Together We Can: Men Speak Out on Violence Against Women

We are proud to be partnering with Crime Prevention Ottawa & the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence against Women (OCTEVAW) on this powerful event.

Join us!


Together We Can: Men Speak Out on Violence Against Women

What can boys and men do about violence against women? Glen Canning, Rehtaeh Parsons’ father, will help answer this question at our upcoming speaker series event. Join us for this honest and compelling discussion about positive masculinity.

With recent events on university campuses in the city and beyond, many men in the community want to help. Now’s the time to step up.

Our panel of speakers will touch on questions including: What does it mean to be a man? What lessons can we draw from high profile events—both good and bad—in terms of how we view and treat women? How can boys and men model positive behaviours?

Let’s talk. Together, we can make a difference.


Glen Canning, activist and Rehtaeh Parsons’ father
Chief Charles Bordeleau, Ottawa Police Service
Caroline Andrew,Chair, University of Ottawa Task Force on Respect and Equality
Councillor Shad Qadri, Chair, Crime Prevention Ottawa Board of Directors


Adrian Harewood, Anchor, CBC News: Ottawa


Monday, May 12, 2014 from 10:00 am to12:00 noon
Coffee at 10 am, program at 10:30 am


City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West
Andrew Haydon Hall (Council Chambers)

Questions will be encouraged in both official languages.

R.S.V.P. to Crime Prevention Ottawa at cpo@ottawa.ca or 613-580-2424 ext. 22454

*Please note that space is limited.*

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Casandra’s story

I was trying to catch a 176 bus as I and a few other passengers were trying to catch it as well, I got on the bus and noticed a few other people were behind so I tapped my Presto and waited at the door for the others to come on so the driver wouldn’t leave them behind.

As I was doing the the driver told me to get on the bus, and I let him know there were other people running. Then he yells at me and says, “Well if I saw you coming what makes you think I didn’t see you coming?” and I said well I just wanted to make sure they got on, so then I start walking onto the bus and he yells at me and says to tap my Presto again, I told him that I did already then he yells at me once more and tells me it did not go through, I tapped and it prompted that it was already tapped.

I then in almost tears told the bus driver I did not appreciate his tone of voice with me, and he then again yells at me and tells me that I should just worry about my self and not to care about other people. At this point I was shaking and almost crying because I have anxiety disorders and it was extremely triggering to get yelled at and then have to confront someone for something I thought was a good deed. No respect from this driver if I had PTSD or something that could of made me go out into a full attack. Once I got off the bus I had a full on panic attack in the middle of the street. When I calmed down I called OCtranspo’s complain line and notified them of the incident in which the person on the line didn’t seem to have any sympathy. And I never heard anything about it again.

I've got your back!

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Our City, Our Space, Our Voice: International Anti-Street Harassment Week Event!

2014 is an election year in Ottawa!

We want to use International Anti-Street Harassment Week as an opportunity to let candidates know that come election time, we’ll only be casting a vote for folks who care about ending gender-based violence in our city.

Join us on Thursday, April 3rd from 6:30-8:30pm at Michele Heights Community Centre (2955 Michele Drive in the city’s West End) for an informal gathering. We’ll facilitate a short brainstorming session and have tons of creative ways for people to get their voices out there. If you’re more crafty than chatty (or vice versa), we got you covered! And of course, we’ll have some snacks, too.

Come for the snacks, stay for the revolution!

The official goal of this event is to bring together our allies to develop concrete messaging around gender-based violence for 2014 municipal candidates. We’re going to aggregate the messages from the event onto our website where we’ll have a little hub that basically boils down to: “You want my vote? This is what I expect of you!”

Our unofficial goal is to bring together like-minded folks in a chill, welcoming space to talk about the reality of street harassment and what we, as a community, want to see done about it.

Let’s make gender-based violence a priority in this city!

Want more info? ottawa@ihollaback.org

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/681919235199398/

The space is accessible.

This is a SAFE space. If you don’t think gender-based violence is a ‘thing’ or you’re a giant jerk, stay home.

This is an event designed for community members. If you’re a candidate, GREAT that you want to know what people are thinking! BUT! We’ll be aggregating all the feedback for folks like you to check out at a later date. So, we ask that you stay home, too and allow residents a safe space to chat among themselves.

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E’s Story

I was walking down the street in Centretown (on Lisgar) with my friend and a man holding a beer can started walking towards us (it was 5 PM in the afternoon).

Happy that we finally have some decent summer weather, I was wearing a dress with tights. This guy was visibly impaired and started yelling out comments on my legs. He said I had very nice legs. I said nothing.

He then asked if I liked Puerto Rican men. I said nothing. He was right in front of me at this point and I had to walk past him on the sidewalk. I did not make eye contact.

Thankfully – he didn’t follow us. He remained in his place on the sidewalk but continued yelling out verbal comments about my legs.

The worst was when he yelled out that he wanted to f*** me in the ass.

