, and gender-diverse people. And because sexism, racism, and colonialism intersect, Black, Indigenous, and racialized women and girls are at even greater risk of being harmed. Sports organizations and athletes must address the issue of sexual violence in sports to build safer communities for all.
Knowing this, working with athletes has been a focus of our Male Allies Program since 2008. Our Leading by Example training supports athletes in becoming community champions in areas such as healthy masculinity and consent. In 2016, we co-created a curriculum for the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) called OHL Onside, and we have been involved in training OHL players since that time.
Due to our experience educating for social change within sports organizations, Hockey Canada recently contacted our Public Education team. They requested specialized training for athletes, team staff and Hockey Canada staff in Calgary over the course of the summer. (Read more in their Action Plan.)
To support the delivery of Leading by Example workshops, SASC reached out in partnership to Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse (CCASA), the primary sexual harassment, sexual abuse and sexual assault crisis, counselling and education service provider for Calgary and the surrounding areas. Together our two organizations are in the process of delivering training to different cohorts, covering topics such as healthy masculinity, consent, the continuum of harm, and bystander intervention through interactive activities and discussions.
We believe anti-sexual violence training is a powerful tool for creating social change. That said, for meaningful change to take hold, training needs to be reinforced by an ongoing, fulsome strategy within sports organizations to address sexual violence to shift rape culture within sports. As part of these efforts, governments, sports organizations, and corporations need to recognize the expertise of community-based sexual assault centres across Canada and fund them to provide training to local athletic organizations. If you are a representative from one of these groups, and want to be part of funding this work, please reach out to our Centre
We know that men and boys, with their unique ability and responsibility, have an essential role to play as allies in the work to end sexual violence. We encourage our community to connect with us to learn how our Male Allies Program can support your group or organization.
Finally, if you are a survivor of sexual violence in Waterloo Region, we are reaching out to you. You are not alone. Our 24-Hour Support Line is available anytime, night, or day at 519-741-8633. To learn more about our services, visit sascwr.org.
For Ontarians seeking support outside of Waterloo Region, visit sexualassaultsupport.ca
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