How safe is Toronto's music scene-NOW

If a reckoning is coming for sexual misconduct, it will take the entire community, from showgoers to venue owners, to make it happen BY  JUNE 6, 2018

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The first time Jane* went to Bloor and Bathurst event venue Coda, the now 30-year-old woman says she was physically and verbally harassed by the same man for 20 minutes before she reached her breaking point and screamed. 

“He was non-consensually touching me – hand on my back, arm, waist, hip, arm around my shoulders… I had to push his hand off me, grab him by both shoulders, look him dead in the face and shout, ‘Do not speak to me or touch me again.’” 

Kaitlin*, 37, recounts a similar experience at the Great Hall on Queen West several years ago. “Even thinking about it right now makes me really tense. It was incredibly violating and disgusting,” she says, of being groped by a stranger in the crowd. Her friends alerted a security guard, who was able to find the man and eject him.  

Sexual harassment and assault – both of which fall into the ever-ballooning term “sexual misconduct” – have become ubiquitous topics in the Toronto music scene as patrons, promoters, musicians and venue staff reconcile news stories and whispers coming to light. 

In February, Lucan Wai, co-owner of prominent west-end concert venue the Smiling Buddha (Wai also co-owned the Central prior to its closure) was charged with one count of sexual assault. Many musicians and promoters, including those affiliated with Canadian Music Week and Venus Fest, pulled their shows from the venue. Matt Sandrin, the venue’s booker and lead talent buyer, also quit in the wake of the charge. 

In 2015, a man was sexually assaulted at knifepoint in the bathroom of Kensington Market venue Double Double Land. In response, management made structural changes including the installation of safety buzzers in the bathroom, better lighting around the bathroom and dance floor, and additional security. Double Double Land and other venues began hanging posters distributed by advocacy group Noise Against Sexual Assault (NASA) on its premises. The posters read: “No racism. No sexism. No homophobia. No transphobia. No violence. No sexual violence. No emotional violence. No ableism. Yes respect. Yes you.” 


Program to combat sexual harassment in music venues sees little pickup ahead of Junos


How can artists deal with sexual assault in the wake of #MeToo?

Whatever you have been through and however you choose to heal is all valid. Seek out the resources in your community that can offer you support. Calgary has the Calgary Sexual Health Centre and Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse; Vancouver has Women Against Violence Against Women; Edmonton has the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton. I am sure there are equivalents in every city. Know that there are people in your circle of friends, in your artistic community and in your family that will support you. When you figure out who they are, share with them whatever you feel comfortable sharing. Even if you don't want to say anything about what you have been through, arm yourself with their company. 

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

To any survivor I would first say: I believe you, I see you, this wasn't your fault and you are in charge of what you want to do and how you want your healing to look like.- Dandelion, a Toronto-based grassroots initiative by survivors for survivors


Canada’s sexual violence problem gets half-baked treatment in research: expert

By 

Belle explained that the survey didn’t explain what the term “unwanted sexual pressure” meant, and it could be as broad or narrow as someone wanted.

The question was also only posed to women, which Belle said overlooks men, transgender and cisgender individuals who can face sexual violence.

Read Full Article here


Raising Awareness Over the Safety of Women at Bars This Holiday Season

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BY FAIZA AMINlogo_white.png

POSTED DEC 24, 2017 8:14 PM EST

It was a chance encounter among strangers that’s shedding light on a group that some refer to as ‘silent survivors’, and for a mother and daughter, it’s an issue that needs to be an open discussion.

Alejandra Bravo and her daughter Gayla were coming back from a night out with friends, when they say they noticed a woman in her 20’s who appeared shaken, scared and unable to move, inside St.Clair West subway station around 1 a.m. on Friday.

“She was crying and attempting to contact her family and friends, but she couldn’t get through, and the more she felt hopeless, the more upset she got,” said Gayla. “She just looked at me and told me where she had been, she said ‘I think I was drugged.'”

The anonymous woman was apparently at a bar in the Annex earlier that night, and was attempting to make her way home. Alejandra said the woman explained that she hadn’t had too many drinks, but was suddenly confused about where she was.

“When she finally communicated with a friend, she said something that broke my heart, she said ‘It’s okay, I’m with friends now’ and that made us feel that we were there for her,” she said.

The mother and daughter say the incident has prompted them to question if drugging at bars is even tracked at all. CityNews asked that question to Toronto Police on Sunday, but was told due to the holiday, more time would be needed to track down that data.

