Consent & Sexual Violence: Training and Facilitation Guide

Consent & Sexual Violence: Training and Facilitation Guide

Training for Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in B.C. Post-Secondary Institutions

Sexual Violence Training Development Team

BCcampus

Victoria, B.C.

Contents

1

Accessibility Statement

The web version of Consent & Sexual Violence Training and Facilitator Guide: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in B.C. Post-Secondary Institutions has been designed with accessibility in mind by incorporating the following features:

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Known Accessibility Issues and Areas for Improvement

While we strive to ensure that this resource is as accessible and usable as possible, we might not always get it right. Any issues we identify will be listed below.

There are currently no known issues.

Accessibility Standards

The web version of this resource has been designed to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, level AA. In addition, it follows all guidelines in Accessibility Toolkit: Checklist for Accessibility. The development of this toolkit involved working with students with various print disabilities who provided their personal perspectives and helped test the content.

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This statement was last updated on May 12, 2021.

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Creative Commons License

Consent & Sexual Violence Training and Facilitator Guide: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in BC Post-Secondary Institutions was collaboratively created as part of the BCcampus Sexual Violence and Misconduct (SVM) Training and Resources Project. The project was led by BCcampus and a working group of students, staff and faculty from BC post-secondary institutions. It was funded by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (AEST).

The guide is an adaptation of Jumpstart Students (2020) by the University of British Columbia Okanagan, which was shared under a Memorandum of Understanding with BCcampus to be adapted as an open education resource (OER) for the BC post-secondary education sector.

This adaptation is © 2021 by the Sexual Violence Training Development Team and is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 License, except where otherwise noted.

The enhancements made to this resource were informed by the Evaluating Sexualized Violence Training and Resources: A Toolkit for B.C. Post-Secondary Institutions developed by the Sexual Violence Training and Resources working group.

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Acknowledgements

The authors and contributors who worked on this resource are dispersed throughout BC and Canada and they wish to acknowledge the following traditional, ancestral and unceded territories where they met online and worked together, including K’ómoks First Nation in Comox Valley, BC; Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ territories in Victoria, BC; xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) territories in Vancouver, BC; Syilx Okanagan Territory in Kelowna BC; the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Territory in Kamloops, BC; Ktunaxa, Syilx (Okanagan), and Sinixt territories in the West Kootenays, BC; Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples in Toronto, ON. We honour the traditional knowledge and ways of knowing and being of the peoples of these territories. Their knowledge has existed in these spaces since time began.

Consent & Sexual Violence Training and Facilitator Guide: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in BC Post-Secondary Institutions was a collaboration between the public post-secondary institutions of British Columbia, BCcampus, and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training as part of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct (SVM) Training Project.

We would like to thank the Sexual Violence Training and Resources Working Group for their leadership, dedication, and passion for this project over the past two years.

We would like to thank all the Sexual Violence Training Development Team who worked hard to create content and enhance this training to ensure these resources reflect the core principles in the Evaluating Sexualized Violence Training and Resources: A Toolkit for B.C. Post-Secondary Institutions.

We would like to thank all the BC post-secondary institutions, student associations, and community organizations who shared their training to be evaluated as part of Phase One for this Project. We would also like to thank DKS Consulting for their work on evaluating the SVM training in BC

We would like to thank Thompson Rivers University, the University of British Columbia Okanagan, AMS Student Society of UBC Vancouver; Sexual Assault Support Centre, and Simon Fraser University for the sharing of their SVM training resources for this project.

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Introduction

Download the Consent & Sexual Violence: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in B.C. Post-Secondary Institutions Training PowerPoint Slide Deck that accompanies this Facilitator Guide here: Consent and Sexual Violence Training Slide Deck [PPTX].

This resource was developed as part of a provincial project to develop open access resources to address sexual violence and misconduct at post-secondary institutions.

Consent & Sexual Violence Training and Facilitator Guide: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in B.C. Post-Secondary Institutions is one of four open educational resources now available for the B.C. post-secondary sector. These four components can serve as a foundation for a comprehensive educational strategy to provide students, faculty, and staff with the awareness, knowledge, and skills required to prevent and respond to sexual violence and misconduct and to create healthier and safer campuses for all.

Sexual Violence and Misconduct Resources
Training Audience Delivery Length Summary
Accountability and Repairing Relationships Individuals who have been informed that they have caused harm in the context of sexual violence One-on-one or small group facilitation Four 60-90 minute sessions (minimum) A series of educational sessions that guides learners through information and reflection activities that help them recognize the harm they have caused, learn how to be accountable, and develop the skills needed to build better relationships and support a safe and healthy campus.
Active Bystander Intervention All faculty, students, and staff Workshop One 90 minute session A workshop that focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to recognize and intervene in an incident of sexual violence. Uses the 4D’s Active Bystander Intervention Model.
Consent and Sexual Violence All faculty, students, and staff Workshop One 90 minute session A workshop that explores different understandings of consent, including the legal definition. Learners have the opportunity to develop skills related to asking for and giving consent in all relationships as well as discuss strategies for creating a “culture of consent” in campus communities.
Supporting Survivors All faculty, students, and staff Workshop One 90 minute session A workshop that helps learners respond supportively and effectively to disclosures of sexual violence. Includes a discussion of available supports and resources, the difference between disclosing and. reporting, and opportunities to practice skills for responding to disclosures. Uses the Listen, Believe, Support model.

Background: The Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act

In 2016, the B.C. Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act was introduced, requiring all 25 B.C. public post-secondary institutions to develop policies to prevent and respond to sexual violence and misconduct. In 2017–2018, a government outreach campaign identified the need to increase access to quality training resources. While access to training resources is an issue for all institutions, it is a particular challenge for smaller institutions. The need for open access educational resources that could be adapted by individual post-secondary institutions was identified as an important part of increasing knowledge about sexual violence and system-level capacity building (BCcampus, 2019).

In 2019, a cross-sectoral sexual violence and misconduct training and resources working group was established to provide advice and identify priorities for the development of the resources. Over a two year period, the Working Group:

This training is part of a growing collection of open education resources for addressing sexual violence in BC. These resources are intended to be of use for staff, students, and faculty working in a range of contexts, including:

How This Resource Was Developed

The resources for this project were developed, written, and reviewed collaboratively by a development team which included individuals with expertise in a wide range of areas, including sexual violence prevention and response, trauma-informed practice, adult education, equity and inclusion, Indigenous education, and community-based anti-violence programming and service delivery. Members of the Sexual Violence Training and Resources Working Group also reviewed the materials and provided feedback on how to tailor the materials to the post-secondary context.

Content specific to Indigenous considerations, working with international students, and gender & LGBTQ2SIA+ inclusion was reviewed and/or written by individuals with extensive experience in these areas. However, it is important to remember that these are areas where best practices are rapidly emerging and changing. We highly recommend that this resource be used as an introduction and foundation for addressing these topics in your work. As you adapt this training for your particular context, it is important to continue to build on the expertise and knowledge of students, staff, and faculty with experience in these areas and to develop an approach to training that reflects current issues, needs, language, and perspectives of these diverse groups within your institution and/or community.

How to Use This Resource

This resource includes two components:

  1. Slide deck. This includes slides with key presentation points and facilitator notes. The slides can be adapted to your institution as they include examples of where you can create a territory land acknowledgement specific to your context, update and include statistics, and share information about your institution’s sexual violence and misconduct policy and procedures.
  2. Facilitator Guide. This includes information to prepare facilitators to deliver training on the topic of sexual violence as well as suggestions for adapting, expanding, and modifying the training for different audiences and formats.

This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY 4.0 License) which means that you are free to share (copy, distribute, and transmit) and remix (adapt) this resource providing that you provide attribution to the original content creators. You can provide credit by using the attribution statement below.

Attribution statement

Consent & Sexual Violence Training and Facilitator Guide: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in B.C. Post-Secondary Institutions by the Sexual Violence Training Development Team is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Key Principles

In December 2019, a Working Group of experts in the field of sexual violence met to discuss the development of sexual violence training and resources at post-secondary institutions in BC. The group included staff, students and faculty actively involved in sexual violence prevention and response activities at their respective institutions. Following the meeting, the Working Group met through an online community of practice to identify key principles central to development of training on sexual violence. These eight key principles have guided the development of this resource.

  1. Accessibility
  2. Culturally Located
  3. Decolonial Approach
  4. Evidence-Informed
  5. Gender-Inclusive
  6. Intersectionality
  7. Trauma-Informed
  8. Survivor-Centred

A full description of the principles can be found in Evaluating Sexualized Violence Training and Resources: A Toolkit for B.C. Post-Secondary Institutions (SVM Training and Resources Working Group, 2020).

I

Section 1: Getting Started

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Adapting the Training to Your Institution

Link the Training to Your Institution’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy

The Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act (2016) requires all B.C. public post-secondary institutions to have a sexual violence and misconduct policy. Institutions are required to review their policies at least every three years and to include consultation with students as part of the review.

As you prepare your training materials, you will want to make sure that you have the most up-to-date version of your institution’s policy. Every institution has different definitions of sexual violence and misconduct and you will want to revise the training materials to reflect this and include links to the policy in all resources.

If your institution does not have a plain language summary of the policy, you may want to collaborate with on-campus organizations to develop one. Within a campus community, English literacy levels will vary enormously. As well, an accessible policy helps to support victims and survivors of sexual violence in having control and autonomy over their options related to making a disclosure, making a report, and accessing supports, accommodations, and other resources.

Link the Training to Your Institution’s Procedures and Protocols

As you prepare your training, you may want to learn more about your institution’s protocols and procedures related to sexual violence. These protocols and procedures will describe the roles and responsibilities of various departments, services, staff and faculty following a disclosure of sexual violence. It can be helpful to include some specific information about what happens following a disclosure in your training and/or to be able to respond to questions that learners might have.

You also may be designing and delivering your training for students, staff, faculty, and administrators who may be involved in responding to disclosures. You may want to ask about what kind of training they are interested in, e.g., online or in-person, length, “Level 1” or “Level 2.” You will also want to ensure that your training reaches individuals from different areas of the campus community.

Link the Training to On-Campus and Community Resources and Supports

Collaborating with groups and organizations on your campus and in the community can increase the accessibility and effectiveness of your training. Collaboration can lead to the development of new resources, opportunities for including the latest research and best practices on sexual violence prevention and response, and opportunities for co-hosting training and involving guest speakers (such as community support workers or Elders) and a greater diversity of facilitators. Some of the groups you might consider include:

Building relationships with a variety of student groups can be one of the most important ways of enhancing your training. This can include international students, students with disabilities, LGBTQ2SIA+ students, Indigenous students, graduate students, fraternities and sororities, and students involved in sex work. They will be able to provide perspectives on the issues that are important or relevant to them and provide guidance on issues such as inclusive language, when and where to hold trainings to increase participation, and barriers to accessing supports and services.

You will want to update any existing lists of resources and supports related to sexual violence. It is good practice to include both on-campus and community-based organizations, 24/7 supports as well as supports specific to various communities (e.g., LGBTQ2SIA+ people, multicultural groups). For information about community based anti-violence organizations, VictimLink B.C. (1-800-563-0808) is a good starting place as they will be able to connect you with organizations in your community.

Locating Community-Based Anti-Violence Programs and Services

VictimLink BC (1-800-563-0808) is a toll-free, BC-wide telephone help line, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It provides services in over 130 languages. It can be an important resource to include in learning materials. As well, the service can provide support in identifying programs and services in your community related to preventing and responding to sexual violence. They can help you identify crisis services (available in the evenings and on weekends) and learn about the referral criteria for specific groups and populations. For example, you will want to make sure that resource lists indicate whether a program is trans-inclusive or whether a multicultural program provides services for non-immigrants.

The Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA-BC) website provides information about Community-Based Victim Services, Stopping the Violence Counselling and Stopping the Violence/Multicultural Outreach Programs in BC.

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Indigenous Considerations

Developing and delivering training on sexual violence can be an opportunity to build upon existing work at your institution toward Indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation.

Territory Acknowledgement

Acknowledging the traditional lands of the Indigenous people on which you live, work, and study is an important way to begin an event or meeting and can be included as part of classroom activities and taught to students. Meaningful territory acknowledgements allow you to develop a closer and deeper relationship with not only the land but the traditional stewards and peoples whose territory you reside, work, live, and prosper in.

Acknowledging the territory within the context of sexual violence training will open a person’s perspective to traditional ways of knowing and being, stepping out of an organizational structure and allowing you to delve into the person’s own perceptions, needs and abilities.

When we speak about sexual violence, we cannot do so without highlighting the direct connection to tactics used to colonize and assimilate the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island (North America). Sexual violence is intimately intertwined in Indigenous peoples ongoing traumas from colonization; from first contact in North America, to the horrific abuses perpetrated upon children in Residential Schools, the occupation of land and accessing of natural resources without consent, to the forced sterilization of Indigenous women, to the thousands of Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people as victims of sexual or physical violence and death as highlighted by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Commission of Canada.

Territory acknowledgements are designed as the very first step to reconciliation. What we do with the knowledge of whose traditional lands we are on is the next important step.

Some questions to consider as you acknowledge your territory:

Should your institution have an approved territory acknowledgement please use that to open the session(s); however, we invite you to consider how to make that institution statement more personal and specific to you, in that moment and in the work you are about to delve into with learners.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action explicitly state that each of us as members of Canadian society have a direct responsibility to contribute to reconciliation; how we discuss colonization in relation to sexual violence is a direct response to that responsibility.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is an international instrument adopted by the United Nations on September 13, 2007, to enshrine (according to Article 43) the rights that “constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.” UNDRIP was adopted into the B.C. provincial legislature on November 26, 2019. Centering the history of colonization as a background and framework to sexual violence and misconduct both from a historical as well as current ongoing struggle is in direct response to our legal and moral obligation as members of Canadian society.

Curriculum Development and Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being

Indigenization is a process of naturalizing and valuing Indigenous knowledge systems (Antoine, et al., 2018; Little Bear, 2009). In the context of post-secondary institutions, this involves bringing Indigenous knowledge and approaches together with Western knowledge systems. This benefits not only Indigenous learners but all students, staff, faculty and campus community members involved or impacted by Indigenization.

As you adapt this training for your particular context, consider how and in what ways you might interweave Indigenous content and approaches. Examples of how you might include an understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing and being:

As you do this work, as an Indigenous or non-Indigenous person, you will want to continue to draw upon and build on existing relationships with Indigenous people, both within and outside of your institution. As a way of continuing to work in intentional and respectful ways, you may want to reflect on questions such as:

Elders and Knowledge Keepers

Elders have always been the foundation for emotional, social, intellectual, physical and spiritual guidance for Indigenous communities. As you find ways to naturalize Indigenous context, perspectives and traditional ways of being into your training, we recommend you consider inviting an Elder or Knowledge Keeper from your local community to support your sessions. One way of doing this is to speak with your Indigenous Student Services Department at your institution and share with them some of the recommendations in this guide and see how they might wish to support this work.

Not all institutions will have an Elder-in-Residence but each should have ways for you to contract an Elder or Knowledge Keeper to come in and support your work. Elders and Knowledge Keepers often support the whole post-secondary institution community, not just the Indigenous students. Involving Elders and Knowledge Keepers can help support reconciliation by helping to build respectful, reciprocal relationships that are deep and meaningful.

Whenever you plan to bring in a community member, Elder, or Knowledge Keeper, it is important to plan for the honorarium required to remunerate them for their time and sharing their lifetime of wisdom and traditional teachings. In many communities, it is seen as most respectful to offer payment on par with what you would pay a Ph.D. holder to do a keynote presentation. However, consulting on this with the Indigenous Services staff at your institution on what is a typical amount for this type of event is also a good practice.

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International Students

In 2018, there were nearly 500,000 international students in Canada at all levels of study which was an 17% increase from 2017 (Canadian Bureau for International Education, 2018). B.C. hosts the second largest international student population next to Ontario, followed by Quebec.

International students may be at significant increased risk of being targeted for sexual violence and may face unique barriers to reporting and accessing supports (see Section 2: International Students for more information about barriers). According to the B.C. International Student Survey, international students rely primarily on other international students from their home country and from other countries for their primary sources of support, especially for non-academic issues (Adamosky, 2015). Consequently, international students who are survivors of sexual assault will be more likely to disclose the sexual assault and gain support from other the international students. International students who experience or who are impacted by sexual violence are also significantly less likely to seek help from counselling services due to language barriers and cultural differences (Mori, 2000). To make matters more complex, cultural perspectives of violence and rape myths differ from one culture to another (Bonistall Postel, 2017). Thus, international students might have difficulty identifying sexual violence and responding to disclosures of sexual assault. Therefore, it is important for post-secondary institutions to play a role in equipping international students with basic understanding on how to best respond, support, and advocate for their peers in an appropriate and sensitive matter that does not further traumatize the survivor.

Post-secondary institutions should involve international students in the development and implementation of training on sexual violence. They are the experts and can identify the gaps and needs of their peer groups and as individuals. Facilitators can develop the training agenda based on their needs and be prepared with the relevant safety resources that include community organizations and groups, translated materials and supports.  Post-secondary institutions can build partnerships with organizations that are providing support to international students who can share the collateral they have, e.g., safety booklets, infographics and educational materials (see, for example, the International Student Safety Guide [PDF] developed by MOSAIC).

II

Section 2: Considerations for Facilitators

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Understanding Your Social Location as a Facilitator

The term social location is often used by facilitators working in the anti-violence sector (Baker et al, 2015; Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses, 2018; Simpson, 2009). The concept of social location comes from the field of sociology and describes the groups that people belong to because of their place or position in society. An individual’s social location is defined by a combination of factors such as gender, race, social class, age, ability, religion, sexual orientation, and geographic location. This makes social location unique to each individual – no two individuals will have the exact same social location.

Social location is important because it strongly influences our identity, or our sense of self, and how we see the world. When it comes to the topic of sexual violence, we all have different experiences, values, beliefs, attitudes, strengths, and vulnerabilities. It can be helpful to try to understand your social location in order to be able to facilitate across all these differences. Here are some questions to help with that process:

To facilitate across difference means to be grounded in an awareness of your own social location. As a facilitator, you will want to recognize the diversity of social locations of your audience and to value the knowledge and experience learners bring with them. At a practical level, this understanding can help you raise issues related to sexual violence in a way that will create a safer space for all learners. An awareness of your own social location allows you to engage in conversations about how social location influences experiences of sexual violence and provides a foundation for unpacking assumptions, championing new ideas, and promoting values central to creating safer campuses.

Disclosing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Your sexual orientation and gender identity are important points of reflection as a facilitator. If you can and feel safe doing so, disclosing your sexual orientation and gender identity in a way that is thoughtful and respectful may help in creating a safe space for gender and sexual minorities by signalling that you are aware of your social location. Be precise in your language, for example:

“I am a straight, cisgender woman who is neurodivergent and I am aware that the privileges and disadvantages associated with sexual orientation and gender identity mean that I experience the world in a very different way than some of you might.” is preferable to “I’m a woman.”

For examples of precise language relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, please see Section 2: Gender & LGBTQ2SIA+ Inclusive Language.

Individuals with a background in anti-violence work, human service work (i.e., social work, child and youth care), health services (i.e., nursing), or those that have experience and knowledge in issues related to social justice, criminology, and mental health are well suited to facilitating training on sexual violence. If resources are available, you will ideally want to have facilitators from a range of social locations deliver training related to sexual violence prevention and response. Having facilitators of diverse backgrounds is important in creating safe, inclusive, and welcoming learning environments for diverse learners.

For example, when delivering to student groups, a peer-to-peer facilitation model can help to increase credibility of the training as well as have other benefits such as empowerment of facilitators (Hines & Palm Reed, 2015; McMahon et al., 2013; McMahon et al., 2014; Turner & Shepard, 1999). Transgender, non-binary, Two-Spirit and other queer people benefit from learning about sex and sexual violence from facilitators who share their personal lived experiences and have developed an analysis of the negative impacts of systemic queerphobia on LGBTQ2SIA+ people.

With mixed audiences, whenever possible, co-facilitation teams should include people of differing social locations and experiences. For example, a transgender or non-binary facilitator could be paired with a cisgender/heterosexual facilitator. This is beneficial for two reasons: transgender, queer, and non-binary audiences may connect more and feel safer with a facilitator of similar lived experience and the other facilitator can carry the burden of diffusing problematic situations that may arise from (sometimes well-intentioned) queerphobic comments. In short, a pairing of non-queer and queer facilitators may create safe spaces for queer learners and facilitators (Rensburg & Smith, 2020). In general, a diversity of facilitators demonstrates that sexual violence is an issue relevant to people of all genders and social locations (Moynihan et al., 2012; Roy et al., 2013).

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Accessibility, Inclusion, and Safety

Accessibility

Accessibility typically refers to all the ways in which the training environment, delivery and participation options, and materials are designed to allow for people from a variety of backgrounds, abilities, and learning preferences to participate fully. Your institution will likely have policies, resources and supports related to accessibility that you can build on as you prepare to deliver training on sexual violence. Below is a list of strategies you may want to consider in order to make your training more accessible and inclusive.

Environment

Delivery and participation options

Materials

Creative Approaches to Learning

Community-based and campus-based anti-violence programs and initiatives have a long history of developing innovative and creative approaches to support learners of all backgrounds. This resource provides suggestions on how to facilitate activities both in-person and online. It also includes suggestions of additional activities that help to explore and increase understanding of issues related to sexual violence such as power and privilege; the impact of colonialism on sexual violence; and ideas about gender roles and how they influence people’s experiences of dating and relationships. Depending on the learner(s), many of these topics can be abstract and difficult to engage with through discussion-based activities or in a single workshop. We encourage you to make connections, in-person or online, with anti-violence organizations or to consult anti-violence resources and toolkits to develop creative approaches to delivering this training. Below are a few suggestions of creative approaches to education on sexual violence prevention and response.

  1. Digital or Paper Collage. Use images from popular culture, including films, books, TV, and music to explore stereotypes. Ask questions such as: Who are consistently the main characters? Who are the “heroes”? Who has power or who’s life and decisions are considered “important” and “valuable”? Explore ideas about what is considered “normal” and acceptable in our society and how this affects our attitudes and beliefs about issues such as sexual violence and consent and our roles in supporting change.
  2. Group “Sculpture.” Use objects and movement to help learners visualize power dynamics in society. For example, you could ask several learners to use a water bottle and chair to create a group “sculpture” in which one of the objects is seen to be more powerful and then ask the audience to respond and share what they saw.
  3. Guided Imagery. Read a story about the day-to-day experiences of a member of your community and ask learners to visualize themselves as that person. E.g., you could ask a cisgender man to imagine taking the bus to class from the perspective of a cisgender woman.
  4. “I can help create a safer campus” Bingo. Create a bingo game that includes suggestions of actions that individuals can take to support safer campuses. E.g., “I can not laugh at sexist jokes,” “I can give active consent when I want to have sex,” “I can say something when I hear disrespectful language.”
  5. “Take home” Readings and Viewings. Some groups of learners may benefit from having shorter sessions spread out over a period of days or weeks. This can create opportunities for take-home activities such as reading a graphic novel or watching a documentary or analyzing a spoken word video with a reflection component.
  6. Interactive Theatre or Improv. Scenario-based activities are an effective approach to learning skills related to preventing and responding to sexual violence. Interactive theatre and improv approaches can build on discussion-based approaches to scenarios. They can help learners gain experience “rehearsing” real-life situations as well as explore short- and long-term consequences. Techniques such as “hot-seating” can be a way of exploring the motivations behind the actors’ actions and develop empathy and compassion.

