Topic: Uncategorized

Spring brings Simple Generosity

We are delighted and honoured to have been chosen as the first beneficiary of a new charitable program called Simple Generosity!  Initiated by Island Savings/First West Credit Union, the program celebrates Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday celebration by applauding community volunteerism and supporting local charities and non-profits.

Weekly awards of $1500 will be given throughout 2017 to an individual or team who demonstrates exceptional community contribution in the regions where First West operates.  Those winners then choose a charity or non-profit organization to which they donate the prize money.

Local volunteer Cherie Geauvreau was the first Gulf Islands recipient of the Simple Generosity award and very kindly chose to donate her prize money to SWOVA.  Cherie, together with Jewel Eldstrom, formed Copper Kettle Community Partnership in 2002, to help those struggling with meeting life’s basic needs.  Cherie did her first community work on Salt Spring in conjunction with SWOVA and says that the experience was life changing. It was from a place of gratitude that she chose to pay it forward 15 years later!

SWOVA’s Executive Director Kiran Dhingra was on hand to receive the award from Cherie, alongside Janine Fernandes-Hayden of Volunteer and Community Resources and Island Savings staff Jeff Knutson and Travis Dorchak.

SWOVA would like to express our sincere gratitude to Cherie Geauvreau for her thoughtful generosity and her contributions to SWOVA from its early origins up to the present!  We also wish to thank Island Savings/First West Credit Union and Volunteer Community Resources for this initiative and helping to highlight the remarkable contributions of volunteerism on Salt Spring and throughout the Gulf Islands.

To learn more about #SimpleGenerosity and how to nominate a recipient, see the full article in the Driftwood, on page 19 of the May 10/17 edition.

Results: Southern Gulf Islands Survey on Consent and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

During the month of May in 2016, a community wide survey was launched throughout the Southern Gulf Islands on Consent and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. The survey was funded by the Status of Women Canada as part of an on-going project spear headed by Salt Spring Women Opposed to Violence and Abuse (SWOVA) Community Development and Research Society.

A summary version of the survey results is found here:
SGI Consent & Sexual Assault Project Survey Results InfoGraphic

The full report is found here:  SGI Needs Assessment on Sexual Assault

 

2017 Changemakers Announced!

It is our pleasure and honour to announce these exceptional Salt Spring women as important contributors to our Island community through their volunteerism:

Barb Aust

Michelle Bennett-Peters

Lottie Devindisch

Susan Grace

Marguerite Lee

Margaret MacKenzie

Anne Marshall

Melanie Morris

Victoria Olchowecki

Kisae Petersen

Lise Poitras

Wendy Vine

Tiffany Wightman

 

LIFETIME CHANGEMAKER AWARD: 

Maggie Ramsey

Please join us in offering heartfelt congratulations to each of the Award Winners and join us to celebrate them all on

International Women’s Day

Wednesday, March 8th, at ArtSpring from 7 – 9pm.

Tickets are $25 and benefit SWOVA’s programs for youth violence prevention.

Please consider donating or sponsoring a ticket for another attendee if you cannot be at the event!

International Women’s Day Event!

March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD)

and SWOVA’s opportunity to celebrate!

Together we will honour exceptional women who volunteer their time and talent, energy and enthusiasm in our community. This year SWOVA is partnering with Volunteer and Community Resources (VCR) to help us identify women volunteers of all ages, cis and trans, who make – and have made – a significant difference to the well-being of Salt Spring’s diverse community.

We have sought and received nominations from non-profit societies, organizations, groups and individuals to recognize women for their exceptional work in the arts, education, social and health fields or in the environmental, agricultural, sport communities including everyone from youth to seniors!

This year SWOVA will honour Women Volunteers as Changemakers

at our “Tapas and Treats” event

at ArtSpring 7:00 to 9:00pm on Wednesday, March 8th, 2017.

 

Please join us for an evening of celebration, inspiration and fundraising!

Tickets are $25, available at ArtSpring Box Office.

Tapas, Treats, Cash Bar!  Entertainment, Awards, Silent Auction

 

Let’s Talk about *Consent*

By Sharyn Carroll

Rape;  \rap\~ [noun]

The word rape originally comes the Latin “rapere” – meaning to abduct, grab or snatch. Somewhere along our linguistic evolution, its meaning morphed to include intimidating, threatening or forcing someone to have sexual intercourse.

Sexual assault replaced the term “rape” in 1983, under the Criminal Code of Canada.  In doing so, we are able to recognize that assaults that are sexual in their nature are not about the act of intercourse but exist on a broader spectrum. This can include inappropriate or unwanted touching, harassment, verbal threats, coercion and physically forcing, with or without a weapon, someone to perform a sexual act. Using this term gives validation to those that have experienced sexual violence while broadening our understanding of our intrinsic human rights.

Let us not forget that the most important verb, when navigating our way through intimacy, is consent. Every time, all the time. Consent is sexy!

Holiday Joy!