Viktoria Belle, who is the founder of an advocacy group to end sexual violence, the Dandelion Project, says these incidents aren’t tracked.

“Most people don’t even know that it’s happened to them, they don’t know the signs, they don’t know where to go for help, they’re confused and they don’t want to disclose,” she explains. “So it’s really unreported and uncharted.”

Belle, who is also the program manager at Maggies in Toronto, says troubling incidents like drugging drinks tend to increase over the holidays as more people are out celebrating.

The Dandelion Initiative is pushing for drinking establishments to be more accountable to their patrons, to incorporate policies and procedures in their workplaces and empower staff to be proactive in making the bar environment safer. ‘The Safe Bars Project’ is an initiative that provides the community with leadership tools to change the culture of sexual assault through education, awareness and dispelling stigmas. The project targets bars and restaurants, because Belle says, they serve the substance that is most commonly used in sexual assaults.

“Unfortunately drug facilitated sexual assault is very common, and the most common substance used is alcohol,” she explains. “Oftentimes, perpetrators are people we know, so it’s really important for bars and restaurants to be accountable during this time, and create a safe space for people to go and say ‘I’ve been drugged or dosed, can you help me?'”

Over 20 establishments are listed on the website as upcoming participants of the program.

Following the completion of the program, the establishment will be listed on a public safe space list and receive a dandelion sticker that can be put on display, indicating to potential clients that the business is a safe space.

But Belle also wants to stress to victims and survivors of sexual assault that they don’t have to suffer alone in silence.

“Just because someone is drinking heavily, just because someone is using drugs, it doesn’t mean they deserve to be sexually assaulted, it doesn’t mean it’s their fault or they invited that,” she explains. “That’s why education is so important around consent and substances.”

Belle suggests victims of sexual assault can contact the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, which offers free services and is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and also reach out to the Dandelion Initiative for any support that’s needed.


Toronto Bar Apologizes for 'No Means Yes' Sign, Blames Employee

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by THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF

Posted Feb 13, 2017 11:15 am EST

 Last Updated Feb 13, 2017 at 1:42 pm EST
A sign that says "no means yes, yes means a**l" was posted inside the Locals Only bar in Toronto. 

A downtown Toronto bar has issued a public apology after displaying a sign that was denounced online as promoting sexual assault.

Photos began circulating on social media on Sunday of a sign inside the venue at King and Portland streets that included the words “no means yes.”

Management for the bar Locals Only then posted on Facebook that they were “deeply saddened, shocked and appalled” that an unsupervised staff member made the sign, which they described as “disgusting, derogatory and insensitive towards a serious issue.”

 

In the statement, management said the employee would be fired and remaining staff would undergo further training on appropriate workplace practices.

They also said the bar takes “extreme measures” to ensure patrons’ safety.

But many online called for the bar to be shut down and questioned the sincerity of the apology, posting photos that allegedly showed the bar’s previous signs bearing similar messages.

Viktoria Belle, founder of Sexual Assault Action Coalition, told CityNews writing an apology on Facebook and deleting the “sexist pictures” doesn’t go far enough.

“We want Locals Only to commit to participating in our Dandelion training (anti-harassment and anti-violence training), to issue a public apology and show that the bar will have zero tolerance for comments that encourage and promote rape culture,” Belle said.

This is not the first time that a questionable sign has been posted at Locals Only. Below is a photo gallery of previous signs. 

So far, the bar’s management has not responded to requests for comments.

 


Toronto Groups Look to Combat Sexual Harassment, Violence in City’s Nightlife Scene

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The Globe and Mail

Co-founder of the city’s Sexual Assault Action Coalition, Viktoria Belle turns to hug a supporter after placing a paper heart on the window at the College Street Bar during a demonstration. The protest emerged in response to sexual-assault allegations being levelled against the bar’s owner, as well as one employee.

PAUL SALVATORI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

On the night before Christmas Eve, a cluster of protesters gathered outside College Street Bar after its owner and an employee were accused of sexual assault. They fastened heart-shaped notes to the front window ("We are with you," one read. "End rape culture," another said) and demanded the popular bar shut its doors while police investigated.

A handwritten "Currently closed" sign now sits taped to the bar's front door. The public outcry to combat long-rampant harassment and violence in the city's nightlife scene has only intensified, with insiders and patrons working together on various awareness campaigns.

"That incident hit home for a lot of people," says Evelyn Chick, bar manager at Pretty Ugly in Parkdale. "We definitely have a long way to go. [Harassment and assault] happen in bars all the time."

