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Workshop 6: Be the Change

Action and Communication

Agency: Having a sense of agency refers to the feeling of control over your own actions and their consequences. Having the capacity to act independently and to make your own free choices, take responsibility for your actions and reactions. It is the power you have to think for yourself, and act in ways that shape your experiences and life trajectories. Agency can take individual and collective forms.

Active Bystander: Also known as being an “upstander,” this refers to someone who takes active steps to intervene in a situation where harm is occurring / may occur, may it be online or in person​. When being an active bystander, remember to follow the A,B,C’s:

  • Assess for safety. Make sure you are not putting yourself in harm's way by intervening. If the situation is dangerous, call for help from authorities.

  • Be with others. If it is safe to intervene, your influence will be greater with more people. Someone can be with the victim(s), someone else can call for more support, etc.

  • Care for others. Ask the victim(s) of the situation if they are ok. Assess if they need medical attention or other support, and seek it out. Provide any further resources you think could be helpful.

Verbal Communication: This is how you express yourself using your voice. It includes talking, sharing, and conveying information with spoken language, but also includes your tone of voice and things like sighs and groans.

Non-Verbal Communication: This is how you can communicate without using words. It involves movements and gestures you make with your body, including your face, posture, hands, eyes and more. It can give others a lot of information about how you are feeling. Your body language often shows how you feel subconsciously, but you can also adjust your body language to make someone feel more comfortable. Paying attention to how people move and behave can give you clues about what they are thinking or feeling, even if they don’t say it out loud.

Consent Culture: A culture where consent is normalized and encouraged, and where healthy relationships are actively promoted.

Relationships

Consent: Giving consent means agreeing to do something. In sexual and intimate relationships, sexual consent refers to giving permission for doing or receiving any form of sexual activity (from touching and kissing, to penetration). There are a lot of aspects about sexual consent that are important to understand. Consent:

  • is always needed, no matter the partner, the context, or the types of sexual activity

  • is freely given (no threats, pressure, or coercion)

  • is informed (a person should know what they consent to)

  • is enthusiastic

  • can be revoked at any time

  • can be given for some activities, and not for others

  • is never assumed

  • can be communicated verbally or nonverbally

Consent cannot happen when:

  • someone is incapacitated

  • someone is less than 16 (sometimes less than 18)

  • there are power dynamics

  • there are threats, coercion, pressure, or force

Relationship violence / Youth Dating Violence (YDV): refers to the physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse that occurs within a relationship. Relationship violence can happen in person or online and can have long-lasting effects on the well-being, especially in young people.

Healthy Relationship: When a relationship is healthy, partners feel good about themselves and each other most of the time. Partners feel like they have respect, kindness, trust, honesty, equality, and good communication. And they also give each other space to have their own lives outside the relationship.

Unhealthy Relationship: Partners in unhealthy relationships usually have issues around communication, respect, boundaries, safety, and trust (amongst other things). One or more partners may feel anxious, confused, uncertain about the relationship, and unsafe. Some of the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship are put-downs, anger, jealousy, feelings of guilt, control issues, and disrespect.

Abusive Relationship: An abusive relationship involves someone attempting to control and harming the other. Abuse can take on many forms, like physical, emotional, sexual, and digital. It can happen to anyone. It doesn't matter your age, gender, sexual orientation, the length or type of relationship.

Relationship Continuum: This concept views relationships as a spectrum from healthy to abusive, not fixed in one category. Healthy relationships might face occasional issues like conflicts, but their strength lies in resolving these problems before they worsen. It's important to address any unhealthy behaviors early to avoid progressing to abuse. Since abusive relationships can develop gradually from unhealthy patterns, staying alert to signs of abuse is important and taking action to address abusive behaviours if/when they do occur is essential.

Stereotypes

 

Stereotypes: An oversimplified idea about a particular group of people. Stereotypes can be related to race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion or other factors, and can influence our attitudes and behaviour towards individuals within that group. Without exception, stereotypes are false, unfair, harmful, enhance discrimination and exclude people.