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

SWOVA held a gathering of Staff, Board and their partners to celebrate the winter holiday season whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule or any other tradition.  We held a potluck at the beautiful new venue of Twig & Buoy at 321 Fernwood Road. Owners Andrea and Roberta generously offered their space for our gathering, complete with complimentary wood fired pizza, various tasty nibblies and outstanding service!  We would like to offer our sincere gratitude to Andrea and Roberta for rounding out our potluck with delicious food & drink contributions and providing so warm and welcoming a setting.  Twig & Buoy is targeting Valentine’s Day for their official Grand Opening and we encourage you to support this wonderful new business on our Island!

Whatever tradition you celebrate this holiday season, may it be filled with light and love, peace & prosperity.

Warmly,
The Staff and Board of SWOVA

Annual General Meeting

SWOVA Log (Tag, Square 01)

 Annual General Meeting
Thursday, December 1st, 2016

5:00 – 7:00p.m. at the SWOVA office

344 Lower Ganges Road, SSI

* Members are welcome *

For more information, contact:

250-537-1336 or info@swova.org

After Ghomeshi – a speaker event at Salt Spring Forum Sept 30/16

After Ghomeshi: Sexual Assault & Canadian Law – An Evening with Sandy Garossino

After Ghomeshi: Sexual Assault & Canadian Law – An Evening with Sandy Garossino

Date/Time
30 Sep 2016
7:30 pm – 9:15 pm

Location
Beaver Point Hall

The Jian Ghomeshi trial cast a Canada-wide spotlight on the topic of sexual violence, and raised the question of whether Canadian law needs to be modernized.

Why do so many instances of sexual assault go unreported and of those reported, why are the conviction rates so low? What does this situation say about Canadian society today, and how do we fix it?

Former Crown prosecutor-turned-journalist Sandy Garossino joins the Salt Spring Forum to discuss these important questions and more. This is the first event of the Forum’s Canada 150 series—a special series that explores the great challenges and opportunities facing Canada today.

Sandy Garossino is an associate editor at the National Observer and a powerful voice in Canadian public affairs. She is widely read for her commentary on politics, feminism and sexual assault. Her articles have also become “must reads” for anyone interested in Canadian law and policy.

Please note that this event takes place at Beaver Point Hall. Tickets are on sale through the ArtSpring Box Office at 250.537.2102 and online, or at Salt Spring Books. $15 Forum Members; $20 General Admission.

Listen to Sandy Garossino comment on the the Jian Ghomeshi acquittal (on CBC’s Day Six; March 25, 2016):  

Taking Back the Night

Take_back_the_Night_Medium_1

by Kiran Dhingra, MSW, RSW, Executive Director

As I write these words, it is a few days after the Take Back the Night march that took place in our community last Friday June 10th, 2016.  The event was organized from a ground swell of supporters in response to a woman who had recently been sexually assaulted in the community.   I know that we like to think that violence, especially sexual crimes don’t happen here on this beautiful island paradise. Of course, we know that’s simply not true.

It is a sad reality that not everyone is safe on this Island.  Many of us, especially women and children are at greater risk of having violence perpetrated against us, usually by someone we already know, although not always.  Sometimes it’s a stranger or someone we hardly know at all.  My hope is that everyone will feel safe in our community as that is a right we all deserve.

That is why SWOVA, has been working toward eliminating violence through prevention and education programs that empower our young people for the past 20 years.  SWOVA was born out of a terrible act of violence toward a woman in the community that happened in the early 90s.  At that time, community came together because it wanted to help and do something to support the woman who had been assaulted, but also because it knew that there were other women out there who needed a safe haven; a place they could go to start healing.

So, my mind comes back to this most recent act of violence.  Only with the survivor’s strength and courage to speak out about what happened, and her desire to find a way to take back the night, are we reminded yet again of the impact and importance of the issue of violence against women right here on Salt Spring Island.

There is tremendous power in that act of courage, as well as in all the people who organized, attended, marched, cried, got angry, and made calls for change and awareness.  SWOVA stands with you and supports you.  In closing, I share these words, written by poet and author, Maya Angelou,maya-angelous-words-wisdom-0_240x340_11

“Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid. 

Having courage and showing courage means we face our fears. 

We are able to say, “I have fallen, but I will get up.”

Privilege

 

Since starting my work as a Peace Kids and Respectful Relationships Facilitator AND engaging in awareness about gender-based violence I have come to learn a lot about privilege. I have long felt privileged but I had never understood it like I do now (this in itself is a result of being privileged). As a caucasian cisgender* male, growing up in a fairly wealthy family, being well of body, and Canadian, I am able to check off most of the boxes that designate me with privilege in the world as it currently exists.

The world is not an equal one for all (though in my heart of hearts I wish that it could be and it should be). I liken privilege to that of currents in water that make it easier for some and harder for others to move. Unless one experiences going against the current it is impossible to know what it is like. The only way to gain understanding is to ask those who might be experiencing “going against the current”. Ask those who are cis-female or identify as non-heterosexual, people of colour, not as able-bodied, or those who live in cultures other than “mainstream Western culture” if they experience the world as equal. They may share their story. Listen well and ride out any discomfort you may feel. It is well worth the effort.

*Cisgender: (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose experiences of their own gender agree with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Photo Credit: University of San Francisco