Sexual Violence Forum 2018: Presenters and Abstracts

Blu Waters

Laureen (Blu) Waters, Elder, Peel Aboriginal Network

Bio: Laureen (Blu) Waters; Istchii Nikamoon- Earth Song

Cree/Métis / Micmac from the wolf clan member of the Metis nation of Ontario

Blu's family is from Big River Saskatchewan, Athatkoop Reserve and Bra’dor Lake, Eskasoni First Nation Cape Breton Nova Scotia. She is currently working at Peel Aboriginal network as a elder Providing Traditional teachings and One on One Counseling full moon ceremonies and workshops, and at Seneca College as an elder on campus Providing Traditional teachings and One on One Counseling

Blu is also a grandmother to one of the commissioners on the national inquiry into murdered and missing women, and travels with the inquiry to the hearings and testimonies. Blu grew up with her grandmother and learned about traditional medicines performing healings, and care of the sick and teachings Sweat lodge and pipe ceremony, 2spirit teachings. Blu's teaching come from community elders such as rose logan Pauline shirt Harry Snowboy Rose Logan and others

She studied landscaping and Horticulture for four years and has studied herbal medicine. Blu was also the national caucus Representative for the Toronto urban aboriginal strategy for 5 years working with the community of Toronto and the Government. She also is a graduate of DeVry Institute of Technology receiving her business software, micro computer architecture, and A+ certification. 

She is a mother of 3 and a grandmother, of 3 and a Sun dancer and a pipe carrier.

Lise Gotell

Dr. Lise Gotell, University of Alberta

Bio: Lise Gotell is a Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Alberta. She has published widely in the area of gender, sexuality and law. Much of her recent work concerns the legal regulation of sexual violence.  Professor Gotell has engaged in studies analyzing the legal standard for consent in Canadian law and the efficacy of provisions restricting sexual history evidence and access to complainant’s confidential records.   Her work has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada and in law reform initiatives in Australia, New Zealand, England and Wales and Scotland. She is currently the National Chair of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund.

Presentation Title and Description:

Beyond Consent
In the aftermath of the Ghomeshi trial, and in the current context of the #MeToo movement, we have begun to have a national conversation about sexual violence. In this politicized context, there has been a renewed push for sexual assault prevention with an emphasis on consent education. Canada has a relatively strict legal standard for consent best captured by the phrase “only yes means yes.” The premise of consent education is to make people aware of this standard, and of the obligations of consent-seeking. However, I want to draw attention to some of the limitations of this focus on consent education. What is the problem with emphasizing consent? What gets left out when we emphasize the idea of consent as a dividing line between sexual assault and so-called normal sex? Who falls through the cracks of an affirmative consent standard? In this presentation, I emphasize the importance of understanding sexual violence through a power-sensitive and intersection lens and argue that when we focus on the moment of consent, we tend to ignore how sexual assault functions as a tactic of power – of patriarchy, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and colonization. What are some of the political tools we can use to move beyond consent the struggle to end sexual violence?

Chenthoori Malankov

Chenthoori Malankov, Sexual Violence Advocate

Bio: Chenthoori Malankov is the daughter of the Thamil diaspora who is an artivist from Toronto. Utilizing alternative platforms such as arts and education models she designs and facilitates workshops an trainings on ending violence against women across the province within the Immigrant and refugee communities with the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. Chenthoori is currently a trauma informed yoga practitioner cultivating spaces of healing to address resilience in the face of violence within marginalized and racialized communities.

Yami Msosa

Yamikani Msosa, Consent Comes First Office, Ryerson University

Bio: Yamikani Msosa is a grassroots feminist anti-violence advocate and support worker. In September 2017 she joined Ryerson University Officer of Sexual Violence Support and Education as a Specialist. Originally from Ottawa by way of Lilongwe, Malawi. She completed her Master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies at Carleton was employed at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa as the Public Education Coordinator for eight years. She has given trainings all over the country on issues of Sexual Violence, including Ontario Police College, Ministry Labour, Status of Women and more. Her feminist activism started at Ottawa Coalition to End Violence against Women, then transitioned to Immigrant Women Services of Ottawa. Yami currently sits on the Advisory Council for MATCH International Global Fund for Women & Youth Advisory for the Equality Project at Ottawa University Law Department where she is researching Intersectionality & Bystander Intervention on Campus Universities across Canada.

Presentation Title and Description:

The Litany of Resistance- (re)envisioning conversations about sexual violence, consent and intersectionality.

“...When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed

but when we are silent we are still afraid.

