Say #IBelieveSurvivors #WeBelieveSurvivors

On Thursday, March 24th, the verdict in the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault trial will be delivered. Individuals and organizations are getting together to show that #WeBelieveSurvivors.  Join us in solidarity to support the women who bravely testified, the countless others who could not go to the police, and people who have lived through sexual violence in our communities.

Let’s create a space to remind ourselves and others impacted by sexual violence that we believe, support, and love survivors. No matter the outcome of the trial, we support people who have lived through violence. Together we will celebrate all the ways we resist and seek justice. We believe survivors.

Here are ways you can get involved on the day of the verdict, Thursday March 24th or on any other day when you find yourself in a situation where a survivor needs your support.

First, here are some practical things you can do to support the Survivors in your life:

Practice community care: Check in with people around you, follow their lead and ask what they need. Maybe it’s a Beyonce dance party, dropping off a meal, or sending pictures of cute animals. Don’t make assumptions. LISTEN. They may not want to talk at all.  Remember, you can hold space, not talk.

Be Prepared: People you care about might disclose that they are survivors of sexual violence be it harassment, assault or rape. Listen, believe, remind them it’s not their fault, that they have the right to be safe and they are not alone. You can share resources like your local shelter, the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, Assaulted Women’s Helpline, Fem’aide, and Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse.

Respect Boundaries: People may not want to talk about the trial or about sexual violence at all. It’s not survivors job to educate you on sexual violence myths or share information about what we were subjected to. Do your own homework on the issues. For information on recognizing signs of domestic violence and abuse and more ideas on how you can support survivors, check this page on our website.

A coalition of Canadian organizations is spearheading a special campaign to support survivors on Verdict Day, March 24th.  They have some ideas for letting know that #WeBelieveSurvivors this Thursday:

  1. Post Selfies to Support Survivors online on March 24th with the hashtag #IBelieveSurvivors or #WeBelieveSurvivors. Show survivors that they are not alone. Show the world that we don't believe victim blaming and myths about sexual violence.   We believe survivors. Let's flood social media with messages of love and support for survivors! You can post on this special Facebook event page.
  2. Host a Self Care Crafternoon in your Community to create spaces to collectively come together. Let people know you or your organization will bring the crafts, and participants can bring the feelings. You can get a FREE PDF of the “We Believe You” colouring book for survivors & supports to use by emailing farrah.khan@ryerson.ca.  Get more ideas from this Ryerson event.

There are some events in the Toronto area to join in too:

Join the Rally & March at Old City Hall 60 Queen Street West, Toronto Thursday March 24 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Family friendly event, all genders welcome.

Participate in Court Solidarity on March 24th with a Creative Intervention from 8:00 am – 10:00 am at Old City Hall 60 Queen Street West.

For their collaboration to support Survivors on March 24th and provide venues for us to say #IBelieveSurvivors #WeBelieveSurvivors, our thanks goes out to:

  • Canadian Federation of Students, Ontario
  • Centre for Women and Trans People, Ryerson University
  • Centre for Women and Trans People, UTSC
  • Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education, Ryerson University
  • Sacha Hamilton: Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton & Area)
  • Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, Multicultural Women Against Rape.
  • York University Federation of Students

Questions? Want to list your event or to endorse rally & march please email ovse@ryerson.ca