Creating Space

For sexual violence training to be successful, learners need to feel comfortable, safe, and respected. As you prepare to facilitate, you will want to consider factors such as when and where to hold the training, key messages on promotional materials, the use of group guidelines, ensuring diverse representation, using icebreakers, whether activities require self-disclosure, and ways of working with co-facilitators or guests. In this section, we discuss several strategies for helping to create a positive learning space.

Opening with intention

Facilitators have an enormous role to play in setting the “tone” for a session. As people enter the space (online or in-person), you can welcome them and help them get oriented. You can let them know if you’ve started or whether you’re waiting for a few more people and share “housekeeping information” such as where the bathrooms are, where they can put their things, or how to use online interactive features. If the training will include interactive or discussion-based activities, you may want to consider using an icebreaker activity to help people get to know each other ahead of time. As you begin your session, you can use opening questions that help create inclusivity such as correct pronouns, check-in questions, or information about accessibility needs and requests.

Community or group guidelines

Community or group guidelines are an activity that brings groups together to decide how they will interact and support each other. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes to 30 minutes. If you are facilitating a short training (e.g., a one-hour lunch time session) or a training in which learners may not be interacting extensively with each other, creating community guidelines may not make sense. Instead, you might ask learners to agree to a list of guidelines or a code of conduct when they register or sign-up for the training. Or, you might share a list of guidelines at the beginning of the training and ask learners if they feel comfortable with them and/or if they have something they would like to add or change.

For longer sessions (e.g., a three-hour workshop) or for training that involves multiple sessions over a period of time, community guidelines can be an important tool for supporting safer discussion about difficult topics. You can remind learners of the guidelines if the discussion is getting difficult or at the beginning of each session. Important group agreements relate to listening to and showing respect for others (e.g., not talking when others are speaking, not making rude comments, or not talking on the phone), confidentiality, and participation.

Examples of Community or Group Guidelines

Community guidelines come in all shapes and sizes. Some groups have a few guidelines while others have many. Often, groups will change or add guidelines as needs and ways of working together evolve. Here are suggestions of possible guidelines.

  • Share the learning, not the names or the stories (confidentiality)
  • Participants have the right to “pass” on activities/questions that feel uncomfortable
  • It is all right to feel uncomfortable or not to know answers to everything
  • Treat others with respect
  • Be mindful of your language; respect everyone’s names and pronouns
  • Remember that survivors of sexual violence may be present
  • Speak for yourself. Use “I statements” to state opinions or feelings
  • Seek to replace judgment with curiosity
  • Take care of yourself
  • Take space, make space (allow everyone a chance to participate)

Content warnings

Content warnings (also called trigger warnings) are a statement made prior to sharing potentially difficult or challenging material. The intent of content warnings is to provide learners with the opportunity to prepare themselves emotionally for engaging with the topic or to make a choice to not participate.

Different departments and institutions will have different approaches to content warnings and this may guide your decision about including content warnings on registration or sign-up forms, in learning materials, and in the learning environment. Below is an example of a content warning:

“We will be discussing topics related to sexual violence in this training. During the training, you can choose not to participate in certain activities or discussion and can leave the room at any time. If you feel upset or overwhelmed, please know that there are resources to support you.”

There are a number of other facilitation strategies you may want to consider in addition to or instead of a content warning:

Gender & LGBTQ2SIA+ Inclusive Language

Inclusive language is important and helps avoid making assumptions about others. As a facilitator, you will want to use language that is inclusive of all people regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, sex assigned at birth, and marital or romantic status.

Because your audience is likely to be diverse, it’s important to be respectful of the many ways they experience gender, attraction, and relationships. Choose examples, scenarios, statistics, and images that are non-gendered or inclusive of LGBTQ2SIA+ people and relationships. Sexual violence is not exclusive; it can happen to and be perpetuated by people of diverse genders, sexes, and attractions.

If you are speaking in general terms, take care to choose terms like “intimate partner or partners” instead of “husband,” “wife,” “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” If you are referring to a specific person’s intimate partner, use the same language they use. If a person refers to their intimate partner as their “spouse” or “wife,” you should use the word they do instead of referring to their “partner.”

Likewise, addressing learners using inclusive language will ensure a sense of safety for learners. For example, “Good afternoon, everyone,” “Hello, folks,” and “Have a good break, human beings” are inclusive of transgender, non-binary, Two Spirit, and gender diverse people while “Welcome, ladies and gentlemen” is exclusive.  Similarly, avoid everyday gendered language (e.g. man hours, spokesman, and waitress should be replaced with work hours, spokesperson/speaker, and server) or historically oppressive turns of phrases such as “rule of thumb.” Try using language such as “someone of another gender” and “people of all genders” rather than “the opposite sex” or “both genders.”

Be careful to address or refer to people with similar titles in similar ways, regardless of their gender identity. If you refer to a cisgender male professor as “Dr. Last Name,” as a default, refer to all professors as “Dr. Last Name.”

Don’t assume pronouns, sexual orientation (attraction) or gender identity based on someone’s name or appearance. Invite all learners, guests, and co-facilitators to indicate their pronouns and their preferred name on their nametag or in their online display names, if they feel safe doing so. Explain that sharing our pronouns is a way to act in solidarity with some people who are gender diverse, transgender, non-binary, and Two Spirit people, but that, ultimately, it is a way to be inclusive of all people.

Examples of gender inclusive language:

Speech bubbles with different greetings: People of all genders experience; hello folks; every group will need to have a spokesperson; good morning everyone.

Trauma Awareness

Experiences of trauma and violence are common in our society. Many people participating in sexual violence training will have experiences of past or current trauma and many facilitators will have experiences of trauma themselves. There are a number of strategies you can use to help create a “trauma aware” learning space.

A note on language

People who have experienced trauma may describe themselves as a “victim” or “survivor” or “victim/survivor” of trauma. These words have their own history and meanings. Language is imperfect and constantly evolving and there is no one best or “correct” word. Do your best to use the term that people prefer whether that be “victim” or “survivor” or something else entirely and don’t be afraid to respectfully ask if you are unsure.

Possible Signs of a Trauma Response

The following list may help you in recognizing and responding to ‘in-the-moment’ trauma responses.

  • Sweating
  • Change in breathing (breathing quickly or holding breath)
  • Muscle stiffness, difficulty relaxing
  • Flood of strong emotions (e.g., anger, sadness, etc.)
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Startle response, flinching
  • Shaking
  • Staring into the distance
  • Becoming disconnected from present conversation, losing focus
  • Inability to concentrate or respond to instructions
  • Inability to speak

(BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 2013)

International Students

As a facilitator, you will want to ensure that you are knowledgeable and prepared to address the distinct and specific needs of multicultural and diverse communities. International students are one group that you may want to consider. They may be at significant increased risk of being targeted for sexual violence, due to multiple barriers they face including lower levels of English language fluency, a lack of understanding of criminal law in Canada, cultural views of sexual violence, discrimination, racism, a need to adjust to local culture and limited local support systems (Forbes-Mewett and McCulloch, 2016). Furthermore, they may not understand the legal definitions of sexual violence and what consent means, and where to find help.

An infographic describing challenges faced by international students. Image description linked in the caption.
“Challenges Faced by International Students” [PDF] © The Law Foundation of British Columbia and MOSAIC. (2020). Used with permission. [Image description]

It is important to highlight that international students are not weak or vulnerable; rather they are quite resilient and determined to thrive and make Canada their home. It takes positive determination to leave the safety of family, financial stability and social network. However, once here, they may face the additional challenges from within their own ethno-specific community while also experiencing homesickness, loneliness and helplessness as part of their acculturation into Canadian society.

As a facilitator, there are a number of strategies you can take to ensure the inclusion and participation of international students:

Image descriptions

“Challenges Faced by International Students” image description

An infographic with the following text:

International students have to navigate a new country on their own and face unique barriers and complexities compared to domestic students, especially when it comes to sexual violence.

End of image description. [Return to place in text]

6

Sexual Violence: Key Concepts and Facilitation Strategies

Intersectionality

Intersectionality is a concept that promotes an understanding of people as shaped by the interactions of different social locations or categories ― for example, race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, gender, class, sexuality, geography, age, ability, migration status, and religion.

In the context of sexual violence, intersectionality can help increase understanding of how certain populations face increased risks of perpetrating sexual violence and others face increased risks of being targeted by sexual violence. It also highlights how different groups of people experience systemic barriers to disclosing and accessing support services. It can also help ensure that responses to sexual violence are attentive to and reflective of the diversity of campus communities.

Examples of facilitation strategies related to the concept of intersectionality

  1. As you facilitate discussion, you can highlight key ideas related to sexual violence and intersectionality. For example, you could say:
    • “Violence does not happen in a vacuum and it isn’t merely a result of individual circumstances or bad luck.”
    • “People’s circumstances, such as their income, housing situation, and access to health care, can affect their ability to access resources to heal from their experiences.”
    • “When we take a look at ‘big picture’ issues like discrimination, economic conditions, and social policies, we can better understand why certain individuals might be reluctant to report that they have been assaulted.”
    • “Even though LGBTQ2SIA+ people experience high rates of violence, when compared to the general population, they are often fearful of accessing the justice system due to a history of negative interactions with police and daily experiences of discrimination and harassment.”
    • “Many international students are resilient and determined to thrive and make Canada their home. However, they might face unique barriers when it comes to sexual violence such as language barriers, lack of knowledge about services and supports, or work exploitation.”
  2. In your training, include statistics, images, and other resources that reflect the perspectives, needs, experiences, and interests of diverse groups. For example, images of a mixed race queer couple with a visible disability gives recognition that race, sexual orientation, and ability can be places of diversity within one relationship. Or, include statistics on sexual violence and resilience within queer and polyamorous couples as well as straight, monogamous couples.
  3. If you are using statistics about a particular group of people, use precise language to avoid confusion. For example, “Men are likely to be the perpetrators of sexual violence against women” is less accurate than “Cisgender men are likely to be the perpetrators of sexual violence against all other genders, especially against cisgender women.” Your use of precise language will vary based on the information you will be sharing,
  4. Depending on your audience, you can include a resource or section about intersectionality in your training. This could be a more academic resource such as an interview with legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw (while many people have used intersectional perspectives in their work, her use of the term in 1989 has greatly influenced current understandings) or an experiential resource such as an interview or spoken word video by a survivor of sexual violence that highlights multiple social locations.
  5. If you have more time, you can include a reflective activity such as the Power Flower (below).

Activity: Power Flower

A flower template with a place for your name in the centre and different identities and social positions on each of the petals.

The Power Flower is a visual tool that we can use to explore how our multiple identities combine to create the person we are.

