The Centre hosts Consent Action Week at York University

Vari Hall Winter scene showing the Harry Arthurs Common

York University students, staff and faculty are encouraged to join the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education (The Centre) for a series of online events to mark Consent Action Week, Jan. 24 to 28.

Consent Action Week features important events to highlight critical issues, knowledge and insight around what defines consent. The events also serve to raise awareness, facilitate discussions and educate community members about the myriad of supports and services offered by The Centre’s staff, peers and external partners. Where indicated, University community members will be asked to register online. All events are free. To learn more, visit The Centre’s website.

Monday, Jan. 24

Hiding in plain sight: the reality of human trafficking in Canada

Noon to 1 p.m., online
Click here to register

Vulnerable victims, strong survivors! Learn how traffickers prey on vulnerabilities and what you can do to mitigate risk and prevalence. Did you know that the vast majority (95 per cent) of human trafficking survivors in 2019 were girls and women, or that most victims (89 per cent) are below the age of 35? What about the fact that 51 per cent of trafficked girls were or are currently involved with the foster care system, or that the proportion of Black and Indigenous children in care is higher than their proportion to the child population? These facts highlight structural, economic, racial and gendered vulnerabilities that heighten girls’ chances of being victimized. Traffickers mainly prey on women and girls who are vulnerable and that’s why understanding these vulnerabilities and how they intersect is so critical. All girls need to be supported. Learn more about recent research, familiarize yourself with the signs, obtain resources and insights, and share space as we collectively explore the antidote to human trafficking.

Facilitator(s): Claudia Leyds (she/they), anti-human trafficking case manager and outreach worker at the Women’s Support Network of York Region

Leyds is a recent graduate of the Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate program at George Brown College. As a survivor of violence themselves, Leyds is passionate about the work they do to support survivors and is a firm believer in the inherent knowledge and strength of survivors. Through their work, Leyds aims to empower survivors to get the support they need in a way that centres them in their healing journey. Leyds also believes in the importance of education to provide information and tools to survivors and allies alike in order to create a safer, more aware community.

Masculinity and consent

1 to 2 p.m., online
Register by email to
A Zoom link will be emailed to those who register.

This event focuses on a candid discussion on impact versus intent.

Facilitator(s): Kai Zhuang

Drawing the Line: art therapy workshop

6 to 7 p.m., online
Register by email to
A Zoom link will be emailed to those who register.

Drawing the Line is an art therapy workshop designed to empower participants to draw healthy boundaries for themselves and others in order to create healthy relationships. This is not like an art class where we learn artistic techniques, so there is no prior art experience required to join this workshop.

Facilitator(s): Ashtyn Ford, Full Circle Art Therapy Centre

Ford is a certified Art Therapist & Registered Psychotherapist and specializes in working with people who have experienced abuse and trauma. Ford believes that everyone is resilient and has the ability to heal and grow. Ford follows a trauma-informed lens; helping individuals develop tools to manage the impacts of trauma, process memories and feelings, and reconnect with the other parts of identity past the trauma.

Tuesday, Jan. 25

Consent Talks screening

11 a.m. to noon, online
Click here to register

Created in collaboration with Vanier College Productions, Consent Talks is a short film about sex and consent, focusing on the university experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some themes include virtual hook-ups, sexual violence, online harassment, and the impact of social media and physical distancing rules.

Facilitator(s): Catherina Blair

Standing up to sexual harassment

Noon to 1 p.m., online
Click here to register

Is this sexual harassment? How do you identify and recognize it? Incidents of sexual harassment often escalate, and people are hesitant to call it out and report it. Join Sexual Harassment and Assault Resource Exchange (SHARE) to learn how to interrupt and respond assertively to sexual harassment. In this interactive webinar you will learn about:

  • legal definitions
  • early signs
  • escalations
  • assertive responses
  • reporting tips to file a report at work.

Facilitator(s): Shagufta Sadique, SHARE

Power in pleasure

1 to 2 p.m., online
Click here to register

Butterfly: Asian Migrant Sex Worker Support Network teaches trauma-informed consent workshops that are centred around pleasure. They will discuss sex and consent at the intersection of race, status, labour and criminalization, and why a fear-based “no means no” approach fails to recognize the greater agency and power we are capable of wielding.

Facilitator(s): Elene Lam and Mina Do, Butterfly: Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network

Lam is an activist, community organizer, educator and human rights defender. For more than 20 years, she has devoted herself to defending the rights of and empowering marginalized communities: particularly sex workers, migrants and precarious workers. Lam is the founder of Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) and has used diverse and innovative approaches to advocate social justice for migrant sex workers. She is also experienced in providing training related to consent, gender-based violence, trauma-informed practice, sexuality and happy sexual life workshops.

Do, based in Tkaronto (aka Toronto, Canada), is available for talks and workshops that are as entertaining as they are informative. She has a decade of experience as a pleasure-based sex educator and works for Butterfly, the Asian Migrant Sex Worker Support Network. She is passionate about facilitating pleasure-based consent and sex education training that is trauma-informed and counters stigma against sex workers.

Survivor support group

2 to 3 p.m., online
Register by email to
A Zoom link will be emailed to those who register.

This drop-in online support group is for York University students who are survivors of sexual violence/trauma. This support group is a safe place where you can be honest with yourself and others and may give and receive support.

