Funding for CASAC

Given CASAC has never received core funding for our equality-seeking work from the Federal Government of Canada.
Given that the Federal Government of Canada forces CASAC centres to depend on inadequate Provincial dollars to deliver “service only work” and refuses CASAC funding to tackle the root problem that creates the need for anti rape services in the first place.
Given that CASAC member centres are oftentimes dependant on project funding that is not secured long term nor committed to the advancement of women’s equality which in turn undermines our efforts to achieve liberation for all women.
Given CASAC is the only pan Canadian coalition of sexual assault centres in Canada and together over the past 30 years we have improved the status of women in Canada and to this day are a vital and positive force in ending male violence against women.
Be it resolved that members from CASAC centres create a cross regional funding committee to secure core funding for our equality seeking work.
Feminist Politics in Fundraising
Where as CASAC’s front line workers support the idea of empowering women by encouraging their participation in the anti violence movement following there path through healing and change, we also recognize the importance of acknowledging the significant power imbalance between those using our service and the service providers. While we encourage collective strength we must recognize the limitations of our sisters when in crisis.
In a recent National fundraising drive the Canadian Women’s Foundation has made links to each community where there is a shelter or an organization that has recently received CWF funding. They contacted radio stations to elicit their support by having a radio marathon. They asked service providers to find victims in each community willing to speak on behalf of themselves and the campaign.
Whereas women “victims” are being solicited by the governments through assault centres and shelters and told that public disclosure or telling your story is healing and empowering. It is being sold as women making their own personal choices.
Whereas we as centres understand that the healing process includes helping women understand that the lack of choices often encourages and sometimes guides her into making choices that are unhealthy or self-destructive. Empowering women to use their good judgment or trust their own instincts is the most difficult path we travel together. And having that kind of power is something clients often want more than anything else.
Whereas; As much as we believe women should have choices and some often are in a place that makes that possible, we need to understand that most do not. We need to consider what the impact is on an individual woman when we are asking her to use her trauma and her most painful experiences by exposing these in a public forum. Not all those who will listen have our skills or knowledge, not all will look at her bravery or see how much she has risked. And it is those uninformed critical individuals outside which have the power to set her back. It is no different than the stranger to violence who says “well, what’s your problem, why didn’t you just leave, why didn’t you just say no?” it is that kind of attitude that keeps women silent and often encourages their self hatred.
Whereas; To say women have a choice is to simplistic, or that discloser can be “healing”. Of course disclosure and telling your story is healing that’s why we exist. But let us above all others not lie to ourselves or the women we serve. Lets us not encourage their cooperation and support to be put on display as victims for the general public. Let us remember the reason we exist is because the general public has been proven to be uneducated, uninformed, less tolerant and often cruel to women.
Whereas; CWF and all other government campaigns must be very careful about using women who have recently assaulted or raped to speak or work on their behalf to raise awareness. It is their responsibility to understand that the world they are sending her out to is not safe, it is not filled with understanding and caring individuals like ourselves, not everyone understands the issues; if they did they would not need these huge media and fundraising projects to fund crisis and support services.
Whereas; Therefore anyone with an understanding of the issues facing women are even more responsible for making sound, intelligent and responsible decisions on their behalf. In a world where the media consistently displays victims of crime as entertainment, where reporters ask for the most personal and detailed information to sell papers or achieve high ratings, where victims are often re-traumatized because of this personal scrutiny and public opinion, CASAC above all others owe it to women to ensure they are aware of the possible negative impact of their discloser to the public and to ensure government is similarly informed..
Whereas; CASAC would stipulate that using victims particularly those who are in the process of healing is unnecessary. Are we CASAC and CWF not being paid to deliver these educational messages on behalf of women, are we not more safely situated, more secure and more equipped to respond to negative feedback? Yes we are. In fact the measure of our combined safety, power and lobbing talent is the measure of what we owe those women who are being victimized. We do not need them to help us do our work. They need and deserve the best of who we are. We would also suggest that there are enough women who have survived personal experiences of violence and have used that knowledge to become powerful leading feminist activists in the women’s movement who can better and more safely provide informed information rather than use a ‘victim” in service.
Be it resolved that CASAC is not in favor of exploiting women “victims/survivors” in service, to support government media campaigns, public education and fundraising events.