So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive”

  • Audre Lorde (Litany of Survival)

This workshop challenges liberal practices of “inclusion” within conversations/practices of anti-sexual violence frontline work with an emphasis on education. Participants will have the opportunity to (r)envision what it means to operate from an intersectional perspective that takes into account systems of power and privilege within the anti-sexual violence movement. This interactive workshop will engage folks representing local/provincial organizations and individuals that seek to challenge “one size fits all models” of addressing sexual violence.

        Brianna Olson

Brianna Olson, Social Worker, Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation

Bio: Brianna Olson is a social worker, diverse multi-media artist and member of Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation, currently undertaking her Masters in social work through the Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency specialization at the Factor-Inwentash at the University of Toronto.  As an Indigenous woman and practitioner, Brianna has spent the last decade committed to supporting Indigenous families and other marginalized communities through the arts and harm reduction.  She is currently residing in Toronto and developing a deeper understanding of trauma in the MSW program, as well as focusing her energy on sharing her gifts of Indigenous artistry and leadership with the community.  She has contributed her work at various agencies around the GTA such as the Native Canadian Center of Toronto, Native Women’s resource center, Native Child and family services, Canadian Roots Exchange, and is currently serving as a teaching and research assistant at Ryerson University.  Recently, she has been scheduled to deliver educational workshops at the faculty of social work on topics such as sexual violence and human trafficking.  She is an avid volunteer, lending her time and support to the University of Toronto First Nations House and the Walking with Our Sisters memorial installation, as well as fundraising for numerous important causes.  Brianna has received a Harm Reduction award (Kaiser Foundation, 2006), Top 100 women in business, (Wanderer, 2013), Esquao award (Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal women, 2013), Top 30 under 30, (Centre for Global cooperation/ 2014) and Human Rights award (John Humphrey centre for Peace and Human rights, 2015).

Presentation Title and Description:

The Hidden Narrative: Consent in a Colonial System?!
This interactive presentation will first explore the powerful roles held by Indigenous women prior to European contact and then explain how colonization deliberately set out to destroy, not just the roles, but the bodies of these women.  It will then take up how and why sexual violence towards Indigenous women and girls continues at astounding rates, but that Canadians can choose to end this by actively participating in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

• The Ghomeshi Effect

The Ghomeshi Effect, A verbatim dance theatre performance on sexual violence in Canada

Actors: Jessica Ruano, Leah Archambault, Emmanuel Simon, Marc-André Charette

Bios: Jessica Ruano is an Ottawa-based theatre director, producer, and writer. She has an M.A. in Theatre Theory and Dramaturgy from the University of Ottawa, and she wrote her thesis on new works of theatre that have toured the Canadian festival circuit. In 2013, she directed the London premiere of Sappho…in 9 fragments, applauded for its aerial scenography, that played to sold out houses and toured across Canada and to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She also recently directed the Ottawa premiere of Seven: a documentary play for Inter Pares, a social justice organization. She volunteers as a support worker for the Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) of Ottawa, and is very passionate about education around sexuality and sexual violence.

Leah Archambault has a Masters degree from York University in Dance, and her performance interests and background include dance/theatre, performance art and hardcore punk vocals. She has performed at Toronto’s Harbourfront CentreBuddies In Bad Times Theatre, and in Nuit Blanche Toronto. For several years she volunteered with the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape (TRCC/MWAR).

Emmanuel Simon is an-Ottawa based neo-soul jazz vocalist. He has performed across North America, in South America, and in Europe. He has performed with Josh Groban and Lyle Lovett, to name a few. Emmanuel’s classical training has also led him to perform at the historic Carnegie Hall. He has appeared on Off Broadway productions of Annie Get Your GunNotre Dame de Paris and 42nd Street. Ten years ago, he and Jessica Ruano worked together on the Ottawa première of Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke’s jazz libretto Québecité.  

Marc-André Charette has been working as a professional actor in Ottawa-Gatineau for the past 20 years. Recent credits include La Soupe de Kafka (Théâtre de l’Île), and Turbulences (Ottawa Dance Directive / Centre de danse contemporaine), Copeaux by Mishka Lavigne and Et si un soir by Lisa L’Heureux (Théâtre Rouge Écarlate), Écume (Théâtre du Trillium) for which he was nominated for a Rideau Award, and #‎PigeonsAffamés (Théâtre du Trillium) which toured Canada in 2017. He is a keen marathon runner and foster dad.

Presentation Title and Description:

The Ghomeshi Effect: Meet the Artists
In the wake of #MeToo, the team behind The Ghomeshi Effect- a documentary dance-theatre performance on sexual violence and the legal system in Canada – will perform selections from the show, share the history of the production and what they learned from listening to and interpreting real stories of sexual assault and gender-based violence, and discuss how they intend to continue this important conversation with future audiences.