Instructions:

  1. Each person fills out their own power flower, identifying different aspects of their own identities in a number of categories. (Colourful markers or paper are always a bonus!). As we all have many identities, you may want to start with:
    • Ethnicity
    • Sex
    • Gender identity
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Class
    • Language
    • Ability
    • Family
    • Education

    Feel free to customize this list to your audience and the focus of your training.

  2. As a group, reflect on the implications of being able to choose certain aspects of your identity and not others and explore why you might think about certain aspects of your identity more than others. How does thinking through these different categories affect your perspective of yourself?
  3. What kind of power do you have? In your own life? As a student, staff or faculty member?
  4. What are your strengths? What are your skills? What kind of knowledge do you hold? What resources and supports are available to you?
  5. How might your power flower shape your experiences, knowledge, beliefs, and values about sexual violence?

A blank flower tempalte.

This Power Flower activity is adapted from: Arnold, R., Burke, B., James, C., Martin, D., and Thomas, B. (1991). Educating for Change [PDF]. Toronto: Between the Lines.

Download the Power Flower Activity here: Handout Power Flower Activity [Word file].

Sex, Gender, and Gender Identity

Because of the power inherent in sex and gender dynamics and the role they play in our lives, addressing sex, gender, and gender identity in discussions about sexual violence is essential. Gender can be a complex topic to discuss as there are many elements to consider such as identity, expression, orientation, and sex. Western understandings of sex, gender and gender identity have evolved from a binary view (two options: male and female) to a spectrum which suggests there are multiple sexes (male, female, intersex), many gender identities, and a wide range of gender expressions that may or may not conform to societal expectations. Many cultures have respect and recognition for more than two sexes, genders or gender identities. This is true not only abroad, but among many nations Indigenous to Turtle Island (North America).

Sex: Biological factors used to describe physiological differences such as gene expression, chromosomes, genitals, and hormones.

Gender: The social roles, expectations, and behaviours that are prescribed to us based on our sex assigned at birth. This can be different between cultures and time.

Gender Identity: Our internal understanding of our own gender. It may or may not match what is outwardly apparent to others or what is expected of us by society.

As a facilitator, you will want to be familiar with key terms used to discuss gender. These terms are continuing to evolve and it is important to refer to people using their own terms.

Some examples of language related to gender
Cisgender Refers to someone who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth. Cis is a Latin prefix which means aligned with.
Transgender Refers to someone whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth. Trans is a Latin prefix which means across, beyond or through. (Note: use transgender and not transgendered as the term transgendered is outdated and seen as derogatory).
Non-binary Refers to someone who identifies as having a gender outside of the male/female binary.
Two-Spirit Refers to a specific identity held by some people Indigenous to Turtle Island (North America). Two-Spirit people may embody diverse sexualities, genders, gender expressions, and gender roles than those prescribed by colonial understandings of sex and gender. They often hold special cultural, spiritual, or ceremonial roles among their people.
Sex assigned at birth Refers to the sex that an infant is assigned when they are born. It is based on the combination of hormones, chromosomes, and internal and external genitalia. The three most common options are female, male, and intersex.
Gender Identity Refers to someone’s personal understanding of their gender. It may or may not align with their body and gender expression.

Regularly Updated Language Resource

Inclusive language is continuing to evolve. Qmunity, BC’s Queer, Trans, and Two-Spirit Resource Centre has a resource called Queer Terminology from A to Q  that is regularly updated.

Examples of facilitation strategies related to the concepts of sex, gender, and gender identity

  1. When talking about diverse experiences of sexual violence, take care to be both inclusive of LGBTQ2SIA+ people while being precise when talking specifically about sexual violence committed by cisgender men against cisgender women.
    Key discussion points can include:
    • The overwhelming majority of acts of sexual violence are committed by cisgender men against cisgender women and girls and people of other genders. Transgender, Two-Spirit, and non-binary people as well as lesbian, gay, and other queer people are disproportionately targeted by perpetrators of sexual violence.
    • It’s important to remember that straight, cisgender men and boys can also be targeted and that people of all genders and sexual orientations may be perpetrators of sexual violence.
    • We need to be mindful of the experiences of all victims of sexual violence while not minimizing the deep-rooted experiences of violence that cisgender women, girls, and gender diverse people are subjected to by cisgender men.
    • Gendered sexual violence exists and thrives in the context of colonialism which privileges straight, white, able-bodied men while unjustly mistreating LGBTQ2SIA+, BIPOC, and disabled people. Because of these intersecting oppressions, people of colour, women, children, and queer people are especially at risk of being targeted by sexual violence.
  2. Help people learn more about gender by including an activity in your training that explores concepts such as gender identity, attraction (sexual orientation), and gender expression (presentation).

    Activity: Gender Unicorn

    The Gender Unicorn is a visual activity by Trans Student Educational Resources that allows learners to map out of their own experiences of sex and gender. It is available in an interactive form, as a colouring book, and in different languages. (It uses a Creative Commons license and can be shared as long as credit is given.)

    The Gender Unicorn activity. Image description linked to in caption.
    The Gender Unicorn” © Trans Student Educational Resources (2015). [Image description]
  3. When facilitating, pay attention to the pronouns that you use as they are an important part of language related to gender. In addition to the binary English terms “she/her/her” and “he/his/him,” some people use gender-neutral pronouns such as “they/them” (in singular form). Use the pronouns that correspond to a person’s gender identity. As it is not possible to assume pronouns based on appearances, it is a good practice to ask for a person’s pronouns. For some people, being referred to intentionally and repeatedly with inappropriate or incorrect pronouns (or being “misgendered”) can be hurtful, offensive, and violent.

Roots of Violence

There are many different theories and perspectives about what the causes of sexual violence in our society are. Discussions about ideas such as social constructions of gender roles, colonialism, enslavement, and patriarchy can help us to explore and understand the root causes of sexual violence and to collectively find answers and solutions.

Linking Sexual Violence and Gender Equity

Sexual violence is linked to gender inequities in society. The lives, bodies, agency, and work of women, girls, transgender people, and other gender diverse people are devalued while those of men are overvalued. Devaluing leads to dehumanizing and objectifying; overvaluing leads to entitlement and the misuse of power. Together this forms an environment where sexual violence perpetrated by men against women and people of diverse genders is normalized. One way to combat the pervasiveness of sexual violence is to ensure the norms, systems, and institutions in our society are equitable for people of all genders.

The term “rape culture” was first coined in the 1970s in the United States by second-wave feminists and the concept is often used in sexual violence prevention training in post-secondary institutions. Rape culture describes how sexual violence is common in our society and how it is normalized, condoned, excused, or encouraged. Examples of rape culture include the public tolerance of sexual harassment, the prevalence of sexual violence in media, the socialization of boys that promotes masculine identities based on notions of power and control, persistent discrimination against women and other equity-seeking communities, and the scrutiny given to the sexual histories of victims of sexual violence (Baker, 2014; EVA-BC, 2016).

Many aspects of rape culture are often conceptualized as a continuum or pyramid or can be connected to other forms of violence in society.

An anti-violence continuum/pyramid. Image description linked in image caption.
Image adapted from Simon Fraser University Sexual Violence Support and Prevention Office (SFU SVSPO, 2020). [Image description]

Examples of facilitation strategies related to the concept of roots of violence

  1. Ask learners about their perceptions of campus safety: Do they feel safe all the time? Some of the time? What affects their sense of safety? What kind of role do we as campus community members have in preventing sexual violence and/or helping to promote norms of respect, safety, equity, and helping others? (As safety can be a deeply personal subject, you may want to facilitate this discussion in a structured way such as using specific examples or asking questions that require limited self-disclosure).
  2. You can connect your training to current events and media coverage, e.g., a news story about a high-profile sexual assault case that is in court, the latest opinions about the activities of a famous or infamous celebrity. To what extent are individuals held responsible for their actions and to what extent is society?
  3. You can include a section in your training on critical media analysis, e.g., reviewing advertisements and exploring what messages they communicate about dating, relationships, and sex. Do these advertisements reflect or challenge current attitudes and stereotypes about sexual violence?

Colonial Violence

Colonialism occurs when a group of people take control of other lands, regions, or territories outside of their own by turning those other lands, regions, or territories into a colony.

Colonialism remains embedded in the legal, political and economic context of Canada today.

Sexual violence and colonialism are interconnected through concepts such as self-determination, autonomy and consent. As well, many social norms in Canada are founded on colonial beliefs which are rooted in white patriarchal supremacy and which have created systems that support individuals, predominantly white men, to positions of power. These norms provide an illusion that people are entitled to what others have, including lands, cultures, and people’s bodies and that force is an acceptable way to claim these things, regardless of the harm to others (National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, 2019; Turpel-Lafond, 2020; Women’s Earth Alliance and Native Youth Sexual Health Network, 2016). An understanding of past and ongoing colonial violence can help provide context to issues such as why many Indigenous people and communities experience high rates of sexual violence today and the potential systemic or historical barriers to Indigenous People reporting sexual violence when it occurs.

Examples of facilitation strategies related to the concept of colonial violence

  1. During your training, you can discuss how your institution and/or campus unit/department is demonstrating accountability to Indigenous communities and peoples whose land you are on. It is especially important to highlight that reconciliation is a journey and not a destination. This helps to be able to speak frankly about the limitations or meaningfulness of specific initiatives and policies at your institution and to respectfully acknowledge the difficulty in repairing hundreds of years of harm.
  2. During discussions, you can make connections between colonization (non-consensual theft of land and violence/devaluing of Indigenous People, women, Two-Spirited people and members of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community) and sexual violence (non-consensual sexual touch and/or behavior, devaluing of people’s autonomy). In particular, you can make a connection between land and consent – Canada as a nation is built upon a fundamental lack of consent of Indigenous peoples
  3. Many people from diverse parts of the world have their own experiences of colonial violence and oppression. It can be helpful to acknowledge this as it helps people to build connections between their own experiences and those of Indigenous People. You will also want to keep in mind that individuals from these groups may be reminded of their own experiences when hearing about the injustices faced by Indigenous People and may benefit from learning about additional resources and supports.
  4. When discussing the impact of sexual violence as a tool of colonization and genocide against Indigenous communities, you can also highlight the resiliency and capacity of Indigenous peoples and communities to resist and overcome violence.

Activity: Colonial Violence Wheel

This Colonial Violence Wheel is a visual tool that can be used to help further discussion on the connections between colonial violence and sexual violence. Each section of the wheel provides examples of strategies, policies, and laws that have been enacted by the Canadian government to colonize and assimilate Indigenous people. Discussion questions can include:

  1. What do you already know about colonialism in Canada? What aspects of these strategies, policies and laws do you see in your life?
  2. How do the strategies, policies, and laws described in the Wheel connect to sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination?
  3. How does colonial violence connect to sexual violence? For example, what is the connection between self-determination at an individual level (control of one’s own body) and at a community level (First Nations self-governance)?
The colonial violence wheel. Image description linked to in caption.
“Colonial Violence Wheel” © Jewell Gillies (2021), Musgamgw Dzawada’enux. Used with permission under CC BY 4.0 License. [Image description]

Download the Colonial Violence Wheel Activity here: Handout Colonial Violence Wheel Activity [Word file].

Healthy and Toxic Masculinity

“Healthy masculinity” and “toxic masculinity” are popular terms often used to explore beliefs, values, and stereotypes related to male identity and masculine norms in society. Masculine identity and norms are strongly linked with violence, with men and boys disproportionately likely both to perpetrate violent crimes and to die by homicide and suicide (Heilman and Barker, 2018).

