Toronto, Canada – Wednesday September 15, 2021
Kenyan Canadian Association (KCA) hosted the second virtual event on September 11th, 2021, within the new initiative aimed at addressing Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The event was part of a high-impact webinar series supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Safer + Stronger COVID-19 Emergency Grant.
KCA had the honor of hosting expert panelists who engaged participants simultaneously through online channels including Zoom, Facebook and YouTube. Panelists shared perspectives on the prevalence of GBV in Canada and provided the audience with practical tools and resources for getting help and breaking the cycle of violence.
The webinar featured esteemed and experienced panelists: Lydia Mutyaba, Women and Children Counsellor at New Comer Connections; Paola Gomez, Human Rights Lawyer and Co-Founder and Director of Muse Arts; Shiffo Farah, founder of Farah Family Solutions Inc; Suchira Banerjee, Director of Client Services, Victim Services of Peel; and Satha Vivekananthan, VAW Counsellor, Family Service Toronto. The Webinar was hosted by Sanjit Kaur, KCA Women and Gender Affairs Director, with KCA introductory remarks from Catherine Matimu, KCA’s Board Secretary and Newcomers & Settlement Director.
The first speaker, Suchira Banerjee, Director of Client Services, Victim Services of Peel spoke about Victim Services of Peel’s work to support people who have experienced gender-based violence. She offered vital information about their 24 hour crisis line, and how they provide an emotionally supportive first response for victims and survivors of family and/or intimate partner violence. She stressed the importance of meeting and supporting survivors at their social location to best help them in their healing and restitution journey.
Paola Gomez, Human Right Lawyer & Co-founder & Director of Muse Arts spoke about benefits of creativity in the healing process during and after experiencing violence. She explained that fostering creative community and empowering survivors can lead to long lasting changes. During her presentation she offered an example of a creative prompt used at Muse Arts workshops, to help survivors express their stories.
Lydia Mutyaba, Women’s and Children Counsellor at Newcomer Connections, educated the audience on ways to build resilience after the trauma of GBV, and the challenges and barriers that many survivors face.
“1 out of 3 women in the world have faced gender-based violence. As many try to get themselves out of this situation, there’s this idea that ‘you have to be strong, you have keep the problems to the side and the focus on being positive and moving forward’; the true meaning of resilience is the ability to face your challenges. To understand and sit with the discomforts, and work through it. ”
Shiffo Farah, founder of Farah Family Solutions, spoke about the need to provide trauma therapy and counselling to people who have also experience racism. Her counselling practice serves children, families, and communities in the GTA, with an afro-centric therapeutic approach. She highlighted the importance of culture consideration when creating solutions for those seeking help with family violence, and that healing should be offered in ways that align with cultural priorities.
“Our big focus is to work from a child centred perspective, and we - being people of African descent, whether my colleagues are from the Caribbean or some from Africa; it is the fact that we centre our African-ness in our work, appreciating that it is the family dynamic that we are working with, with a clear focus that the children are at the centre of the work. In this work, we’ve recognized that our families do struggle with systems.”
Finally, Satha Vivekananthan, VAW Counsellor at Family Service Toronto, spoke of the importance of offering counselling services to communities often underserved because of language barriers, and the work Family Service Toronto does to provide counselling to women in their mother-tongue and often times, their only means of communicating their needs.
The webinar provided a safe and inclusive virtual space to discuss GBV, acknowledge the barriers that prevent people from reaching out for help, and most importantly, directed the audience to useful resources and let them know, there are options available for help, recovery, and healing from gender-based violence.
Look out for future webinars in this series:
- Webinar 3: Navigating the Legal and Justice System - September 25th, 2021
- Webinar 4: Gender-Based Violence and the Media - October 16th, 2021
- Webinar 5: Gender Equality & UN Women HeForShe - November 6th, 2021
Crisis Support & Resources:
If you or someone you know may be at risk of or have experienced gender-based violence, we urge you to please reach out for help.
You can share the recording of this webinar with any one it might help. All past webinars in this series can be found on KCA’s Facebook and Youtube channels
We have also listed resources from the webinar that you can access:
- Victim Services of Peel 24/7 Crisis Line: 905-568-1068
- Assaulted Women’s Help Line: 416-863-0511
- Rape Crisis Centre of Peel: 905-273-9442
- Sexual Assault Line York Region: 905-895-7313
- Toronto Rape Crisis Centre: 416-597-8808
- Newcomer Connections: 647-245-3534
- Farah Family Solutions: 647-931-3980
- Family Services Toronto: 416-595-9618
Kenyan Canadian Association - KCA is a federal not-for-profit organization that seeks to address the issues affecting Black, other racialized communities and marginalized groups in Canada while assisting newcomers to settle and make a positive contribution in the society as they endeavour to achieve their goals.