By Moboluwajidide Joseph
The Ontario Council for Agencies Serving Immigrants’ takes on the battle against gender violence through the graphic novel, Telling Our Stories: Immigrant Women's Resilience. Written by immigrant and refugee women, for immigrant and refugee women, the work recounts their experiences as inspirational stories of resilience. The book also has multilingual editions and can be ordered in Urdu, Punjabi, Dari, Arabic, Tamil, Armenian, Somali, Chinese, and Spanish, as well as the official languages: English and French.
Next on our list is the Immigrants and Refugees Communities’ Neighbours Friends and Families Campaign, which provides resources and opportunities for those who need help, want to help, and desire change. The website includes accessible definitions of violence against women, the different forms it can take, a guide to assessing whether or not one is being abused, and useful statistics. Such as the worrying, 67% of Canadians know a survivor of violence against women. One of the most interesting things about this community is the option in the menu bar to erase tacks and hide the page, for those who wish to access these resources but not have others know.
Also doing important work in the community is Family Service Toronto, which provides a safe haven for older individuals experiencing abuse. Sometimes it can seem as though this intersectionality is one that is ignored, in favour of younger mothers and women who tend to be the stereotyped image of survivors. Pat’s Place is open to men, women and transgendered individuals above 60 years of age, however the website notes that this is not a shelter. More information on how to access this option is also available.
Metrac Action on Violence’s May Be Me is also a noteworthy cause. It encourages people to wear purple ribbons, which has been adopted as a symbol of solidarity in the fight against domestic violence. As a campaign to raise funds and awareness, the money raised has been used to fund Safety Audits of community spaces, run the ReAct program for youth peer support and create apps to help people deal with sexual harassment. The Safety Audits in particular help organizations and communities identify trouble spots, and come up with creative solutions to transform these areas.
Last, but in no way the least is the Barbra Schliffer’s Commemorative Clinic, which has existed since 1985 and has since then helped 67,000 women. Worth noting is their #AndMeToo Project, intended for survivors of sexual violence or women facing workplace violence, including those from immigrant and non-status communities. Intended for workers who are precariously employed, it aims to furnish them with legal aid, appropriate referrals to services and access to summary briefs.