Welcome to part two of our September 2021 Inspirational Interview with Brittany McMillan, Executive Director of the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre (KSAC). For over 14 years, Brittany has worked in the social services field, working frontline to support individuals in need and believes that everyone deserves to be treated fairly. Brittany has had a passion for supporting survivors of sexual assault for many years and is so empowered to work for KSAC. She believes that education is a crucial component of ending violence against women (VAW). Brittany is an active participant in many local committees and initiatives to end VAW. Brittany also facilitates college courses in mental health with a strong focus on prevention and intervention.
In this part of the interview, Brittany discusses the organisation’s MENding programme and the COVID-19’s pandemic’s effect on their work.
Part 1 of this interview was published on 26 September 2021.
Photos courtesy of Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre.
6.With the Coronavirus pandemic still raging on, the rates of all types of VAW have been surging worldwide. What are some of the strategies that KSAC has adopted in order to continue helping women and girls during this pandemic?
Our free and confidential text/online chat for survivors of sexual violence and harassment is available 24/7. Trained volunteers provides trauma-informed support and referrals to counselling/community supports when needed. This was started as a direct result of the challenges women faced during the pandemic.
We have also moved to virtual means of support. This allows individuals to continue to get the support they require when in lockdown. We also understand and appreciate that not every survivor has a safe place to join us virtually. We work with these survivors to ensure that they get the support that they need.
7.How do you think men and boys can help to end violence against women?
We offer a course for male-identified folks called MENding. The MENding program is a leadership initiative for male-identified people who are interested in educating other men about sexual and gender-based violence.
The programme covers masculinity and what it means to be a man, sexual and gender-based violence, consent, and bystander intervention. After having these discussions, the programme trains participants to be able to teach what they have learned and put their newly acquired knowledge to use! We need more men to speak out against VAW, have tough conversations with their peers, and tell them that they will not tolerate VAW.
8.Tell us about KSAC’s plans for the future. What campaigns, programmes, or projects do you have coming up in the next 5 years?
We continue to offer great prevention and education programmes throughout our area. We are always developing new content and programmes to best support our community. Over the coming years, our community will see ongoing collaboration with other agencies.
9.How can The Pixel Project’s supporters engage with and support the efforts of Kawartha-SAC to stop violence against women?
Help us help others. We always welcome new volunteers to join our team, encourage people to share our content and resources, and appreciate donations to the centre. If you are a survivor, we are here to support you. We believe you. We will walk alongside you in your healing journey.
10.In your considered opinion, how can we end violence against women for good?
We need to continue to get loud and tell the world that VAW is not acceptable. We need to continue to inspire women to use their voice, and continue to raise awareness around the long-term negative effects that VAW causes. Prevention and education need to be at the forefront, and we need everyone to take part in these workshops so that they can do better.