Training on sexual violence on campuses will often explore ideas related to masculinity as a way of helping to shifting societal ideas about masculinity and to centre new values related to inclusivity and diversity. These conversations can help highlight how sexual violence harms people of all genders, including boys, men, and masculine people. It also can be an entry point for cisgender men to take a role in addressing sexual violence in their community.

Examples of facilitation strategies related to healthy and toxic masculinity

  1. When discussing toxic masculinity is important to be clear that this term does not mean that men are bad or evil. It does not mean that men are naturally violent or that only men are violent.
  2. The topic of healthy and toxic masculinity can often fit well in discussions of why sexual violence happens in society. Questions to explore can include:
    1. What ideas do we as a society have about what it means to “be a man”?
    2. Who or what defines masculinity in our society?
    3. How does this affect boys, men, and masculine people?
    4. How might these ideas be related to sexual violence against all genders in our society?
    5. Can you be masculine without being aggressive or violent?
    6. How might the experience of masculinity differ for a non-binary person, a trans-masculine person or a masculine woman versus a man who was assigned male at birth?
  3. Support boys, men, and masculine people in re-defining what healthy masculinity looks like for them. Suggest that there is more than one way to be a man (or any other gender identity). Connect healthy masculinity to topics such as asking consent, respecting boundaries, and being accountable.

Image descriptions

Gender Unicorn image description.

A purple cartoon unicorn stands beside different ways to describe gender, sex, and attraction. They are as follows:

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Anti-Violence Continuum/Pyramid image description.

A pyramid representing different aspects of rape culture. As you go to higher levels of the pyramid, the degree of discrimination increases. These are the levels of the pyramid from low to high:

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Colonial Violence Wheel image description.

A wheel with the words “colonial violence” in the centre. Within each spoke of the wheel are examples of colonial violence. Surrounding the outer edge of the wheel are the words, “resilience,” “resistance,” and “self-determination.” Here are the examples of colonial violence:

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7

Facilitating Discussion

Asking Questions to Promote Critical Thinking

Using questions is a simple way to deepen discussion and to promote critical thinking. We all make assumptions in order to arrive at opinions of how things are, what is important, and how things “should be.” Drawing out learner’s thoughts through the use of critical questions can help you to understand how to connect key concepts to learners’ personal experiences.

Key questions to encourage critical thinking could include:

You also can ask questions to help reframe an issue. For example:

Responding to Common Myths about Sexual Violence

There are many stereotypes, myths, and beliefs about sexual violence that do not reflect what research evidence tells us about sexual violence. There are many different approaches to responding to common myths during a discussion, including sharing statistics or research, asking a reflective question, clarifying definitions and concepts, or sharing an anecdote or experiential perspective. Below are some suggestions on how to respond to common myths about sexual violence (Sexual Violence and Prevention Response Office, 2020).

Common Myths Possible Responses
False reports

“People are lying or exaggerating when they talk about experiencing sexual violence.”

“What are some reasons why people wouldn’t disclose? How are people usually treated when they say something? Do we really think people would lie knowing these barriers and potential responses?”

“The number of false reports for sexual assault is very low, consistent with the number of false reports for other crimes in Canada.”

Clothing what a victim was wearing or doing

“If they’re dressing “that” way then they’re kind of asking for it.”

“Why did she go there [party, hotel, nightclub]?

“Nobody asks to be assaulted.”

“Research has shown that outfits aren’t associated with assaults – there’s no kind of outfit that makes violence less likely.”

“Consider if this response was applied to other crimes. For example, if your car was broken into and the police officers began questioning you about why you chose to park in a “bad” part of town. Does this sound fair?”

Ulterior motives

“Survivors are only looking for attention/status/money, or are acting out of regret.”

“What kind of attention do survivors who come forward (especially publicly) typically get? Are they famous now?”

“Do we really think people would rather face negative social responses than manage their own regret if that’s what happened?”

“How might people’s desire to see the world as a good/safe place influence whether they believe survivors?”

Caution has gone too far

“People nowadays are too sensitive/overly politically correct/ anything can be construed as sexual violence.”

“Who tends to be the person who is behaving ‘overly sensitive’? Who tends to be the other party?”

“If you knew that something deeply hurt someone, why would you choose to continue anyways? What do you lose by ‘not doing the thing that causes harm’?”

Drinking alcohol or using other substances

“So, basically, you’re saying anyone who’s had sex while they were drunk has actually raped someone.”

“The law says that in some situations a person may be affected by alcohol or drugs so much that they can’t give legal consent. When a person can’t give legal consent, any sexual activity with them is sexual assault. If you want to do something sexual with someone who’s been drinking alcohol or using drugs, you must be very careful that their thinking is clear. They must be able to decide freely if they want to be sexual with you and be able to communicate their consent clearly.”

“If a person is unconscious or incapable of consenting due to the use of alcohol or drugs, he/she/they cannot legally give consent. Without consent, it is sexual assault.”

“Alcohol is the number one drug used in drug-facilitated sexual assault.”

“Some people who have been sexually assaulted blame themselves because they were drinking and might not describe what happened to them as sexual assault. If they didn’t consent, it is considered sexual assault.”

Assumptions about perpetrators

“But they’re such a nice person! I’ve never been uncomfortable around them.”

“Different countries have different understanding so they just do it more.”

“Most sexual assault is committed by strangers….usually outside in dark, dangerous places.”

“About 80% of the time, the survivor knows the perpetrator. They can include dating partners, acquaintances, and common-law or married partners.”

“Just because you have never experienced something with a person doesn’t mean others haven’t.”

“We need to be careful with really broad generalizations about specific cultures. Perpetrators come from many different cultures and backgrounds. People from the same culture may hold very different values.”

“The majority of sexual assaults happen in private spaces like a residence or private home.”

Adapted from: Sexual Violence and Prevention Response Office. (2020). Bystander Intervention (Facilitation notes). Thompson River University. Used with permission.

Transitions and Difficult Conversations

While facilitating, you are likely to encounter challenging moments when you might not be sure how to respond, when you strongly disagree with the perspective of the learner, or when the conversation has shifted in a direction that makes you concerned for the comfort and safety of other learners.

Below are some potential responses for handling difficult moments (Sexual Violence and Prevention Response Office, 2020):

 

8

Self-Care and Community Care

Self-care and community care are about looking after yourself and those around you. Facilitating learning about sexual violence can range from satisfying and rewarding to challenging and overwhelming. It is important to make sure that you are able to take the time to take care of yourself and that you are willing to reach out to co-workers, friends and family, or professional supports, if needed.

Ideally, you will be in a situation where you are delivering training with a co-facilitator. Not only is this helpful if a learner needs support during a session, it also helps to have someone with whom to share the joys and challenges of facilitation. After a session, plan for time afterwards to check in with each other about your experiences and any successes or challenges in facilitating. This allows for time to reflect on issues related to participation, inclusion, and safety; to consider any feedback that you received from learners; and, to discuss any facilitation successes and challenges. If you are facilitating alone, you might use the time after a session to reflect or use a journal to make notes as a way of processing the experience.

Check-in/Reflection Questions

Taking time after a session to “debrief” can be a helpful way to care for yourself. Here are some sample debriefing questions.

  • What was a positive moment or success in this session?
  • How did the learners engage with the different activities? Is there something I want to facilitate or do differently next time?
  • Did I or a learner seem to have a response to the material, a shared story or another learner that was challenging? If so, how was it responded to or resolved?
  • Is there something I want to do differently next time? Is there something that would be helpful for me to learn about or check with a co-worker about?

III

Section 3: Consent & Sexual Violence Training Guide

9

Background

This training aims to teach learners both personal and social dimensions of sexual violence and consent. The delivery of this training should emphasize experiential learning as much as possible so that learners walk away with practical skills for building communities of consent. In order to address the issue of sexual violence on college campuses, holistic frameworks are important in order to promote collaborative and transformative learning (Khan, Rowe & Bidgood, 2019). Therefore, this training centres analysis of both the interpersonal and community factors that underpin survivor’s experiences of violence. Consent education that links individual experiences of violence to the forms of oppression that uphold sexual violence is critical in order to promote social change on post-secondary campuses (ACHA, 2015).

Facilitators are encouraged to adapt and connect this training to their specific campus contexts and explore how to offer this training in conjunction with other sexual violence supports on campus (Casey & Lindhorst, 2009). This training builds upon best practices for consent education on post-secondary campuses, including the use of statistics, break-away group discussions as well as the use of scenarios and “myth-busting” to engage learners. It is recommended that this training be strongly encouraged for all students and that it is offered in conjunction with trainings on bystander intervention, supporting survivors, and accountability & repairing relationships in order to equip learners with a comprehensive understanding of what is needed to address sexual violence (Gender & Policy Insights, 2018).

At the end of this workshop, learners should come away with an understanding of the role of colonialism in contributing to social norms that perpetuate sexual violence. This will include acknowledging the impacts of colonization on Indigenous peoples in Canada and exploring multiple dimensions of sexual violence and consent. Facilitators and learners will engage with how history, social forces and the law shape our experiences of sexual violence and our understandings of consent. Learners will have opportunities to reflect on consent within the communities they belong to and practice strategies for every day consent.

 

10

Training Overview

Learning Outcomes At the end of this workshop, learners will be able to:
  • Define sexual violence
  • Describe the historical and social context of sexual violence in Canada
  • Define consent, including the legal definition
  • Use strategies to ask for and give consent in different types of relationships
Audience This training is suitable and recommended for all members of the campus community: students, faculty, administrators and staff. The suggested minimum number of learners is 6 and the suggested maximum is 40.
Duration Approximately 90 minutes.
Knowledge and Skills This workshop is intended to provide learners with the knowledge and practical skills for building communities of consent. Learners will have the opportunity to learn about the impacts of colonial violence on Indigenous peoples in Canada, understand the various types of sexual violence, and review definitions of consent in Canadian law while engaging in activities that will give them an opportunity to reflect and apply new learning.

 

11

Delivery

This training can be delivered both in-person and remote (online) formats. Details on how to adapt the training for different formats can be found in the facilitator notes in the slide deck and in the activity descriptions in this guide. In most instances, delivering this training in person is preferable. In-person delivery usually provides a greater opportunity for connection and relationship building between facilitator and learners, greater engagement between all learners, more opportunities for facilitators to check for knowledge building, and, most importantly, to ensure safety. Advantages for remote delivery include convenience, ability to reach students off-campus or prior to arriving on campus and the ability to record trainings. While this training is designed to be delivered synchronously, it can be adapted by individual institutions to be asynchronous.

Throughout the training, there are opportunities to adapt the training for different audiences by using different examples and scenarios. Modifications to the training material are recommended in order to tailor the content to the needs and context of the training. For instance, a training for faculty and administrators will need to consider situational power and their roles and responsibilities in building consent culture in workplaces and classrooms.

It is suggested that the training be between 90 – 120 minutes, with 120 minutes being an ideal time frame to allow for both content delivery and experiential learning. There are also brief activity slides throughout the presentation to assess learners’ knowledge and comfort level with the materials. This can help you decide which activities to spend more time on and when there might be opportunities to deepen the discussion and practice more advanced skills.

There are multiple opportunities to connect content found in this workshop to other training on sexual violence. For example, conversations about rape culture and myths about sexual violence in training on consent can be linked to bystander intervention skills or responding to disclosures. This training can also be included as part of the curriculum for various programs, a professional development opportunity for faculty and staff, or an extra-curricular credit offering.

