Section 3: Accountability & Justice


This section includes additional information about facilitating the activities included in the Accountability & Repairing Relationships Training Slide Deck. The goal is to meet the needs and learning styles of whomever you are working, and so facilitators are encouraged to include additional reading and reflection pieces as they see fit. There are also more ideas about creative facilitation strategies in Section 2: Accessibility, Inclusion, and Safety.

Session 1 – Foundational Knowledge

Activity: Grounding in what we know

Learning Outcome(s) Addressed: Develop skills to build better relationships

Intent: To ground learner(s) in the things they already know about maintaining respectful relationships; to help ground learner(s) in the overarching goal of creating and maintaining meaningful relationships and communities; to help learners see that they make choices about their behaviour in relationships.

Download Worksheet here: Grounding in What We Know [Word file].


  • Part 1: Have learners reflect on the checklist provided in the worksheet. Remind them that these can be relevant to all kinds of different relationships (romantic, friendly, collegial, family, etc.). You can ask if they have any questions or reflections about it, but ultimately it is a personal reflective piece for themselves.
  • Describe the Pyramid of Safety and how each of these levels is necessary to create healthy relationships in our lives (slide 7).
  • Part 2: Allow time for learner(s) to reflect on these questions that explore different levels of the pyramid. Invite them to let you know if they are unsure about the meaning or purpose of a question.
  • Once they are done, debrief with them noting that:
    • They’ve just outlined they’re already working to show people they’re safe, trustworthy, honest and that they desire closeness/connection. This demonstrates they value being part of healthy relationships and communities.
    • It’s important to notice how much time, thought and energy goes into creating healthy relationships.
    • Our behaviour is guided by deliberate choices we make, based on what we notice about other people and the way that they respond to us.
    • Safety, honesty, trust and closeness are created with deliberate thought and action and violence happens the same way. When we take a close look at specific instances, we start to notice all the small steps taken to get there.

Notes and considerations

Activity: Defining sexual violence

Learning Outcome(s) Addressed: Identify the spectrum of sexual behaviours that can be harmful

Intent: To ensure learners understand these terms in the same way as facilitators and the institutions they attend/work at.

All B.C. public post-secondary institutions are required to have a sexual violence and misconduct policy. This policy will include definitions of sexual violence and you will want to revise your training materials to reflect these definitions and include a link to the policy.

The following handout includes examples of definitions that you may want to edit and include.

Download Handout here: Definitions of Sexual Violence [Word file].


Explain the importance of knowing what these terms mean, especially as language is ever changing and the meanings can vary depending on things like culture or setting (i.e., slightly different between different universities or from province to province). Because of the fluidity of language, it is important to define terms people say they understand and ones they are unsure about. You are encouraged to make this an interactive activity. Depending on time, you could choose one of the following options for a few terms, then distribute a full definitions page and let learners know it is their responsibility to be aware of what the terms mean at your institution.

  • Option 1: Put your institutional definitions into an interactive, free, online game, like Kahoot!
  • Option 2: Create a matching worksheet or game.
  • Option 3: Choose a term and have learners brainstorm what they think it means. Compare to your institution’s definition(s).

Notes and Considerations

  • Sometimes this section can make people realize they have experienced things that are now being defined as violence. Facilitators should know how to receive disclosures and have working knowledge of supports for victim/survivors. See Supporting Survivors Training and Facilitator Guide: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in B.C. Post-Secondary Institutions.
  • Similarly, learners may realize from this section that they have done things to or with others that would be identified as violent. It may be helpful to refer back to the section on managing responses and the “feeling a feeling” spiral as well as supports available (slides 9-13).
  • At the very least, ensure all learners have a copy of the definitions page for their reference. It can be easy to get lost in the words facilitators are comfortable using so this is an important resource for learners.
  • If you find other effective, interactive strategies for definitions, share them with the rest of the community!

Session 2 – Understanding Harm: Impacts and Responses

Activity: Experiences and impacts

Learning Outcome(s) Addressed: Identify the spectrum of behaviours that can be harmful; Reflect on how and why violence happens

Intent: To demonstrate common forms of sexual violence and how many factors come together to allow them to thrive; to encourage learners to take the perspective of others in the situations; to highlight the ways victim/survivors respond to violence and the choice of person who caused harms to act in violent ways; intent vs. impact.

The slide deck includes each of the scenarios and debriefing notes in the notes section below the slide. You can delete the scenarios you do not plan to use in your training or move the scenarios into a different order. As well, you can print out or share a handout with each of the scenarios. Feel free to make edits and changes to the scenarios to suit your audience. There is also a worksheet that can be shared with learners that helps them to explore the scenarios either on their own or in small groups.

