There are so many ways to get involved and make change in your community.
- Supporting survivors and your fellow allies in this work is critical to combating gender-based violence in Canada
The BRAVERY Model offers guidance on how to respond to disclosures of gender-based violence, and can also be used to support your allies who may be experiencing secondary trauma through this work:
- Begin by listening: do not question, blame or ask leading questions;
- Respect confidentiality: though explain duty to report standards at the beginning of any conversation (it is important to disclose incidents of child violence or where someone is at imminent risk of harm or death);
- Ask what support means to them: empower by letting them have control of their own healing path;
- Validate experiences: recognize the difficulty of disclosing gender-based violence and thank them for being brave;
- Empathize: by not being judgmental and instead remembering that they trusted you to share their experience with you;
- Refer them to a trained professional: by encouraging them to seek formal support from a counsellor;
- You: also should recognize how difficult it can be to hear stories of gender-based violence, and ensure that you yourself are adopting self-care (see below).
- Educate your peers about consent
- Learn about gender-based violence, and gaps that exist in programs and laws
- See above to learn from various organizations in Canada!
- Apply your knowledge to advocate to your school, provincial/territorial government, and federal government about the work that needs to be done to create a more equitable and inclusive society for women and girls
- Attend protests and demonstrations, public meetings, lobby the government, host letter writing campaigns, etc
Engage in Politics
- Become involved in your school or university’s student body government, faculty council, or student committees to increase the gender-based violence campaigns, programming and support in your community
- Become informed by your municipal, provincial/territorial, and federal party platforms and use your voice to vote in elections
- Find the Minister responsible for the area that you are passionate about and advocate for change
- Action: Educate your school, community, and the public about gender based violence realities and consent through general awareness campaigns. For example, you can poster, give handouts, or lead a demonstration to engage those around you
- Use social media and the internet to elevate the reach of your message
- Action Raise funds in your community to donate to a shelter, support office, or empowerment project
- For example, host a bake sale, benefit concert, or solicit general donations
- Action: Write letters to members of government to engage them in these issues
- Advocate for change by creating a template for your campaign and distribute it in your community to send to politicians. This can yield a higher amount of attention to your issue in the government
- Volunteer in your local crisis center, women’s center, shelter, students’ union, or women’s advocacy group to become involved in grassroots work
- Let the media know about the work you are doing, why you are doing it, and the change you want to see! Contact newspapers, radio stations and other news sources in advance of your campaigns and initiatives. They love to hear about the work you are doing, and it will help you to gain more support and attention in your community
- Host a film screening to educate your community. This will help to deconstruct negative perceptions of the issue, as well as inspire more people to become involved. Ideas for films include:
- The War at Home – A CBC documentary on domestic violence
- The Hunting Ground (available on Netflix) – A documentary on sexual violence on post-secondary campuses in the United States
- Remember to take care of yourself, you cannot pour from an empty cup! Many advocates and front-line service workers experience burn out, secondary trauma and compassion fatigue. It is important to take positive and active steps in your self care. Remember to do things that make you feel happiness and fulfillment – this looks very different for everyone. Find things that make you feel recharged that will help to keep you going! Some ideas for self care activities include:
- Self care for the mind -
- Create a file of compliments – write down nice things people say about you and read them later!
- Watch the clouds
- Take a different route to school for a change in scenery
- Pay attention to one part of your daily routine (like brushing your teeth or combing your hair) and just enjoy the everyday little things in life!
- Be goofy! Take time to have silly moments
- Take a break by having a dance party with your all time favourite songs
- Integrate a new part to your daily routine that makes you feel happy
- Remember it is okay to do things for YOU! You CAN say no to others, and prioritize things for your own happiness and wellbeing. You are important!
- Unplug for an hour – it’s nice to have peaceful time!
- Clean one part of your room
- Take a walk outside
Self care for the body --
- Take deep breaths
- Go for a run
- Pick healthier food choices, or have a healthy snack
- Give yourself an arm rub
- Enjoy your favourite treat
- Sit in the sun
- Have a short nap
Self care for the soul –
- Be your own best friend, and talk to yourself supportively right now
- Help someone to feel some good vibes
- Reflect and write down your thoughts
- Choose what YOU want to do today!
- Have a hot shower or bath
- Ask for help – you are loved and valued
- Buy yourself a treat or something that makes you happy