In a culture often criticized for being flippant toward abuse – from a 2015 sexual-harassment lawsuit against King Street West's Westlodge restaurant to La Carnita's Donald Trump-inspired "grab her by the taco" Instagram joke last October – forcing establishments to acknowledge there's a systemic issue, let alone find a remedy, is no easy task.

Last fall, the owners of the Painted Lady faced swift backlash for their handling of an attempted assault at the Ossington bar. When two female patrons suspected a man had drugged their drinks, they reported it to the bouncer. After denying the allegation, the man was allowed to remain. The incident quickly made its way to social media, prompting the owners to release a statement defending their staff and suggesting patrons should learn how to protect themselves. After days of steady criticism, they recalibrated their position and apologized for suggesting victims are ever to blame for sexual violence. A sign now hangs in the Painted Lady's window, warning consequences for anyone who "enter[s] these premises with the intent of drugging unsuspecting patrons …"

In December, College Street Bar owner, Gavin MacMillan, and an employee, Enzo De Jesus Carrasco, were charged for the alleged sexual assault of a 24-year-old woman. The charges were later upgraded to include gang sexual assault, forcible confinement and drug trafficking. The bar is "voluntarily closed" until at least May under conditions approved by the city's licensing committee.

In the wake of the charges, Ms. Chick, a member of Bartenders Against Sexual Harassment (BASH), helped organize a fundraiser for the Dandelion Project, a budding initiative that aims to produce Canada-wide anti-sexual-assault training and protocol for bars and restaurants. The project is led by the year-old Sexual Assault Action Coalition, founded by long-time industry employees Jenna Davies and Viktoria Belle.

"People are holding each other more accountable, which is the first big change, and people are actually looking for educational tools," Ms. Belle says. "… But to really be an advocate you have to understand the community. Sexual assault and violence are still very taboo."

The project is similar to another Toronto-born initiative, known as NASA (Noise Against Sexual Assault), which concentrates primarily on music venues. NASA distributes posters for venues to display to declare a message of zero tolerance for sexual assault, as well as homophobia, racism and transphobia. "It's up to communities to start building conversations and trust within themselves," artist and co-founder Kristel Jax said. "The problem is immediate."

In 2015, NASA worked with Kensington Market venue Double Double Land to overhaul its safety strategy after a violent assault. The venue now has panic buttons in the washrooms and redesigned doors so that the area is partly visible from outside. "We want people to know that if they report something it will be dealt with appropriately and that the perpetrator isn't the one whose side will be taken, which has been an issue in this city," Ms. Jax said.

The Drake One Fifty has launched an internal review of how its staff handled an alleged assault last month. In a social-media post, a customer said she was grabbed by a man while exiting the washroom. When she reported the incident, she said a member of the Drake's security team told her the assault "couldn't have happened" based on her description. Another, she said, told her it "[wasn't] that big a deal." She was then told to confront the attacker herself.

Shivani Marx, the Drake's chief operating officer, said the restaurant has "long had policies and training in place to respond to abusive behaviour. That said, clearly the handling of this complaint has identified some gaps in our protocol …" Ms. Marx said she has sought counsel from the Sexual Assault Action Coalition. The Drake has also agreed to participate in the Dandelion Project when it launches.

In a 2014 study conducted by CAMH senior scientist Dr. Kate Graham, half of female respondents reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact, unwanted persistence or both during an evening out. (The same study found that 90 per cent of the targets of harassment were female.) In just 21 per cent of these cases, a third party intervened, including instances where it was an accomplice to the harasser. A correlation was identified between the target's level of intoxication and the harasser's level of invasiveness, indicating that visibly intoxicated women were targeted specifically.

"As bartenders we need to recognize when someone is in need of help," Parts & Labour general manager Chantelle Gabino said. Ms. Gabino also helped organize the BASH event. "You can generally tell from someone's face."

"The problem is alive and it is extremely real," said Jamal Severin-Watson, co-owner of Dundas West bar Unlovable, along with several other west-end establishments. "We're taught not to judge anybody when they walk through the door. But I'd rather be wrong than not say anything and later find out my instincts were true."

He believes that preventative skills, such as the ability to read patrons' body language, need to be improved across the industry by training staff proactively. "If someone comes up to me and says, 'I'm being harassed,' I'm too late," he said. "I would like to get to them before that point."