For Learners:

For Facilitators:


Before beginning this activity, be aware that the scenarios outline various kinds of harm, and while discomfort is common and necessary here, there is a chance they may elicit trauma responses if people have previous experiences of violence. Details are included to notice where and how victim/survivors resist violence and to notice where decisions were made to ignore (or respect) personal boundaries, body language and any other efforts to resist violence or otherwise indicate a “no.” Please use your best professional judgement to keep the balance in tolerable discomfort. Adjust the level of detail as you feel necessary, remind learners they can opt out, move on to the next scenario or take breaks, and ensure the learner(s) know where campus or community support are. You can also refer to Section 2: Trauma Awareness for additional suggestions on creating safety.

Choose or have learners choose a scenario to work through. Ask them to read the scenario and think through each of the questions. There are preliminary answers listed in case learner(s) are having a hard time getting started, but it is important that the learner(s) voice their own thoughts first. It is likely that things we have not listed will come up and those are equally important to capture. Work through as many as you have time for. If possible, invite learner(s) to reflect on others in their own time and debrief in another session (or provide the “answer” key).

If you happen to be working with a small group, you could split them into teams and have each work on a different scenario.

Notes and considerations

  • You may want to refer to Section 2: Asking Questions to Prompt Critical Thinking for ideas on how to facilitate discussion about the scenarios.
  • Expect resistance and justification in this section. Remind learners that discomfort is normal, these are common things that happen, and it is likely that people experience these things multiple times in a given day/week/month/year. Their impact can be cumulative even if it seems like the one “isolated” incident isn’t that impactful.
  • Feel free to edit or create scenarios so they suit your context or audience better.
  • While all of the potential impacts on the person who caused harm are legitimate, it may be important to remember that they are not always held accountable for their actions in these ways. Asking the learner(s) why they think this is could also lead to fruitful conversations.
  • When debriefing the “Potential impact on the victim/survivor” section, it is common for feelings to be identified, and it is important to know about and point toward short and long term trauma impacts, as are outlined on slide 37. (Facilitators may find more information about impacts from Immediate and Delayed Reactions to Trauma or Understanding the Impact of Trauma).
  • These conversations can be draining on the facilitator as well. Revisit your own support and self-care plan or people as needed.
Overview of Scenarios
Scenario Type of violence Other notes
1 Unwanted advances, sexually explicit stories White male is supervisor of racialized employee
2 Stalking, harassment Students required to work together in project, international student
3 Sexual assault, alcohol facilitated Living in residence, new relationship
4 Sexual harassment: Sexually explicit stories and comments Colleagues, male training female on new job
5 Sexualization of classmates, pressure to remain silent Classmates in small, tight knit program, gender non-binary person
6 Sexually explicit stories, questions about personal sex life Group of classmates
7 Sexually explicit comments, racism Colleagues, Indigenous woman
8 Gender-based comments, groping (sexual assault) Classmates, recently shared trans identity with peers
9 Threats, coercion Students in a relationship, international students

Activity: Barriers to disclosures

Learning Outcome(s) Addressed: Reflect on how and why violence happens; Plan to build healthier relationships and communities

Intent: Understanding barriers to reporting/disclosing is critical to providing a positive response to disclosures and provides insight as to why violence continues to go unaddressed.

Download Worksheet here: Barriers to Disclosures [Word file].


Choose any of the options below. Each one can be done individually, in small groups or as a “homework” task and brought back to debrief at another time. Through your discussion, connect the reasons learner(s) come up with back to the intent of the activity, highlighting that not speaking up does not mean violence or harm hasn’t occurred.

  • Option 1: Using the scenario(s) that you worked through in the Experiences and Impacts Activity, ask the learner(s) to think about why the victim/survivor would not have spoken up. Once they have thought about those, prompt for other reasons in other situations.
  • Option 2: Use the “Why I Didn’t Report It” image and ask questions like: What is this image about? What stands out for you? Who’s making those statements? Is there anything surprising that you hadn’t considered before? What would it take to overcome these barriers?
  • Option 3: Ask learners to explore the #whyididntreport campaign on Twitter for more insights into barriers to speaking out. Ask them to choose one tweet that stood out to them as powerful or surprising and have a discussion about it.

Draw on some of these examples from EVA BC (2016) if the learner(s) are having trouble getting started:

  • Shame, particularly if the assault was perpetrated by someone they trusted or if there were drugs or alcohol involved.
  • Fear that they will not be believed or will be blamed, especially if this has been their experience in the past or they have seen this kind of thing in popular culture (e.g., television, movies).
  • Confusion about whether or not it was sexual assault (especially if the survivor is young and/or unaware of the law).
  • Fear for their safety, or the safety of their friends and family, especially if threats were involved.
  • Conflicted feelings about the person who caused harm getting into trouble, especially if they were assaulted by someone they know (e.g., intimate/dating partner, spouse, friend, family member) or if the person who caused harm is part of the same close community
  • Fear the response of the police and the justice system or fear nothing will come of reporting.

