Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

Charity, Solidarity, and the Holiday Season, part one

January 30, 2015

Today’s post is the first of three reflections on giving, the holidays, and the work that we do at House of Friendship. In this post I discuss how generous folks can support us doing our work today while also supporting our longer term vision of a community where all can belong and thrive: a community where nobody needs to use food banks. Part two in this series is a guest post, a meditation on being caught in the middle of donors and patrons. 

House of Friendship’s 12 Days for Good campaign is over and our annual Potato Blitz is well under way. Our 12 local “Do-Gooders” have shared their stories, and we hope you have been inspired by their hard work to ‘do good’ in 2015—so far 457 folks have signed on to do good this year. In a way, then, 12 Days for Good is still going.

I know that many people, especially during the holiday season, want to “do good.” But how? If they’re anything like me, this is when things get complicated, when wondering about the ‘how’ turns into basic existential worrying that becomes, sometimes, paralyzing.

Walking in solidarity

At House of Friendship we talk regularly about “walking with” members of our community so that all can “belong and thrive.” This idea excites me because it implies solidarity. “Solidarity is not the same as support,” says feminist writer bell hooks. “To experience solidarity, we must have a community of interests, shared beliefs and goals around which to unite, to build Sisterhood.” On the other hand, “Support can be occasional. It can be given and just as easily withdrawn. Solidarity requires sustained, ongoing commitment.” (more…)

Women’s Rights are Human Rights #12daysforgood

December 10, 2014

human rights

Women’s Rights are Human Rights By Sara Casselman

Sexual violence has been discussed publicly in recent months more than ever before. We’ve been overwhelmed with reports and related commentary about powerful men accused of sexually assaulting and harassing women.

Heroes have fallen. Allegations of sexual assault and harassment have surfaced (or, in some cases, resurfaced) about Jian Ghomeshi, Bill Cosby, and a number of men in the political sphere.

Sexual violence doesn’t just exist outside our circles; it’s happening here and it’s more common than people think.

One out of three Canadian women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime and less than 10% report these experiences. (In 2013 there were 583 sexual assaults reported to police locally.)

For many years sexual assault services have been stretched beyond capacity and survivors have often waited months for counselling after reaching out for support.

December 10th is International Human Rights Day. We know that women’s rights are human rights; we all have the right to live safe from violence. Sexual violence is pervasive but it’s not inevitable. In fact, it’s preventable.

How can we, as members of our community interested in doing good, address this issue?

  • First and foremost, we need to listen, believe and support survivors of sexual violence. Survivors are often blamed, shamed and doubted when they disclose their experience. Because of this, we have to intentionally create a community in which survivors feel safe speaking up. (False reporting is rare; it accounts for 2-4% of police reports. It’s much more common that someone would never disclose than it is that they would make a false allegation.)
  • Sexual violence is about power and control, not passion. We need to raise our boys to treat women and girls with fairness, equality and respect. (For ideas on how to do this, visit
  • This season of giving consider a donation to our counselling program.
  • Join us on January 7th. Our community has organized an incredible event in support of survivors of sexual violence as an alternative to Bill Cosby’s scheduled local performance.

sara casselman

With timely, appropriate support for survivors and public education aimed at prevention, we know that a better future exists for our daughters and our sons.

Find out more about Sara and the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region on Twitter 

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