A 2016 study conducted by the University of Georgia found people generally don't see non-consensual sexual contact in bars as aggressive. "The near unanimity of this reaction is revealing of the extent to which people fail to see men grabbing, groping and forcing their bodies onto women as aggression when it occurs in barrooms," the study's conclusion reads.

With awareness mounting, bars are adopting sly measures to protect patrons. In November, the Lincolnshire Rape Crisis centre, in Lincolnshire, England hung posters in local bars instructing patrons to "Ask for Angela," a code indicating a need for help. A similar campaign in St. Petersburg, Fla., asked patrons to order an "angel shot" if they needed help leaving the bar safely. (If they asked for a lime, police would be called.)

In Toronto, a collective called Aisle 4 recently asked artists to design coasters with pro-consent messaging, then distributed the coasters to local bars. "We'd been talking about how art could be a positive way to advocate for personal safety," said Aisle 4's Shannon Linde. "The more you talk about it, the more people become aware of what a woman's experience is like, and therefore advocate for change at a long-term level."

While these local initiatives are gaining traction, it's critical that the government steps forward with legislation and mandatory training, Ms. Belle said.

"You can't put all the onus on people themselves … This is why we pay taxes and appoint political leaders. Currently they are failing us."

In March, 2015, the Ontario government announced it would allot $1.7-million to develop training for hospitality staff on how to intervene in cases of sexual violence or harassment. The material is currently being developed in conjunction with the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association and Tourism HR Canada and set to be launched in the fall. However, the program will be online and optional, which critics worry will limit participation.

Ultimately, for change to occur, people have to want it to. This means first believing the problem exists, and then taking sexual assault seriously.

When Ms. Jax approached venues she believes would benefit from a NASA poster, several turned her down. Likewise, Ms. Linde says only about half the bars she contacted responded enthusiastically to the coaster project. The other half required convincing, declined or did not respond at all. And when it comes to taking care of problems on site right away, Mr. Severin-Watson said, even bars that take incidents seriously do not have the capacity to enlighten instigators, only to eject them.

"In those cases I don't have time to educate them on why their behaviour is wrong. I just need their behaviour to stop."


This Is How Canadian Bartenders Are Trying To Make Nightlife Safer

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“We have all felt unsafe at some point."

Posted on February 9, 2017, at 11:09 a.m.
Samryley / Getty Images

From a young age, women are told that staying safe on a night out is solely their own responsibility.

They learn to bring their drinks to the bathroom and stay in tightly-packed groups on the dance floor. There’s been stories of women leaving shitlists of alleged rapists in public washrooms or novelties like nail polish that can detect “date rape” drugs. But the question of what role the people behind the bar should play is finally being asked.

That was demonstrated last year when news broke that owner of Toronto’s College Street Bar, Gavin MacMillan, and bartender Carasco Enzo Dejesus, were arrested for allegedly confining and sexually assaulting a 24-year-old woman in their space. The pair are now are facing multiple charges including drug trafficking, failure to comply with recognizance, sexual assault, and confinement. The city's Municipal Licensing and Standards division has ordered the bar’s closure until at least May 2017.

“Oftentimes these sort of things hit the news, and you don't expect to feel so connected, so extremely effected, just so close to the matter,” said Veronica Saye, beverage manager at Bar Begonia. She explained how, as the news unfolded, women in the hospitality industry felt placed in the centre of tense, and in some cases, unsupportive workplaces.

B.A.S.H. organizer Veronica Saye.
Jessica Laforet

B.A.S.H. organizer Veronica Saye.

That's why Saye organized B.A.S.H (Bartenders Against Sexual Harassment), an event held at Toronto bar Parts & Labour on Jan 16. Packed with bar and restaurant employees, the night was part fundraiser and part a space for industry insiders to discuss what they can do to address sexual violence.

Proceeds went to the Dandelion Project, an initiative co-founded by Jenna Davies and Viktoria Belle of The Sexual Assault Action Coalition to train bar staff on sexual assault and anti-assault procedures. They plan to release an educational manual on anti-violence and anti-harassment protocols, as well as a certification program. This is similar to other programs across Canada like Good Night Out Vancouver or Society for the Advocacy of Safer Spaces (Calgary).

These groups train industry workers on the basics of what harassment is, how to safely challenge it, and being an active bystander — just to name a few. Throughout training, staff learn that preventing sexual assault and harassment can be as simple as letting customers know you’re there to help. This can include posting signs in the bathrooms with the name of an on-duty manager, or a staff member passing a note to ask the customer if they may need help.

