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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Changing Attitudes About Sexual Violence in Ontario

May 19, 2017

Ontario is supporting 9 new artistic projects through the Creative Engagement Fund to help change social norms and attitudes that perpetuate sexual violence.

The Creative Engagement Fund supports partnerships between arts organizations, artists and sexual violence prevention advocates as they create projects that inspire dialogue on consent, rape culture and gender equality to help raise awareness, prevent sexual violence and harassment, and promote healing.

The following projects will receive funding:

  • Speak On It will develop an educational spoken word project directed toward street-involved young women and transgender youth. Participants will work with poets and advocates against sexual violence to create productions that inspire dialogue to combat rape culture and promote consent. (CANVAS Arts Action Programs, Toronto)
  • Art[4]Change, a Hamilton-based project, will develop a multidisciplinary program that encourages dialogue around sexual violence and harassment. Through exhibitions, performances, installation and lectures, this project will address rape culture and bystander intervention in the community. (Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts, Hamilton)
  • Zoongda: Strong Heart, based in Peterborough, is a multidisciplinary community project devoted to the impact of missing and murdered Indigenous women, the resilience of sexual violence survivors, and the relationship between land, water, body and violence. (Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, Peterborough)
  • Poetry in Action: Youth Against Sexual Violence is a London-based project that will be shared on social media and will engage students in spoken word to address sexual violence in schools. (Sexual Assault Centre London)
  • Weave and Mend, a Toronto-based project, will engage young homeless Indigenous women and women of colour to build public art installations. The installations, which comprise sculptural furniture, weaving wood, images and plants, will become safe public spaces for dialogue on gender-based violence. (SKETCH Working Arts for Street-Involved and Homeless Youth, Toronto)
  • The Droits d'abord project out of Toronto will feature three short films for students aged 12 to 15. The project will encourage social change and sexual violence prevention in Franco-Ontarian communities. (Centre ontarien de prévention des agressions (COPA), Toronto) 
  • My Life, My Community, My Ontario, an integrated art project based in Woodbridge, will engage Indigenous female students, artists and sexual assault experts to learn about sexual violence. Through movement, mask creation and soap stone carvings, participants will create short films about their creations. (Female Eye, Woodbridge)
  • Dispelling Darkness based in Mississauga will pair artists and survivors in South Asian communities. Participants will engage in meaningful dance and dialogue about how to eliminate sexual violence and harassment in homes, workplaces and their community. (Sampradaya Dance Creations, Mississauga)
  • Consent to Enter is a Toronto-based interactive installation project that explores the meaning of consent. It will invite a public audience to enter a phone-camera-confession installation booth and respond to realities, myths and tensions surrounding consent. (Sistering, Toronto)
Administered by the Ontario Arts Council, the Creative Engagement Fund is part of It's Never Okay Ontario's Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment. This plan is helping change attitudes, improve supports for survivors and make workplaces and campuses safer and more responsive to complaints about sexual violence and harassment.

Quick Facts

  • Through the Creative Engagement Fund, the Ontario government is supporting a total of 20 projects across the province with a total investment $2.25 million over three years.
  • Women are 11 times more likely than men to be victims of sexual offences. 
  • May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month, an opportunity to raise awareness about sexual assault — often a form of gender-based violence — and our collective responsibility to end it.
  • Ontario is addressing gender-based violence in its many forms through its strategies to end sexual and domestic violence, violence against Indigenous women and human trafficking. 
  • 15 per cent of the Creative Engagement Fund supports projects that are led by Indigenous peoples for Indigenous communities. 


“Attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate sexual violence are unfortunately engrained in our culture, but we know art can be a powerful catalyst for social change. Recipient projects are engaging audiences and inspiring public dialogue about rape culture, consent and gender equality, to prevent sexual violence.”
Indira Naidoo-Harris
Minister of the Status of Women

“I am proud that our government is supporting these new artistic projects through the Creative Engagement Fund to challenge cultural norms and attitudes around sexual violence. Art can be a powerful tool to stimulate discussion, offer new perspectives and help society take action to achieve a better and healthier future.”
Eleanor McMahon
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

“We are beginning to see the powerful work being created by the first round of Creative Engagement Fund recipients. With this second group of recipients announced today, even more Ontarians will have the opportunity to benefit from the transformative power of the arts. Our thanks to the Government of Ontario for its leadership on this initiative.”
Rita Davies
Chair, Ontario Arts Council