12

Facilitation Considerations

It is recommended that the facilitators for this training be experienced with trauma-informed approaches to sexual violence and connect this knowledge to specific facilitation skills to enhance the safety and learning of the audience. Facilitators should also be familiar with decolonizing, intersectional, and inclusive approaches to sexual violence and consent. If these are areas where facilitators need more knowledge, they should spend roughly 2-3 hours going through the recommended resources below. Regardless of audience, it is crucial that facilitators acquaint themselves with these bodies of knowledge in order to hold a relatively safe space for adult learner engagement on the topic of sexual violence.

It is also recommended that facilitators allocate at least 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the training delivery for preparation and to be explicitly available to answer individual questions or inquiries from learners after the training delivery. After the training, facilitators are encouraged and, if needed, to debrief the positive takeaways and areas of growth (if any) from the experience with a peer or supportive person (see examples of debriefing questions in Section 2: Self-Care and Community Care).

General Principles of Trauma-informed Facilitation

  1. Emotional safety of learners
  2. Cultural humility
  3. Awareness of power dynamics in the room

In addition to sections 1 and 2 of this guide that refer to best practices in trauma- informed facilitation, we would like to offer the three principles mentioned above to guide the essence of this workshop’s facilitation. We recommend that you consider each of these principles as you prepare to create a safe environment for all learners.

If possible, we encourage you to inquire about learners’ backgrounds before the training (e.g., demographics, area of study, roles/relationships in the group). This information will provide you with the opportunity to prepare and adjust the content, materials and resources to be shared with learners. This will also give you the opportunity to examine your role in relationship to the learners.

As a facilitator, it is imperative to model honesty, openness/lack of judgement and humility when delivering a trauma-informed training that will examine personal and societal values. We encourage you to see this as an opportunity to facilitate a space that welcomes vulnerability and supports diverse experiences. During the training, we encourage you to name the challenges present in some discussions or information and to celebrate this as a learning opportunity and make yourself available for direct check-ins with learners.

Resources for facilitators to learn about trauma-informed facilitation:

Facilitating Discussion about Consent

As a facilitator, you will want to consider how to tailor the topic of consent and sexual violence to different audiences and contexts. In addition to helping learners understand the legal definition of consent, you will want to highlight how consent is an ongoing process (not a one-time event) of discussing boundaries and what people are comfortable with. Placing consent into a larger context will require you to address issues such as power dynamics, relationships of all kinds, and myths about sexual violence. As well, you will want to help learners develop the skills they need to navigate issues and challenges that arise in their everyday lives. Below are some suggestions on how to increase awareness and “deepen” conversations about consent.

Help learners to understand that consent relates to more than sex

While this training focuses on the prevention of sexual violence, it is helpful to connect the topic of consent and sexual violence to consent in our everyday lives. You will want to highlight how we already ask and give consent to many activities in our everyday lives and how the more we practice consent outside of sexual situations, the easier it is to practice consent in relation to sex.

As you facilitate discussion you can highlight ideas such as:

Help learners to challenge social expectations and gender stereotypes

The topic of consent generally requires discussions about how we are expected to act in various social situations and what kind of changes we need to make so we can all contribute to creating “communities of consent.” In order to do this, learners will often need to reflect on their own beliefs and values about consent, consider the new information that you share with them (e.g., the legal definition of consent or your institution’s sexual violence and misconduct policy), and then apply this to their own lives. You may encounter confusion, resistance, self-blame, anger and frustration as people reflect on their own experiences and learn to think about consent in new ways.

Some of the common responses that you might hear include:

You may want to review Section 2: Responding to Common Myths about Sexual Violence.

As well, while ideas about consent, dating, and relationships are continuing to change, most people face pressures and challenges on how to think, behave, and act in these situations. One way of initiating conversations about these types of expectations and pressures is to make connections to popular culture (e.g., movies, TV shows, advertisements, song lyrics, and music videos) and explore the way people of all genders are portrayed. You could ask: “How are we expected to act, speak, dress, and conduct ourselves based on our assigned sex at birth?” or “Does it seem like it’s always the “guy” who has to ask for consent and the “girl” who has to give it?” During the discussion, you can say something like: “Stereotypes and expectations around who takes charge or who can show emotion can limit our confidence in speaking openly about what we need in a relationship or during sex.”

Help learners to develop communications skills that make sense for their relationships and context

In general, learners will benefit from opportunities to discuss and practice strategies for asking and giving consent in different types of relationships. You may want to discuss topics such as verbal vs. non-verbal communication, power dynamics (“What might you say/do if the person asking was your classmate? What might you say/do if the person asking was your boss?”), and different types of relationships (e.g., relationships between friends or family members, relationships between adults and children, sexual or romantic relationships).

As you facilitate discussion, you can highlight ideas such as:

Examples of verbal and non-verbal ways of communicating consent
Verbal (using words) Non-verbal (using body language)
  • I’m sure
  • Don’t stop
  • More!
  • I want to…
  • I still want to…
  • That feels good
  • Yes
  • I want to do this right now
  • Direct eye contact
  • Pulling someone closer
  • Nodding yes
  • Comfortable being naked
  • Relaxed facial expressions
  • Turning towards someone
  • A satisfied hum or enthusiastic moan
Examples of verbal and non-verbal ways of not communicating consent
Verbal (using words) Non-verbal (using body language)
  • No
  • I’m not sure
  • Stop
  • I want to, but…
  • That hurts
  • Maybe
  • I love you, but…
  • I don’t know how I feel about this
  • I don’t want to do this anymore
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Pushing someone away
  • Avoiding touch
  • Shaking head no
  • Uncomfortable being naked
  • Crying, looking sad or fearful
  • Turning away from someone
  • Silence
  • Changing the topic

Below are some considerations for specific groups of learners.

LGBTQ2SIA+ Learners

Some research has shown that transgender and non-binary youth identify consent and communication as an important, though often absent, part of sexual health education (Haley et al., 2019). The same is true for many people who are queer or are involved in queer sexual or romantic relationships. Because sexual health education often omits deep exploration of gender identity and queer sexual attraction, practices, and relationships, even when consent education is included in sexual health education teaching, LGBTQ2SIA+ young people may not have consistent or firm foundations in asking for or offering consent (Segalov, 2018). On the flip side, this does mean that LGBTQ2SIA+ people can develop their own rules and practices around consent without the constraints of conforming to mainstream societal gender and sexual expectations (Edenfield, 2019). Still, intersecting oppressions and identities mean that queer relationships are not immune from unbalanced power dynamics (Kahn, 2015). For example, a relationship between a transgender person and cisgender person or a non-monogamous relationship between people of different races and abilities may still involve reckoning with imbalances in privilege.

Especially for transgender, non-binary, Two-Spirit and other gender diverse people, consent, and communication around healthy boundaries might involve talking to potential sexual and romantic partners about what words to use when referring to their body parts or which terms to use when referring to their relationship (e.g., partner, spouse, significant other, datemate, joyfriend, genderfriend). Research also suggests the importance of including learning materials and resources that have been developed by and for transgender, non-binary, Two-Spirit and other gender diverse people (Braford et al., 2019).

Queer social scenes can sometimes revolve around nighttime bars or clubs. Because queer sex and relationships have been historically forced underground by law enforcement and legislative systems, these clubs and bars continue to be one of the few places where LGBTQ2SIA+ people can meet each other for sexual or romantic encounters (Raymond, 2019). Consent for sexual activity may be wrongly assumed by patrons of these bars and clubs. Though not exclusively attended by queer people, bath houses and darkrooms are parts of some queer experiences. Consent may not often be explicitly given or asked for. However, there is a need and opportunity for the lack of consent culture in these spaces to change (Raymond, 2019; Segalov, 2018).

There may be a false assumption of safety from sexual violence from within LGBTQ2SIA+ communities. The LGBTQ2SIA+ community is often seen as a safe haven from those who may violently target queer and transgender people, so victims and survivors of sexual violence may be reluctant to disclose that they have been harmed by sexual violence from those within their community.

Other facilitation strategies to consider:

International Students

There are multiple barriers which may prevent international students from learning about the law, their rights, services and options available to them. Language and English proficiency is a barrier to the successful participation and smooth acculturation into the host society and transition to their academic studies. Many domestic students have a broader understanding about sex and openly engage in discussions having been exposed to media and sex education. In contrast, international students will have different views of sex guided by their own cultural beliefs, values and norms. When it comes to the topic of consent, its significance in relationships and dating may be disregarded and not understood (Blackman, 2020; California State University, San Bernardino & Martin, 2015; Levand, 2020).

As well, some cultures view talking about sex as taboo and it is not only discouraged, it is not acceptable. International students may not feel comfortable talking about sex in public, in workshops or in class, and extra effort should be made to allow space that is inclusive. This can be accomplished by acknowledging the cultural diversity of other countries, and by providing language specific supports that include translated materials and resources for ongoing community support if needed.

Other facilitation strategies that may be helpful:

How to Make Consent Cha/Green Tea

These handouts were developed by MOSAIC as part of sexual violence prevention education workshops for international students in BC. They are based on the popular YouTube video that helps people to understand consent by comparing it to a cup of tea. Used with permission.A screenshot of the consent cha handout. Download the following PDF for the full text.

Downloads the handouts here: How to Make Consent CHA Posters MOSAIC [PDF].

Indigenous Perspectives on Consent

When providing training on consent & sexual violence in Indigenous contexts, it can be helpful to think about consent from a holistic perspective. In general, consent education focuses on consent within all relationships, not just sexual or romantic relationships. As well, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners may find it helpful to discuss consent from the perspective of interconnected relationships within a community.

Although there is a great diversity in Indigenous worldviews, there are also many commonalities. Many Indigenous cultures include the concept of “All my relations” which means that we are connected to all things – people, plants, trees, animals and rocks – and we need to look after each other (Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, 2020). Many Indigenous people have made connections between consent over the body and consent over land. For example:

“In order to increase the recognition of free, prior, and informed consent over Indigenous territories we need to simultaneously build up the ways that consent is supported around people’s bodies. If discussions are taking place about violations of industry on Indigenous lands, we should also be talking about the violations of people’s bodies. We cannot have healthy families, communities, and nations on the land while people’s bodies continue to experience violence. It is through listening to survivors of violence, asking them about solutions to land violations, and building in teachings about consent that we will have healthy nations” (Women’s Earth Alliance and Native Youth Sexual Health Network, 2016, p.17).

Below are several suggestions for including an Indigenous perspective when discussing consent and sexual violence:

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Slide Deck Outline

This section complements the facilitator notes included in the slide deck. It provides suggestions on alternative ways of facilitating activities and how to “go deeper” into topics depending on time available, audience interest, and goals for the training.

There are several sections in the slide deck where the information provided can and should be specific to the institution delivering the training. Sections where institution specific information should be inserted include: land acknowledgement, on-campus support services and community-based victim services, and the institution’s sexual violence and misconduct policy.

Activity #1: Participatory Group Agreement (Slide 4)

Time: 8 minutes

Measurable objectives: Promote safety and learners’ engagement. Identify learners’ needs.

F2F

Materials needed: sticky notes and pens, flipchart paper with the heading: Group Agreements.

Activity description: Place the flipchart in the middle of the room or in a place where all learners can see it, invite learners to write down what they need to feel comfortable and safe in this training onto their sticky notes and place them on the flipchart. Facilitator reads aloud the sticky notes and asks learners to provide examples, if needed. Express appreciation for the learners’ engagement and input into such an important first activity of the training.

Online

Needed: Zoom white board feature, slide title: Group Agreement on the white board.