Wednesday, Jan. 26

Creating a culture of consent

Noon to 1 p.m., online
Click here to register

Join members of the York community for a guided conversation on how we can all work together to build a culture of consent. This facilitated space hosted by the York Federation of Students (YFS) and the YFS Wellness Centre in collaboration with The Centre, will feature discussions on how to approach consent holistically and with a survivor-centric lens. This conversation will also highlight the various ways consent can feature a community-based and restorative justice approach.

Facilitator(s): Adaeze Mbalaja, York Federation of Students (YFS) and Cecile, a YFS Wellness Centre coordinator

Yoga for trauma recovery

2 to 3 p.m., online
Click here to register

This unique class is for anyone who is on a path to recovering from physical or emotional trauma. The class aims to give participants tools to understand how trauma affects the body, and to let go of trauma stored in the body through movement. Trauma may seem like a loaded word, but it is something that affects many of us through major losses, accidents, violence or other major life stresses. Everything in the class is optional and beginner-friendly.

Facilitator(s): Nicole Brown Faulknor

Brown Faulknor is the founder of Wounds 2 Wings Trauma + Psychotherapy Services, a Yoga instructor, registered psychotherapist, child and youth counsellor, trauma consultant, author and survivor. She is also a member of both the Colleges of Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario and the Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy. She has more than 18 years of professional experience working with marginalized, vulnerable and oppressed communities, individuals, families and children. She has worked extensively with individuals and communities suffering from mental health, addictions, systemic poverty and profiling to therapeutically improve relationships with government programs and services.

Thursday, Jan. 27

Intersections of gender-based violence and colonialism

Noon to 1 p.m., online
Click here to register

This workshop is for anyone interested in learning more about sexual violence, the intersections of gender-based violence and colonialism, and strategies for positive change. Daniella Robinson will provide an overview of her work as the supervisor of an Anti-Human Trafficking team supporting Indigenous survivors, and her own research as a student in a doctoral-level Human Sexuality program.

Facilitator (s): Daniella Robinson, Native Child & Family Services of Toronto

Robinson is Bigstone Cree and Italian. She is the Bekaadendang (Being Peaceful) psychoeducation and community support worker at Native Child and Family Services, as part of their Anti-Human Trafficking program. Robinson is also a third-year PhD student studying human sexuality and part of the Mino Collective, an Indigenous youth group in Toronto. She is passionate about all things related to sexuality, wellness and empowerment.

Mindfulness meditation

5:45 to 6:45 p.m., online
Register by email to

Mindfulness is becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings, imagery and sensations, and having you notice the effects they have on you. Through mindfulness meditation, you’re more aware of these effects and will learn how to focus on the present rather than the sensations or the thoughts of the past or the worries of the future or past.

Facilitator(s): Scott Pope, Student Counselling, Health & Well-being

What do you like? Pleasure and consent

2 to 3 p.m., online
Click here to register

Join us for a consent training that is based on pleasure. What is sex, and where did you learn about it? Not the usual approach to responding to violence, this workshop acknowledges that you are sexual beings with agency and are interested in discovering what you want and how to get it.

Facilitator(s): Tuulia Law (York University) and Mina Do

Law is an assistant professor in the Criminology program at York University. She teaches and researches about gendered violence, sexual violence prevention, sex work, and discourses of consent and rape culture.

Stories Spark Change

7 to 8:30 p.m.
Click here to register

This is a cross-institutional event coordinated by the Ontario University Sexual Violence Network and Farrah Khan.

Join us for an in-depth conversation on how society puts shame, blame and fear on survivors which we often internalize. As survivors, we may hold the story that our pleasure, needs and healing are too much of a burden. Our needs are not too much. This conversation will be an opportunity to think about how to reclaim our story and push back against shame to create space for healing and justice. You are invited to explore how survivors deserve healing, self-love and pleasure in a world where we are often told to hate ourselves for violence that was never our fault. Content note: this is a conversation about healing and will not be about the harm that occurred.

Facilitator(s): Roxane Gay, Eternity Martis

Stories Spark Change Organizing Committee: Ryerson University, Wilfrid Laurier University, Carleton University, Queen’s University, McMaster University, University of Guelph, University of Windsor, University of Toronto and York University

Stories Spark Change is a part of a monthly series called “We Deserve Healing Not Harm: A Speaker Series” focused on the ongoing widespread criminalization and punishment of survivors of gender-based violence. This series is an opportunity to unpack, explore paths for change and generate collective action led by Ryerson University, Wilfrid Laurier University, Carleton University. Through speakers, panels, resource sharing and calls to action, we will explore ways to recognize and challenge the intersecting systems that target and harm survivors.

Friday, Jan. 28

Informational consent for BIPOC students

Noon to 1 p.m., online
Click here to register

Exploitation of your information as a BIPOC individual can come under the guise of education, comradery, curiosity or bureaucracy. This workshop explores how to get clear on what your boundaries are when it comes to the information you are asked for and how to share your information with confidence.

Facilitator(s): Sapphire Woods

Disrupting and reconstructing our understanding of femicide: centering Black women, girls and gender-diverse peoples’ experiences

Consent Week closing remarks.

1 to 2 p.m., online
Click here to register

Facilitator(s): Nneka MacGregor