Gender Stereotypes: Oversimplified and generalized ideas, messages, and images about the difference between genders. For example, if you say, “girls are better at…” or “boys only like…” you are talking about gender stereotypes.

Challenging Stereotypes: Challenging stereotypes involves critically examining and pushing back against over simplified and damaging assumptions about people or groups, encouraging a richer appreciation for everyone's unique qualities.

Reinforcing Stereotypes: Reinforcing stereotypes happens when actions or attitudes, whether intentional or not, uphold oversimplified and harmful beliefs about a certain group of people; this can contribute to continued bias and discrimination.

Gender and Sexuality

Gender: Gender is how society thinks individuals should look, think, and act. Society has beliefs and unspoken rules (that can evolve) about how people should act based on gender. For example, many people expect men to be more aggressive than women.

Gender Identity: This refers to how you feel inside about your gender. Your feelings about your gender can emerge early in life, and they can also change throughout your life. It is your personal sense of being a boy, girl, non-binary, two-spirit, agender, or something else entirely. There are many other gender identities that exist!

Gender Expression: This is how you express your gender to others, including your behaviour, clothing, hairstyle, or the name you choose to go by.

Gender Norms: In society, there are standards about how you should think and act based on your gender. These norms dictate how you dress, the family decisions you make, how you sit, speak, the jobs you should pursue, and more, all based on your gender. Gender norms can be really harmful, reinforcing stereotypes and inequality between genders.

Sexual Orientation: This term is used to describe who you are sexually and/or romantically attracted to. A few examples of sexual orientations include lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, asexual and heterosexual.

Workshop 6

References:

(1) Definition from Moss, S. (). Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children & Youth in Canada: A Prevention and Early Intervention Toolkit for Parents. Children of the Street Society.

http://www.kristenfrenchcacn.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Parents-Toolkit-on-Sexual-Exploitation-and-Trafficking.pdf

(2)  Modified definition of normalizing violence. Source: WCASA. Social Norms Toolkit: The Normalization of Violence: Explaining the connection between the normalization of violence and sexual assault. (n.d.). Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA).

(3) Definition from Moss, S. (). Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children & Youth in Canada: A Prevention and Early Intervention Toolkit for Parents. Children of the Street Society.

http://www.kristenfrenchcacn.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Parents-Toolkit-on-Sexual-Exploitation-and-Trafficking.pdf

(4) McGlynn & Rackley. (2016). Image-based Sexual Abuse: More than just ‘Revenge Porn’. University of Birmingham. p.g. 2.

(5) McGlynn & Rackley. (2016). Image-based Sexual Abuse: More than just ‘Revenge Porn’. University of Birmingham. p.g. 2.

(6) Concordia Sexual Assault Resource Centre. n.d. What is Sexual Violence?. Concordia University.

https://www.concordia.ca/conduct/sexual-assault/understanding-sexual-violence.html

(7) Concordia Sexual Assault Resource Centre. n.d. What is Sexual Violence?. Concordia University.

https://www.concordia.ca/conduct/sexual-assault/understanding-sexual-violence.html

(8) Modified from https://www.womenshealth.gov/relationships-and-safety/other-types/sexual-coercion

(9) Concordia Sexual Assault Resource Centre. n.d. What is Sexual Violence?. Concordia University.

https://www.concordia.ca/conduct/sexual-assault/understanding-sexual-violence.html

(10) Concordia Sexual Assault Resource Centre. n.d. What is Sexual Violence?. Concordia University.

https://www.concordia.ca/conduct/sexual-assault/understanding-sexual-violence.html

(11) Concordia Sexual Assault Resource Centre. n.d. What is Sexual Violence?. Concordia University.

https://www.concordia.ca/conduct/sexual-assault/understanding-sexual-violence.html

(12) Harvard Law School Halt: Harassment Assault Law Student Team. (2021). How to Avoid Victim Blaming. Harvard Law School Halt.

References
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