HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR Fellow Travellers and Life Livers!!! It’s been a while since I have written. You are still owed a report on my first Conversations on Consent with the Young Men…it is coming, for some reason I am finding it hard to just spit that one out.
I realize that my need to tell every part of the story can sometimes get in the way of just getting the story told. So I am working on an easier format for myself that allows me to just get things posted and out quicker.
That being said…yesterday I had the 1st Conversations on Consent for 2014 and the 2nd one with the Sister to Sister young ladies of Tropicana Community’s Scarborough Youth Center. My second topic on the Conversations in Consent is Assault. As the universe would have it a powerfully moving documentary called the Invisible War, played on PBS the night before and I happened to catch it. It is a heart-wrenching account of stories of Women in the US Military who have faced all KINDS of Sexual Assault while serving in what is supposed to be the most powerful army in the world. What turned out to be worse for me watching this was the complete failing of the US Military Organization where this issue is concerned. A trailer for the doc is below….It’s a MUST WATCH!
I spent some time speaking to the young women about this documentary and it turned out to be the perfect lead as we walked into the dark and destructive world of assault. As usual we started with general definitions and then went specifically into Sexual Assault definitions. I tend to leave the conversations as unscripted as possible so we get to dive deep and wide into our topic. This turns out to be effective as what I learned from these conversations is how much talks like this are important for creating clarity.
The young ladies shared lived experiences, some of which they were unclear as to whether they should be defined as assault or violations. In most of the cases it turned out they were being at the very least harassed and even threatened, so being able to provide them with an understanding of what is defined as assault and what they can do about it proved valuable.
In addition they raised deeper questions around why Women are treated differently which allowed us to explore concepts as big as patriarchy and gender power politics in our own and other cultures and institutions. You can imagine that the time is never enough to truly dig deep enough into these complicated topics.
I therefore tried to keep them focused on the power that lies within their own person. The ability to SPEAK up loudly and firmly to resist any suggestion of violation or assault. The fact that they should expect when they Say NO it should be firmly and clearly stated so that STOP is the only meaning understood. Also The power that comes from standing up and supporting each other when they see others being violated and/ or assaulted.
The importance of safe action i.e gathering as much information as possible and taking it to authority as opposed to trying to confront the situation solely on their own. Using technology to aid them where possible to capture images or video of violations to strengthen their positions and use as evidence when or if required.
Before we knew it my time with the ladies was up and we had to barrel out of the room to make way for the Man Up Group who meet right after. Hence the lack of photo’s from yesterday’s session. But here is one of me and one of the most active participants in our discussions!
Every time I meet with my young participants I am empowered and emboldened in this quest to raise awareness and to push harder to accomplish this goal.
I want to always thank Tropicana Community Services specifically the staff at the Scarborough Youth Resource Center for the opportunity to converse with these amazing young people!
Raising It Up!
I am officially 6.5 weeks away from the Summit! so I clearly need to ramp my fundraising efforts right the way up! Support the NO MEANS STOP! Campaign. We are raising funds to Support Tropicana Community Services Violence Against Women Programs and to build programs that are specifically designed to educate and empower Boys & Young Men around issues of Consent.
If you’d like to support online don’t hesitate to hit click here —> GO FUND ME Widget or scroll up to the right of the page and hit the Go Fund Me Button there. You can also send me a note in the comments below if you’d prefer donate or lend your support in another way! I am happy to come to your Social Gathering, Business group or event to talk about this Journey! Share the Image Below.
I have attached the Official Press Release —> Kilimanjaro Climb to Raise Awareness PR Jan2014, in case you require some easy background to Share with your Network!
Help Get Me to The TOP! Together we CAN be the Change we all want to see in this world!
As Always I am yours
A Traveling Black Chick!