Wednesday, November 14, 2012

THE LINK CAMPAIGN: Men speaking out and taking a stand to end violence against women

The Link Campaign: Men Taking A Stand To End Violence Against Women

By traveling to the rural areas of Antigonish, Port Hawksbury, Guyborough, Paqtnkek, Canso and Sherbrooke, artist and media consultant Cara Jones has begun to take portraits of men, linking their passion and drive to take a stand and end violence against women.

This project is part of the Antigonish Women Resource Centre's, Resisting Violence Project: Rural Women and Girls Take Action. Stay tuned for more photos over the next couple of months.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This was written by a youth leader, Mary Jo, and published in the school newspaper:

Halloween is just around the corner. The time of year where you can pretend to be anything you want. However, this has me questioning what teen girls want to be because, last time I checked, fire-fighters and police did not dress in fishnets. I'm not saying we should break out our turtle necks and petticoats to the next dance, but we should consider the underlying issue when it comes to behaviour and attire at school functions.
Self-esteem is a major concern for girls, not only at Dr. J, but throughout the western world. Insecurities, brought about by media pressure, plague women and girls. Approximately one in five women will have suffered from an eating disorder within their lifetime. Some of which will seek reassurance desperately by trying to maintain the attention of someone of the opposite gender. This behaviour is clearly demonstrated in our school at the dances.  Girls are willing to objectify themselves in order to be supplied with confidence about their bodies.
My question is why? Why are we willing to hurt and degrade ourselves in order to feel good about something we don't control? When it comes down to it, we can't (within reasonable means) change our appearance, it's genetics. Why do we bother being proud or ashamed of our looks? People are worth so much more than that. Girls should be proud of abilities they've worked to achieve, like being smart, athletic or talented. That way, maybe next time we go to a dance, we'll reconsider what we wear. Perhaps we'll decide that we don't need to be objectified, because we know we're worth more.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our middle school years can be some of the influential and confusing times in our lives.  If we had the opportunity to go back and speak to our twelve year old selves, what advice would we give? What words of encouragement would we share?

These are the voices of the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre.  Please enjoy this inspiring video.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Community Feedback Meeting 
Hypersexualization Action Plan

Youth in the community of Canso have identified hypersexualization and media pressure as a problem in their lives. 

With the support of the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre & Sexual Assault Services Association, They have been developing a plan to counter the effects of hypersexualization on young men and women in Canso. 

The hypersexualization of women in the media and culture has becoming a growing concern over the past 10 years.  How is it are these false representations of women and girls affecting our culture and the increase in violence towards women?


These young leaders are seeking feedback, constructive criticism, ideas, support, and help from the community in refining and realizing this action plan. 

Where: Canso Library

When: Wednesday, Sept. 5th from 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Who: Anyone and everyone living in the Canso area is wanted and welcome to attend.

* Snacks will be provided *

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Education is the Best Prevention Strategy Against Violence

I have been helping out a co-worker of mine with research for her Resisting Violence: Rural Women and Girls TakeAction project. So for days I have been reading and rereading articles about Women’s Rights, Activism, Feminism, Law and Education. Today I was reading through a journal called Canadian Women Studies and found an interesting article that really struck home for me!
 I had probably skipped by the article about ten times before I finally took the time to read it. The title “Sustainable Justice through Knowledge Transfer” didn’t seem like it would really connect with the project I was helping with, which is probably why I passed by it so much, eventually my curiosity gave in. I read the sub-text; Sex Education and Youth by Jessica Yee. I have been a fan of Jessica Yee since she came to my community to train me and two others to be youth facilitators in our community. It is because of her that I am trained to teach sexual education to youth!

 I quickly became engaged in the article, no longer for any benefit but my own personal interest. This article really stuck with me, it was exactly what she had spoken to me about when she was training. The article explains why good-quality education is important for our youth and that every program delivered must be specially designed to accommodate who it is being delivered to. Through the entire article I got many great messages, however, the message that I had deemed the most important would be that Education is the most effective prevention method, especially in violence against women.  

 I really found it interesting how she explained the difficulties of teaching youth about sexual health and how she chose to overcome oppression from teachers and parents who thought that her training was irrelevant. The struggles that she had experienced are very similar to what other educators and facilitators can relate too. The article over all is interesting, enlightening, and honest! Yee writes about many things that are often overlooked especially in Sex Ed. She lists what creates a healthy person, a healthy relationship, and pleasurable and safe sex. I loved the article, it helped me appreciate myself and realize the common issues that rise when facilitating a workshop and how to solve them.

