This month marks the one year anniversary of the release of the Courage to Act Report. We are grateful to all the community members, student advocates, researchers, PSI workers, frontline GBV workers and survivors who have worked with us on this program. The following are just some of the many voices sharing the impact of this groundbreaking project.
When students and their families plan for college, CEGEP or university, they do so with the expectation that it will lead to a brighter future. If the safety of students or those working on campus is compromised, the expectation is that they will receive the same level of care, regardless of which corner of the country they are in. But 41% of all self-reported sexual assaults in Canada are by post-secondary students. Parents, grandparents, students as well as advocates have asked all of us to do better by them.
In January 2019, the government of Canada partnered with Possibility Seeds to move forward on addressing and preventing gender-based violence in colleges, CEGEPs and universities. Thanks to the expertise and wisdom of that group, Canada has its first National Framework to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions. Based on the key recommendations within the report, experts from across Canada are building processes and tools that will support survivors to empower themselves, strengthen communities and prevent further violence. There is more to be done, to be sure. As the federal minister responsible for this work, I draw my inspiration from the student groups, colleges, universities, CEGEPs, unions, community organizations, survivor advocates and front-line professionals working together to move us all forward. – The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
Gender-based violence work is heavy and can feel quite isolating at times. This report and the subsequent communities of practice have brought together people from different backgrounds, expertise and social locations all for the same purpose. The important work that is being done here, born out of the Courage to Act report, not only feeds the soul for me as a participant but also shines a huge light of hope that we have an opportunity to make a positive difference in communities across PSI’s in Canada. – Amie Kroes, Complaints Processes Community of Practice
This work is isolating, and to do this work together has been so meaningful. Gender-based violence isn’t the result of an individual’s failing. It is a systems failure. It requires a system’s response. And when the entire country gets its brightest and best people together to do the work, then it may just be possible to manifest the change we have been advocating for over the past decades. – Robyn Ocean, Frontline GBV Community of Practice
We finally have a way to really talk about issues we’ve not been able to approach before. By broadening these hard discussions out to include people from across the spectrum – advocates, front-line workers, students, supporters, administrators, lawyers, scholars, and so many others – we’ve been able to learn like never before. I’m so grateful to be a part of it. – Deb Eerkes, Complaints Processes Working Group
The project has centred student advocates, providing a platform and supports to bring together the previously siloed work of students across the country. It has created connections across geographies, identities, and roles in gender-based violence work, where we can share resources and build on important work being done. It has shown us that the work students do is valuable, and has demonstrated a set of shared principles and goals that can only be achieved when students have a seat at the table. OUSA is proud to be included amongst the leading experts in gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions across the country. – Britney De Costa, Complaints Processes Working Group
While I worked as a counsellor in a community GBV organization, transitioning to working on campus was a new learning curve and could feel isolating as we struggled to identify the foundation of the position. Courage to Act is uniting silos as we work collectively to formalize the promising practices found across Canada. – Maggie Forsythe, Response and Support Working Group
The work you are doing is so important, significant, and impactful. The #consentisnotcancelled document is a great resource and I am grateful for the resources that continue to be provided via the blog and newsletter. – Jessica Gillingham, formerly of CFS Newfoundland and Labrador
I was interested in joining Courage to Act so I could be part of a community that are all aspiring to end GBV and create communities of equity and safety. – Carla Bertsch, Frontline GBV Community of Practice