Activity description: Share your Zoom screen using the white board feature. Guide learners step-by-step on how to access the whiteboard from their own computer. (You may want to have a test run before the activity). Type the heading “Group Agreement” on the whiteboard and invite learners to type out what they need to feel comfortable and safe in this training. Type out the group agreements listed on slide 4 and invite learners to add stickers (hearts, stars, thumbs up) to the agreements they value and connect with. Read aloud each statement written and provide some examples on what this might look like during the training. Express appreciation for the learners’ engagement and input into such an important first activity of the training.

Facilitator tips: Some learners may take up more space than others. Pay attention to this dynamic from the start of the session and encourage everyone to participate in ways they feel comfortable. Provide different options for participation such as writing in the chat box. Remind people to share space and encourage learners that have not participated with a gentle reminder such as “Let’s hear from folks that haven’t shared yet.”

Activity #2: Self Care Assessment (slide 5)

Time: 5 minutes

Measurable objectives: Build emotional safety for learners in order to engage with training material. Provide a space for learners to check in with their own wellness and self-care supports.

F2F

Materials needed: Paper for learners, writing materials.

Activity description: Pass out materials to learners. Explain the graphic on the slide as the wellness wheel (download PDF below), which shows us each dimension of factors that can support wellness.

Explain that the wellness wheel aligns with Indigenous traditional practices that view individuals holistically, recognizing that wellness means being in a state of balance with the physical, emotional, academic/career, social, creative, spiritual, environmental, financial, and intellectual aspects of your life.

Let learners know that the group will be taking approximately 3 minutes individually to reflect on our own personal wellness and self-care strategies. Either go through the questions on the slides together or let learners read and reflect on how they will care for themselves during and after the workshop. Acknowledge that the group today is its own small community and that if people have capacity, they can also think about how care may be extended to those around them.

Online

Materials needed: Send learners a pdf version of the Wellness Wheel (download below) or encourage learners to take a screenshot of the wellness wheel if they would like to refer to it later. Learners can use paper or another strategy to keep a note of their wellness/self-care strategies.

Activity description: Explain the graphic on the slide as a wellness wheel, which shows us each dimension of factors that can support wellness.

Explain that the wellness wheel aligns with Indigenous traditional practices that view individuals holistically, recognizing that wellness means being in a state of balance with the physical, emotional, academic/career, social, creative, spiritual, environmental, financial, and intellectual aspects of your life.

Let learners know that the group will be taking approximately 3 minutes individually to reflect on our own personal wellness and self-care strategies. Either go through the questions on the slides together or let learners read and reflect on how they will care for themselves during and after the workshop. Acknowledge that the group today is its own small community and that if people have capacity, they can also think about how care may be extended to those around them.

Facilitator tips: Take some time to think about this for yourself as well. Facilitating trainings of this nature can be a reminder of our own personal experiences and present challenges we may have not anticipated. Think of who and what may be able to support you through this.

A graphic wich 9 dimensions of self-wellness on each part of the wheel.
The 9 dimensions of self wellness: Physical, emotional, academic/career, social, creative, spiritual, environmental, financial, and intellectual.

This Wellness Wheel was developed by Jewell Gillies, Musgamgw Dzawada’enux (they/them/theirs), and aligns with Indigenous traditional practices that view wellness holistically. You can download a handout version to share with learners here: BCcampus Wellness Wheel Worksheet [PDF].

Activity #3: Where Are You and Your Ancestors from? (slide 6)

Time: 5 minutes

Measurable objectives: Build trust among learners, promote and give space to diversity in the learners’ identities and backgrounds.

F2F

Materials needed: Large world map, sticky notes.

Activity description: Read the title of the activity and let learners know that this is an icebreaker activity aiming to give space to the diversity present in the learning space. Remind people that this is a quick visual group activity and we will not be diving into any explanations about their backgrounds due to the time limitations.

Encourage learners to put a sticky on  their family’s place of origin in case they were born in Canada. Once everyone has completed stamping their place of origin, find a couple of statements that will bring this activity to a close such as: “Thank you for participating and sharing with us where you come from. There is such vast and wide cultural knowledge present in the space and this is really exciting.” The facilitator can also acknowledge how consent is influenced and shaped by different societies and cultures.

Online

Materials needed: Activate annotation on zoom, slide 6.

Activity description: Read the title of the activity and let learners know that this is an icebreaker activity aiming to give space to the diversity present in the learning space. Remind people that this is a quick visual group activity and we will not be diving into any explanations about their backgrounds due to the time limitations.

Encourage learners to sticker/stamp their family’s place of origin in case they were born in Canada. Once everyone has completed stamping their place of origin, find a couple of statements that will bring this activity to a close such as: “Thank you for participating and sharing with us where you come from. There is such vast and wide cultural knowledge present in the space and this is really exciting.” The facilitator can also acknowledge how consent is influenced and shaped by different societies and cultures.

Facilitator tips: Check-in with yourself on your level of comfort locating your ancestry and background. If this is a triggering place/conversation for you, find ways and supports to debrief this with someone in preparation for the activity.

Activity #4: Where Do You Place Yourself in Terms of Discussing Sexual Violence? (slide 7)

Time: 2 minutes

Measurable objective: Briefly assess the learner’s existing knowledge range (pre-evaluation).

F2F

Materials needed: A tool like Poll Everywhere where you can set up a poll that learners can respond to anonymously using their smartphones.

Activity description: Explain to learners that it’s helpful to get a sense of what we all know about sexual violence and our comfort in engaging with this issue. Encourage them to choose a dot and place it in the section that fits where they are today.

Remind learners not to judge themselves or others about their comfort or knowledge. Everyone is here to learn together.

Online

Materials needed: Activate the Annotation function on Zoom or use another polling tool.

Activity description: Explain to learners that it’s helpful to get a sense of what we all know about sexual violence and our comfort in engaging with this issue. Encourage them to choose a dot and place it in the section that fits where they are today.

Remind learners not to judge themselves or others about their comfort or knowledge. Everyone is here to learn and unlearn together.

Facilitator tips: This information will be good to keep in the back of your mind as you go through the rest of the presentation. You may wish to modify the content you had planned, or the way that you deliver the information based on this knowledge. Research and utilize anonymous annotation platforms:

Activity #5: What is Sexual Violence? (slide 8)

Time: 5 minutes

Measurable objective: Identify the learners’ own definition of sexual violence. Meet them where they are at and utilize their language to build up the definition.

F2F

Materials needed: Flipchart, markers.

Activity description: Invite learners to share in their own words how they define sexual violence. Encourage everyone to share either by writing it down on sticky notes or discussing aloud. Remind people to share space if the facilitator notices that the same people are participating.

Once everyone has shared or the flipchart is almost full, continue to connect examples into ideas and define them with the formal definitions of sexual violence.

Online

Materials needed: Activate annotation on Zoom with anonymous features.

Activity description: Invite learners to share in their own words how they define sexual violence. Encourage everyone to share either by writing it down in the anonymous Annotation or open chat. Remind people to share space if the facilitator notices that the same people are participating.

Once everyone has shared or the screen is almost full, continue to connect examples into ideas and define them with the formal definitions of sexual violence.

Facilitator tips: Become familiar with the definitions and examples of sexual violence in order to hold this space for learners. Also identify different definitions of violence such as “any action that causes harm to another person or group of people.” Types of violence: emotional, physical, verbal, sexual, mental, spiritual and financial. Sexual violence is an umbrella term utilized to cover the action of targeting an individual’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression without that individual’s consent. Sexualized violence can mean different things to different people, depending on time, place, and things you’ve been taught.

Activity #6: Sexual Violence, Consent, and Power & Control (slide 15)

Time: 10 minutes

Measurable objective: Explore how sexual violence is informed by multiple systems of power and control.

F2F

Materials needed: Flipchart and markers.

Activity description: Take time going through each layer of the wheel. Explain that this wheel helps us connect sexual violence to forms of power and control in our society that intersect with people’s personal experiences of violence. It is important to name and address these forces in order to come together and build communities free of violence.

The first layer of the wheel describes aspects of our identities that impact how we are all located in our communities and in society. Some of these factors may change throughout our lives, like our income, our age, our geographic location. Some will not change.

The second layer of the wheel describes types of discrimination and oppression that interact with these personal aspects of our own individual experiences. *Go through and name these forms of oppression. Tell learners that these forms of oppression are held in place by systems and structures in our society, including colonization, enslavement, queerphobia, transphobia, and other aspects of our economic and political systems to name some of these forces.

Lead learners through an activity on the flipchart where you encourage sharing of thoughts on how these layers may impact people’s experiences of sexual violence and consent. You may want to offer an example to prompt more sharing.

For example, many of us may have heard the stereotype of an “angry woman of colour” either in the media, the workplace, or in communities we are a part of. We can note how this stereotype is both gendered and racialized and often used to silence valid criticism coming from Black women and other women and colour about oppression that they are experiencing. We can imagine how this example would be compounded if we add other barriers presented in the wheel such as disability, immigration status, income, etc.

Online

Materials needed: Annotation function on zoom.

Activity description: Take time going through each layer of the wheel. Explain that this wheel helps us connect sexual violence to forms of power and control in our society that intersect with people’s personal experiences of violence. It is important to name and address these forces in order to come together and build communities free of violence.

The first layer of the wheel describes aspects of our identities that impact how we are all located in our communities and in society. Some of these factors may change throughout our lives, like our income, our age, our geographic location. Some will not change.

The second layer of the wheel describes types of discrimination and oppression that interact with these personal aspects of our own individual experiences. *Go through and name these forms of oppression. Tell learners that these forms of oppression are held in place by systems and structures in our society, including colonization, enslavement, queerphobia, transphobia, and other aspects of our economic and political systems to name some of these forces.

Lead learners through activity where you encourage sharing of thoughts on how these layers may impact people’s experiences of sexual violence and consent. Learners can add thoughts with the annotation function on zoom.

For example, many of us may have heard the stereotype of an “angry woman of colour” either in the media, the workplace, or in communities we are a part of. We can note how this stereotype is both gendered and racialized and often used to silence valid criticism coming from Black women and other women and colour about oppression that they are experiencing. We can imagine how this example would be compounded if we add other barriers presented in the wheel such as disability, immigration status, income, etc.

Facilitator tip: Take time to familiarize yourself with this wheel and reflect on what it means to you. Check in with your comfort around presenting material on anti-oppression, and take time reading through material on intersectionality and sexual violence in order to hold space for learners’ reflections. See Section 2: Sexual Violence: Key Concepts and Facilitation Strategies.

Activity #7: Video (options) (slide 21)

Time: 5 minutes

Measurable objective: Participatory reflection on consent.

F2F

Activity description: Invite learners’ comments, questions or “takeaways” from the video presented. Help them expand and change their definition of consent.

Online

Material needed: share screen and computer sound.

Activity description: Invite learners’ comments, questions or “takeaways” from the video presented. Help them expand and change their definition of consent.

Facilitator tips: watch the video before the facilitation and write down your own questions/ reflections. Seek out answers to your questions. Some platforms don’t share video well – the audio can be problematic. Facilitators could share the link and allow learners to take a short break, watch the video, and come back at a set time.

Video Options:

  1. Consent: Have the Conversation”. This video was created by the University of Carleton and contains an encouraging, diverse and assertive message promoting the practice of consent. (2012, 1:36)
  2. Let’s Talk About Consent”. Written, produced, and directed by NYU students and alumni, this short video reflects 18 hours of interviews with students and recent grads at NYU and across New York City who shared what consent means to them, and the importance of starting a brave conversation on campus (2014, 3:43)
  3. Consent”. This animated video developed by Thompson Rivers University defines consent and describes consent in both everyday and sexual relationships (2018, 3:01).
  4. Tea Consent”. This viral video asks viewers to think about consent as a cup of tea. (2014, 2:50)

Activity #8: Building communities of consent (slides 24-30)

Time: 40 minutes

Measurable objective: Practice as a group strategies for expressing personal boundaries around consent and saying no.