Canadian Women Studies is a great feminist journal with many interesting articles on a variety of topics! I urge everyone to read it, and get a fresh, feminist view on common issues in our world.

- Guest writer Kathleen Shy

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is comedy about sexual assault acceptable?


This morning as I was driving to my job, a job that assists women and girls in taking action to prevent violence, I heard this interview on CBC.  Many of you might have heard of Daniel Tosh getting in trouble with a heckler for making a rape joke.   In this episode of The Current, I think that it is educational for men and women of what is expectable in comedy and what is not.  Take a listen.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Media Messages and Insecurities

Lately I started to hear myself and I wondered what happened to the feminist artist that I use to be.  The one that spoke about body image, confidence and the power of self.  I know I am still this woman, but her voice became muzzled by the "realities" of trying to raise a child and the overwhelming need make enough money to feed and support us both.

Then the other day I noticed that each time I went to my mother's house I would stand on the scale.  "Damn" I would think, "I need to loose 10 pounds!"  If I could only be ten pounds lighter...  I began secretly looking at all the slim quick products on the Walmart shelf and each time I passed the mirror I thought, "Where did these gray hairs come from, and what's up with the wrinkles under my eyes?"

Yep, I had begun to age; after hearing these thoughts, as I stared in the mirror, I realized how much pressure I put on myself and my appearance.  It was fine when I was the little hippie girl that danced at Evolve in my flowing skirt who announced to the world that, "it didn't matter what you looked like as long as you were happy," because I was only 22, tall and skinny, no gray hairs or wrinkles in sight.  It also didn't matter that now, at 34, people still only think I am 25, in the end I felt inadequate.  OMG...I felt inadequate?  Where the hell did this come from?

I couldn't help but flashback to the previous year when a good friend of mine took me through an inner child exercise.  She had me close my eyes and picture myself standing in front of mirror, she asked "How old are you in the mirror?"  The rule of this game was I had to answer quickly without thinking and I responded, "28" without missing a beat.  She continued, "Now I want you to look down and next to you there is your child self, how old is she, describe her to me."

Again I responded with ease, "She is 12, she has big plastic glasses, freckles and a homemade perm." What was interesting was I could have picked any age, why did I pick twelve?  I realized in that moment that was the year that my life became overrun by bullies who reminded me each day what they thought of my appearance.

My friend continued, "Look down at that twelve year old, what is she thinking?" Right away I replied, "She thinks she is ugly." In that moment something shifted in me and I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

"Now," she instructed, "I want you to look down at that twelve year old little girl and tell me what your 28 year old self thinks of her."  What happened next was by far one of the most healing experiences I have felt in a long time.   I had changed.  As a mother I looked down at her and I responded, "She is so cute, so beautiful!"  It was a transformative experience.

 My point is that media, messages, and advertising continually influence our subconscious. Therefor, we cannot let our insecurities take the wheel  in our  lives, rather we should be forgiving of our insecurities. Maybe in order to reverse the effects we all need to take time to speak to that little girl inside each one of us. Remind her, she is not inadequate, she is beautiful!  That in every stage of our lives we should celebrate ourselves as women and maybe, just maybe, the sound of the media and the message will be muffled by the truth.

I love the way Nelson Mandela phrased it for all genders to realize:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most.  We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us.  And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Take a stand against bullying... love yourself!

Here are two amazing videos created by youth leaders involved in the Resisting Violence project. "Rachel's Daily Affirmation" offers a message of self-love that we hope will be heard, and re-created, by girls everywhere.

"Take a Stand" is an original song by Dakota Rideout with a powerful message about bullying that is guaranteed to move you!

Please share!!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

As part of the National Day of Action (NDA), the Resisting Violence made a contribution to the Girls Action Foundation's "Collective Love Letter" to girls and young women. It takes the form of a poem, composed and read by members of the project team.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Slut Shaming

This brilliant girl tells it like it is!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Girl: Gender Marketing is BS

Check out this great video of a young girl who is exasperated by the gendered marketing strategy of toy companies:

Can we teach all our daughters to have such excellent critical thinking skills?