In our work towards the liberation of women and children, we have come to recognize how difficult it is to start a different life in a new country, especially when you do not have anyone to help and support you. Adjusting to a new language, a new culture and a new way of living can be tough and isolating.
We have been supporting survivors of violence for approximately twenty years. Our approach is survivor-directed, which means our information comes from women directly. We believe that women are the experts on their lives and can make the right choices for themselves and their families. For more information regarding the Women and War Program, please contact the program co-ordinator at (613) 725-2160 ext. 225 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based a 1992 needs assessment, in 1995 SASC started a project aimed at contacting diverse women from various communities throughout the Ottawa-Carleton region to share ideas on women’s experience of wartime rape and torture. We called this project ‘Women and War’.
The project involved outreach and information exchange with five communities of women of colour and refugee women, attempting to contact directly the women who had experienced wartime rape and torture in their country of origin. One of the primary objectives of the project was to name and describe barriers to reaching social services faced by these women.
Our second objective was to strengthen our ties with immigrant and refugee women in our region and to document their expressed needs. Our long-term objective was to provide support services based on these needs that were accessible and culturally appropriate to women who had experienced war, rape and torture.
We were able to described widespread barriers, such as the lack of community supports for women and the lack of services, within a feminist, anti-oppression framework. We learned that many women did not want to talk about their experiences of war. They considered it to be “in the past” or that it was “too painful.” Rather, the women wanted to focus on their present and future circumstances. Following the recommendations from the women who took part in the Women and War project the Women, War, Rape and Torture Program became a core program of SASC in 1997. Our program is unique in Ontario due to the way in which it adapts to the changing dynamics and barriers faced by women’s needs in our community.
Program & Services
The services within our Women and War program include:
- Individual support.
- Advocacy around women’s rights and gender-based discrimination.
- Accompaniment and referrals around medical, legal and immigration issues.
- Building networks with diverse communities.
- Outreach and public education around the issues faced by survivors of war, rape and torture.
- Raising awareness and sensitivity to the issues of immigrant and refugee women and their families.
- Opportunities to talk with other women on issues that are important to the women in their communities.
- Opportunities to set up informal support networks in their communities.
We believe supporting the survivors of wartime violence against women is essential to our work. We provide a holistic approach in cooperation with organizations, communities and families. If you come for support, your privacy and feeling of safety are our first concern.