F2F

Materials needed: Flipchart paper and marker.

Online

Materials needed: Breakout rooms, enable annotation function on Zoom. Slides with scenarios written on them.

Activity description: Connect this activity to the previous slide, mentioning that now we will practice some consent strategies together in small groups of 3 (or more).  Put slides of scenarios up on display. Encourage learners to take 5-10 minutes together to go through each and allow each member to practice how they might respond in such a situation.

“There are many opportunities to practice consent in our everyday lives and hopefully after this activity you will have some skills you can take with you, to have in your back pocket to reference and practice with others. This experience is a learning and practice opportunity to obtain consent and to practice setting boundaries.”

Scenarios

  1. How would you respond if a stranger on the street asked you on a date and you were not interested?
  2. What if someone asked you the same at a party or a club? How might this impact how you feel expressing this?
  3. How about if the same thing happened, but this time it was someone at your workplace, or in your classroom/lab?
  4. How would you respond to someone on a dating app or social media?

Facilitator tips:

Additional Scenarios

Depending on your audience’s needs, interests, and concerns, you might want to use the following scenarios or to develop your own additional scenarios.

  • Scenario 1: You are a student in a rural community or a small city, your vehicle is not working because the temperature dropped during the day (winter season) and a new peer/ a school staff offers you a ride home after a long day of class. You have noticed that this person has been overly friendly with you in the last little while and you are not sure what their intentions are. How would you respond to their ride offer?
  • Scenario 2: You are an international student and it is your first year of university/ college. You have joined the LGBTQ2IA+ student’s yoga club to meet new friends, and the instructor whom also identifies as a member of the community has been asking you out on a dinner date for a couple of Fridays in a row. How would you respond to their invitation?

Debriefing

F2F

After completing the activity, use flipchart paper to lead the large group through debrief. Ask how the activity was group by group and ask if one speaker from each group would like to share insights. Write up reflections on paper.

Online

After completing the activity, the facilitator can use the annotations function to write up learners’ reflections from the activity. Lead the large group through this by asking how the activity was group by group and ask if one speaker from each group would like to share insights. Write up reflections on the whiteboard or in a Word document using the shared screen function.

After completing the activity, use flipchart paper to lead the large group through debrief. Ask how the activity was group by group and ask if one speaker from each group would like to share insights. Write up reflections on paper.

Here are some suggestions for debriefing the scenarios activity.

Activity #9: Community Actions towards the Elimination of Sexual Violence (slide 32)

Time: 5 minutes

Measurable objective: Learners’ post training evaluation.

F2F

Activity description: Ask the learners for their takeaways, to provide an example of an action or something they will implement in their lives to practice consent.

Online

Activity description: Ask the learners for their takeaways or to provide an example of an action or something they will implement in their lives to practice consent.

Facilitator tips: Make sure to celebrate the learners’ engagement in today’s session. If possible make yourself available after the workshop ends for any questions or follow ups. Be prepared with resources and do not rush your way out the workshop. Give at least 30 minutes post training to “hang around” physically or in the online space.

14

Evaluation

When delivering training on sexual violence, you will want to consider different mechanisms for evaluating both short- and long-term outcomes. We encourage you to collaborate with community frontline workers and organizations and researchers within your institution to develop a comprehensive evaluation strategy to determine the overall effectiveness of various forms of training on preventing and responding to sexual violence at your institution as well as other indicators such as awareness of your institution’s sexual violence and misconduct policy, changes in attitudes and values related to sexual violence, and the effectiveness of institutional response to sexual violence (including investigations, accommodations, and collaboration with different stakeholders and on- and off-campus organizations).

A consistent approach to measuring similar workshops will allow you to compare them over time and show improvement or the need for adapting the workshop to be more successful for the intended audience. The pre/post test is a common form of evaluating training programs. Identical tests are used at the beginning and end of the training and the results are compared to examine changes in knowledge, attitudes, and skills. Pre-tests can be given at the time of registration for a workshop or at the beginning of a session. Post-test can be given at the end of the session or shortly after the date of the last session. Additional tests can be given at set time after the workshop to assess long-term impact, e.g., 3 months, 6 months, 1 year. Post-tests can also be used throughout longer trainings, e.g., at the end of a morning session and again at the end of an afternoon session.

Frequently, pre/post-test questions will be a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions. Quantitative questions are usually answered by many respondents and have definitive answers. They often use Likert scales, where respondents indicate how much they agree or disagree with a statement by choosing from a set of fixed choices on a linear scale (e.g., strongly agree, agree, neither agree or disagree, disagree, strongly disagree). Qualitative questions can be used to understand these statements and to gather information not captured by the quantitative questions. All the questions should link to the learning objectives and outcomes for the training.

This training includes an example of how to incorporate pre/post-test assessment to determine learners’ comprehension and success in reaching the learning outcomes:

Below are examples of pre/post-test questions that can be used as part of your evaluation for this training.

Pre-Test

  1. How well do you understand the term “consent sexual violence”?
    1
    No understanding
    2 3
    Somewhat understand
    4 5
    Clearly understand
  2. How well do you understand the factors that contribute to sexual violence happening?
    1
    No understanding
    2 3
    Somewhat understand
    4 5
    Clearly understand
  3. Do you have an understanding of what it means to give consent?
    1
    No understanding
    2 3
    Somewhat understand
    4 5
    Clearly understand
  4. Can you think of different ways consent may be understood and/ or interpreted?
    1
    Cannot think of any
    2 3
    Can think of a few
    4 5
    Can think of many
  5. Do you think that consent and sexual violence is an issue in post-secondary institutions?
    1
    Is not an issue
    2 3
    May be an issue
    4 5
    Is definitely an issue
  6. Do you have an understanding of power and control and its role in relationships?
    1
    No understanding
    2 3
    Somewhat understand
    4 5
    Clearly understand
  7. Do you think you have a role in building a culture of consent?
    1
    No, not at all
    2 3
    Maybe a small role
    4 5
    Yes, a large role

Post-Test

  1. How well do you understand the term “consent and sexual violence”?
    1
    No understanding
    2 3
    Somewhat understand
    4 5
    Clearly understand
  2. Has your understanding of the term “consent and sexual violence” changed? YES or NO
    1. If YES, how?
  3. How well do you understand the factors that contribute to sexual violence happening?
    1
    No understanding
    2 3
    Somewhat understand
    4 5
    Clearly understand
  4. Has your understanding of the factors that contribute to sexual violence changed? YES or NO
    1. If YES, how?
  5. Do you have a better understanding about consent and sexual violence?
    1
    No understanding
    2 3
    Somewhat understand
    4 5
    Clearly understand
    1. If you learned something new about this, what was it?
  6. Can you think of different ways power and control affects the practice of consent?
    1
    Cannot think of any
    2 3
    Can think of a few
    4 5
    Can think of many
    1. If you learned something new about this, what was it?
  7. Do you think you consent and sexual violence is a challenge in post-secondary institutions?
    1
    Is not an issue
    2 3
    May be an issue
    4 5
    Is definitely an issue
  8. Do you think you have tools to practice consent and promote consent in your relationships?
    1
    Cannot think of any
    2 3
    Can think of a few
    4 5
    Can think of many
  9. Do you think you have a role to play in building a culture of consent?
    1
    No, not at all
    2 3
    Maybe a small role
    4 5
    Yes, a large role
    1. What do you think this could be?
  10. What are one or two main pieces of knowledge or skills you’re taking away?
  11. Was there anything missing from the training?
  12. Is there anything you are still wondering about?

15

Additional Resources

1

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2

Appendix 1: Sexual Violence Training and Resources Working Group

Contributor Post-Secondary Institution
Amy Rowes North Island College
Ashley Bentley Capilano University
Audrey Wong Capilano University
Bryanna Anderson University of the Fraser Valley
Chantelle Spicer Simon Fraser University
CJ Rowe Simon Fraser University
Cori Andrichuk College of the Rockies
Dranna Andrews-Brown Royal Roads University
Glen Magel British Columbia Institute of Technology
Greg Mather University of the Fraser Valley
Heather Carson Okanagan College
Heather Thomson Okanagan College
Jo-Anne Stoltz Selkirk College
Kenya Rogers University of Victoria
Kerry Roberts University of Northern British Columbia
Kyla Mcleod Royal Roads University
Mary DeMarinis Justice Institute of British Columbia
Nancy Darling Okanagan College
Paola Quiros Simon Fraser University
Patrick Bourke Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Rhonda Schmitz Selkirk College
Sasha Wiley-Shaw University of British Columbia
Contributor Student Associations
Adreen Muchini College of the Rockies
Amrita Ramkumar Douglas College
Anouk Borris Vancouver Island University Students’ Union
Catherine Gehman Justice Institute of British Columbia
Danielle Landeta-Gauthier British Columbia Institute of Technology Students’ Association
Eleanor Vannan Camosun Student Society
Grace Dupasquier Alliance of B.C. Students
Gurpinder Gaidu Douglas College
Irma Kahn Vancouver Island University Students’ Union
Tashia Kootenayoo University of British Columbia – Okanagan Students’ Union
Contributor Community Associations
Kate Rossiter Ending Violence Association of BC
Nour Kachouh Ending Violence Association of BC

3

Appendix 2: Sexual Violence Training Development Team

The resources for this project were developed, written, and reviewed collaboratively by a group of subject matter experts with project management and technical support provided by BCcampus. The development team included individuals with expertise in a wide range of areas, including sexual violence prevention and response, trauma-informed practice, adult education, equity and inclusion, Indigenous education, and community-based anti-violence programming and service delivery.

Contributors
Matty Hillman Lead, Supporting Survivors Training
Meaghan Hagerty Co-Lead, Active Bystander Intervention Training and Accountability & Repairing Relationships Training
Amber Huva Co-Lead, Active Bystander Intervention Training and Accountability & Repairing Relationships Training
Melissa Singh Co-Lead, Consent and Sexual Violence Training
Sandra Suasnabar Alberco Co-Lead, Consent and Sexual Violence Training
Tasnim Nathoo Lead, Curriculum Development
Perminder Flora Subject matter expert (working with international students and multicultural considerations)
Jewell Gillies (Musgamgw Dzawada’enux) (they/them/theirs) Subject matter expert (Indigenization and decolonization and LGBTQ2SIA+ considerations)
Kate Rossiter Subject matter expert (community-based anti-violence programs and services)
Chanelle Tye Subject matter expert (LGBTQ2SIA+ and gender inclusivity)
Terri Bateman Instructional Designer
BCcampus
Robynne Devine
(she/her/hers)
Project Manager
Kaitlyn Zheng Pressbooks Coordinator
Gabrielle Lamontagne Indigenous Coordinator

4

Versioning History

This page provides a record of edits and changes made to this book since its initial publication. Whenever edits or updates are made in the text, we provide a record and description of those changes here. If the change is minor, the version number increases by 0.01. If the edits involve substantial updates, the version number increases to the next full number.

The files posted by this book always reflect the most recent version. If you find an error in this book, please fill out the Report an Open Textbook Error form.

Version Date Change Details
1.01 May 3, 2021 Book published.
1.02 Jan 11, 2022 Updated slide deck. Remediated slide deck in Introduction to be more accessible.