There were a few other people on the street. No one said anything to him or to me. I just sped up and wanted to get out of there.

Following this incident, I didn’t feel angry, or sad. I actually felt embarrassed that he was targeting me and other people heard! Not sure how you’re supposed to feel in this type of situation, but I’m sure that can’t be right!

I also felt thankful I was with a friend when this happened; a friend who reassured me that none of this was my fault.

I’m glad Hollaback! exists. I was familiar with this group before this incident happened.

I hate that women have to go through these kind of experiences. We should be able to walk down the street in peace and no harassed or made to feel uncomfortable. Looking forward to helping however I can to help make our streets safer for women.

I've got your back!

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Guest post: “When the Saints go marching in”

I’m worried that I won’t be one of those women remembered for the ways that I helped fight rape culture. I’m worried that my contributions won’t be heard, that the ways in which I try to help won’t be big enough. I’m worried that I don’t do enough, don’t play a big enough role, don’t speak out enough, don’t write enough, don’t protest enough…

And the song When the Saints Go Marching In resounds in my head because of how desperately I want to be in that number when we march the streets, when we protest against rape and a culture that allows it to continue. I worry about making my mark on this world, and about how I’m going to make it better.

So, I created a blog for women to write about their experiences with sexual violence, and mostly I get support. I sometimes get letters telling me how much this space has helped someone, and how much they appreciate and need it. How much they want to have a space where they feel safe telling their stories. But I worry that it isn’t enough—that it isn’t doing enough to change the world.

And so, I worry about the men in my life and the ways in which they contribute to a culture of rape and sexual violence. I worry about the men in my life, who holler at women on the street as they drive by with their group of friends. I worry about the way they laugh about this, thinking its harmless fun, and I worry that they can’t seem to piece together the anger they feel when it happens to me, and the violence they’re inflicting on the women they yell things at. And I wish that someone would stand up and say, “How dare you harass her when she’s just trying to walk to the grocery store! How dare you interrupt her day with your lewd comments that make her feel weak, and scared, and disrespected! How dare you harass her at all!”

I worry about the messages that are given to young boys in my life when they like the colour purple or decide they won’t partake in ‘kissing tag’—a game the other boys are playing, but a game that the girls in class don’t particularly like. I worry about the messages being given to young, influential boys, and I wish that someone would stand up and say “I’m proud of you for not touching someone else’s body without their permission”.

And I wait, but nobody says these things. So, I stand up and say them. I tell the men in my life to stop harassing women, and I tell the young boys that I think it’s great they didn’t want to force girls to kiss him, and I tell them that the colour purple is wonderful and not only for girls. And I get met with eye rolls and comments about always going on a feminist rant.

I worry that they can’t see that this isn’t just theory to me—this isn’t just a feminist rant. This is my life. Every day. This is my lived experience—of men touching me in bars without my permission, of men yelling vulgar comments on the street when I’m walking home from work, of men putting drugs in my drink. Of men in my life attacking me and discrediting my lived experiences as nothing more than ‘a feminist rant’.

More than anything, I worry about the men in my life who want proof that rape culture exists, as if all of these moments in their lives don’t outline it all-too-clearly. I worry about the type of men that are in my life, the ones who cry out “but not all men are like that!” and then demand proof that rape culture exists. I begin to distance myself from them for my own well-being, but I worry all the same. Even though I’m met with resistance, and sometimes met with nasty and damaging comments about my feminist rants, I worry about what will happen if I ever stop. If I’m gone, who will stand up and tell them that these things aren’t okay?

And even if I stay, I worry that I am hollering back to men in my life unwilling to hear what I have to say. I worry that when all is said and done, my contributions to the fight still won’t be enough. And so I holler louder, more frequently, in different ways, and try to get them to understand that this is more than just theory, that it isn’t a compliment, that it’s definitely a big deal. But I still worry that I won’t be heard.

- Kiera

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Geneviève’s reclaiming public space!

I just wanted to add this photo as a follow up from being harassed last week. (Story here.)  I went back to the spot and left my harassers a message.

- Geneviève

I've got your back!

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Harassment on Rideau

I was walking down Rideau St on my way home from work and as I crossed Dalhousie, a male in a car stopped at the lights yelled “Excuse me! You dropped my phone number, do you want it?” I replied by saying “Absolutely not, worry about the traffic and not women crossing the street”. The other men in the car started yelling out their windows that I was “a fucking bitch” and “must need a good fuck”. I gave them the finger and ducked into the store across the street until they drove away.

I've got your back!

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Tracey’s story

August 2013, I was walking on Rideau at 12:30pm with a male relative of mine. As we were walking and talking a man walked by us. As he walked by he pushed his hand between my legs and upwards into my vagina and whispered “Heeeey” into my ear. When I turned around to look at him he smiled and shrugged his shoulders when I screamed “What the fuck”

I was so taken back all I remembered was his bad teeth.

I spoke to police and nothing came of it.
I still have nightmares about it.

I've got your back!

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