We’ve also noted the following barriers based on our experiences as facilitators:

  • Concern about how a tight knit community could be negatively impacted, either relationally or in terms of public perception
  • Concern about being isolated within or from a community that provides them with significant connection and support
  • Concern about being retaliated against (in a social way) by peers, not just the person who caused harm
  • Concern about how their professional lives could be impacted by speaking out, currently or in the future
  • Distrust in the formal resolution options available to them
  • Lack of support to engage in formal resolution options: can’t afford time off work to attend appointments, don’t have the social support necessary to withstand the emotional burden over what is often a long, drawn out process. There are often long waitlists for professional support services, and they may not be offered in accessible ways (e.g., language, transportation required, only during work hours, or only for certain demographics of people).
  • Competing priorities: academic needs, professional expectations, familial or caregiving needs may take precedence to speaking out.

Prompting questions

  • How do you think the barriers would be different or similar for:
    • A different kind of violence such as racism? Physical violence?
    • A victim/survivor with different intersecting identities (e.g., gender, race, Indigeneity, sexual orientation, etc)?
    • A person who caused harm with different identities
    • A different relationship between a person who caused harm(s) and victim/survivor(s) (e.g., friend, family member, co-worker, partner, teammate)
  • Why do we default to thinking a victim/survivor is lying or exaggerating rather than thinking about these barriers when we hear that harm has happened?

Notes and considerations

  • These activities can be done one-on-one, in pairs, small groups or a larger group. Answers should be recorded so that they can be shared with the entire group and inform future sessions.
  • Since it is likely not possible to get through all of the barriers, it may be helpful to provide learners with the full list of possibilities for reflection on their own time.
  • These conversations can be draining on the facilitator as well. Revisit your own support and care plan or people as needed.

Session 3 – Building Better Relationships

Activity: Power and privilege

Learning Outcome(s) Addressed: Reflect on how and why violence happens; develop skills to build better relationships.

Intention: to have learners recognize that there are different, equally valid ways of experiencing the world; to have learners reflect on their own identities and realize areas where they may not have realized they hold privilege.


There are three options for this activity.

  • Option 1: Power Flower
    • Ensure each learner has a copy of the flower, option to print out a large version of it if facilitation in small group; if done synchronously online, use blank slide to type in discussion notes.
  • Option 2: Power and Privilege Wheel
    • Explain that this wheel is a visual representation of the way power is assigned to people’s identities.
    • Invite learners to take some time and make a mark where they would fall in each slice of the wheel.
    • If delivering synchronously online via Zoom, you can prompt learners to use an annotate function to put an anonymous mark on where they would land.
  • Option 3: Buzzfeed Quiz

Points to consider in debriefing either of the options:

  • A “general Canadian” society is shaped by Eurocentric, colonial and patriarchal values and norms which privilege Whiteness, wealth, masculinity, able-bodied, cis-gendered and heterosexual folks.
  • Power depends on context (time, place, culture), and it is best understood as a relational spectrum rather than a “have” or “do not have” dichotomy (Cho et al., 2013; Havinsky, 2014).
  • Many aspects of people’s identities can and do change over time. For example, while something like perceived race likely won’t change, gender identity, education or socioeconomic status can shift and change.
  • The point of the activity is not to create a hierarchy of suffering or marginalization. If this becomes a sticking point, it may be helpful to encourage learners to think about it as a matrix. This promotes thinking about multiple identities and power dynamics as interlocking, mutually influential, and simultaneously important (Abrams et al., 2020; Bowleg, 2008; Havinsky, 2014; Havinsky & Cormier, 2019). The focus is on how multiple social power structures shape people’s experiences, not on quantifying how much they do.

Prompting questions

  • Which ones stood out to you most?
  • Did any give you a feeling of discomfort or disagreement?
  • Were there privileges you didn’t realize you had? Were you surprised by anything?

Notes and considerations

  • This activity can be time consuming (30-60 minutes) depending on how deep into conversation you’d like to or are able to go.
  • Learners will have a range of experience and knowledge with these ideas. Because time will likely be tight, it can be helpful to have some additional learning opportunities you can refer them to:
  • People who experience multiple forms of oppression are well aware of the day to day realities of it. This is a good place to remind people of support options available to them on campus and in the community.
  • These conversations can be draining and difficult on the facilitator as well. Revisit your own support and care plan or people as needed.


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Accountability and Repairing Relationships: Training and Facilitation Guide Copyright © 2021 by Sexual Violence Training Development Team is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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