Jessica Laforet

If, for example, a bartender sees a patron kiss or touch another patron, they could use bystander intervention tactics such as saying "Hey! Don’t you think you’re getting a little aggressive there?" and verbally checking in with the person on the receiving end. Or, when someone orders a drink for someone else, these workshops will teach bartenders to always turn to the person to confirm if they actually want it.

“It's about creating conditions that promote inclusion and respect, and providing processes for accountability if something does go wrong,” said Veronica (who did not want her last name used), from the Society for the Advocacy of Safer Spaces (Calgary).

Jessica Laforet

Though venues sometimes cite costs as a reason to not take on a safer space mandate, Stacey Forrester and Ashtyn Bevan of Good Night Out Vancouver say that's no excuse.

“There is zero financial risk to supplying your staff with the training and skills to intervene on predatory behaviours in your business. So, it’s an investment, both for your business and in a culture that says no more of this behavior,” said Forrester.

Veronica has seen simple — and cost-effective — measures taken like displaying signage listing policies or having more frequent staff check-ins on how to handle sexual violence and discrimination.

Another cost-effective way is an awareness project called On The Table, created by Aisle 4, a curatorial collective based out of Toronto. The team partnered with four artists and commissioned 10,000 coasters with phrases that discuss sexual harassment and violence such as “Consent Matters.”

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“We have all felt unsafe at some point, as have most women,” said Emily Fitzpatrick, curator of Aisle 4. “So we wanted to raise awareness and spark dialogue through the coasters awareness project."

"As people take the coasters home as keepsakes, we hope discussions about sexual harassment and gender-based violence in their homes and social circles will continue.”

Admitting that hospitality staff have a role to play in preventing sexual violence can be taboo in the industry, but there's clearly an eagerness to make it happen. B.A.S.H. had more than 400 attendees and managed to raise $8,000 for the Dandelion Project.

“We need this training! While we work to create this curriculum, we need owners, managers and bartenders to implement making their spaces safe,” said Saye. ”Without their commitment, this won't happen — this is an entire industry collective.

Contact Amanda Scriver at lauren.strapagiel+amandascriver@buzzfeed.com.

 


'A Critical Turning Point': After #MeToo, Survivors and Activists Ask #NowWhat?

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In a post-Weinstein world, men and boys have to step up, activists say.

Viktoria Belle started #NowWhat, asking allies what they're going to do and survivors of sexual assault and violence what they need.

EDUARDO LIMA / METRO 

Viktoria Belle started #NowWhat, asking allies what they're going to do and survivors of sexual assault and violence what they need.

Viktoria Belle watched this week as, one by one, friends, colleagues and even strangers flooded her social-media feeds with stories of sexual assault and harassment, letting the world know it had happened to them, too.

"When you wake up in the morning as a survivor and you see 150 messages saying #MeToo ... of course you feel solidarity," said Belle.

"But you also feel a type of sadness and a type of pain that comes from the trauma of experiencing sexual assault that is very hard to describe to people who haven't experienced it."

While Belle praised the "incredible and important" vision of #MeToo, started a decade ago by activist Tarana Burke and lit up this week in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, she resents that it puts the onus on survivors to do all the work. Belle is focused on where to go from here, starting #NowWhat, which calls on people to pledge action and for survivors to share what they need.

"You've seen the amount of people who have been sexually assaulted on your page; what are you going to do?" asked Belle, a founder of the Dandelion Initiative, a non-profit created for survivors of sexual assault and violence.

A #MeToo march is planned for Queen's Park this fall, according to a Facebook page, and similar events are planned for Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.. But you don't have to take to the streets to do something. Belle says the most important thing is to believe people when they say they've been sexually assaulted or harassed and to "call things out when you see them that you know are wrong."

Anti-violence activist and academic Lucia Lorenzi sees the current moment as "a step forward" from the "whisper network" of woman-to-woman warnings and open secrets about powerful men. She called on managers to step up and look at their own workplace cultures to see what they could do to prevent and stop harassment and abuse.

In the weeks since the Weinstein reports, other powerful men are falling, from Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon to Amazon boss Roy Price.

While Lorenzi's a bit skeptical about how long this moment will last, she was encouraged to see people who've never spoken publicly about harassment and assault come forward through #MeToo.

"Perhaps the broadness of the hashtag and the vagueness of it in some ways made people feel a little bit safer in using it," she said. But her worry is that people talking about assault and harassment for the first time may not have the support they need or feel they can only come forward at times like these when everyone is talking about it.

Just a few years ago, as the Jian Ghomeshi trial dominated headlines in Toronto, #beenrapedneverreported brought a flood of such stories to the forefront. The hashtag YesAllWomen did the same with stories of harassment, discrimination and sexism that same year.

But Kevin Vowels, community engagement manager with White Ribbon, which works with men and boys to end violence against women, said the "media frenzy" around Weinstein has led to a "critical turning point."

In his workshops leading men and boys on things like consent and not being a bystander, there's one area where he still meets some resistance: believing survivors to build "a culture of deterrence."

That movement took a hit when U.S. President Trump was elected, despite a long list of sexual assault and harassment allegations against him.

"They didn't ruin his name," said Vowels.

"We have, in the highest office in the world, a man who has historically not respected women. And everybody knows it."

Sparked by allegations of sexual assault and harassment by film mogul Harvey Weinstein, people have been sharing their own stories on social media using the hashtag #MeToo. Metro asked Torontonians about the stories they shared and what they hope will come next.

By Sarah-Joyce Battersby

Emile Claire, 26

Emile Claire shared her story with #MeToo on Facebook to help boys and men, like her four-year-old twins, understand and change entrenched gender roles.

EMILE CLAIRE / FACEBOOK

Emile Claire shared her story with #MeToo on Facebook to help boys and men, like her four-year-old twins, understand and change entrenched gender roles.

A single mom to twin boys, Emile, 26, was looking forward to a rare night out with a girlfriend. But she found herself alone with a man she thought was a friend who wouldn't take no for an answer. So she "slugged him one right in the nose.” She shared her story on Facebook of feeling frozen, confused, even guilty. “My little family, I just felt like I had failed them," she said. But it's her family that's pushed her past those feelings and to teach her sons about entrenched gender roles and how they warp power relations. "I’m going to turn this into strength and motivation and power to raise my children to make a better place.”

Allysa Jayden, 24

Allysa Jayden shared her story using #MeToo.

EDUARDO LIMA / METRO

Allysa Jayden shared her story using #MeToo.

Allysa Jayden loves her job as an independent sex worker. It's an industry she chose freely and where she's forged "some of the best relationships I've had with human beings." But when she spoke out online about keeping the community safe, she was inundated with rape and death threats. At first, she was almost too shocked and scared to move from her couch. She "agonized for hours" before sharing the story with #MeToo. She urges everyone who is ready to speak out. "It's a necessary evil," she said. "Staying silent while it happens only helps the people perpetrating it."

Emily B., 18

As a lesbian woman recently married to a woman who identifies as lesbian and trans, Emily B. wanted to share a voice from the queer community.

@MARKWATNEYY/TWITTER

As a lesbian woman recently married to a woman who identifies as lesbian and trans, Emily B. wanted to share a voice from the queer community.

The details are difficult to talk about for Emily. She was 16 and at the library. And made to feel it was her fault. "It can happen to anyone anywhere," she told Metro. As a lesbian woman recently married to a woman who identifies as lesbian and trans, she wanted to share a voice from the queer community. “If we could work on including everybody in these conversations, there would be more awareness around how to deal with events like this.”

Kiera Alexandra Mackay, 19

Kiera Alexandra Mackay shared her story using #MeToo.

@ALEXANDRA_MAAC/TWITTER

Kiera Alexandra Mackay shared her story using #MeToo.

"#MeToo because my 'graduation trip' turned into my darkest memory. It was not my fault," tweeted Kiera Alexandra Mackay. The 19-year-old journalism student wanted to reach other women who felt alone, like she did. Dealing with the stress and suppressed feelings triggered an eating disorder, something she hopes to help other people avoid. "Positive coping mechanisms are out there, and this movement may have just been another one of them," she said.

Jane Walker, 36

Jane Walker has more than one story to share.

@JANE_E_WALKER / TWITTER

Jane Walker has more than one story to share.

Like many women, Jane Walker has more than one story to share, from street harassment to being taken advantage of by people in power. Adding her voice to the chorus was "incredibly hard," she said. "But it’s harder for people who don’t have a voice." In the current political climate, she fears progress is being rolled back. "People don’t have to be scared. People don’t have to hide behind humour or listen to jokes. I hope it just shines a light on how serious it is.”


Toronto Bartenders Rally to Increase Sexual Assault Training at Local Bars

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Bartenders Against Sexual Harassment (BASH!) was created after police charged two employees of College Street Bar with forcible confinement and sexual assault

BY 

JANUARY 10, 2017



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