The Braverly: Spring/ Summer 2021 Edition

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#02 SPRING 2021


B E YON D MOTH E R ’ S DAY Gender-based violence kills more pregnant women every year than any other cause.

Photo: Christa Couture (Jen Squires)

On May 9th, 2020, we will celebrate Mother’s Day, an occasion that honours mothers, mother figures, and the maternal bonds that connect them with their kin. The occasion is based upon a common understanding of womanhood, pregnancy, and filial relationships. In the spirit of embracing a broader definition of parenthood that is not rigid but rather encompasses the many diverse communities we serve, this edition of the Braverly will focus on the heightened risk of violence faced by adolescent women, trans men, sex workers, and people living with disabilities. Gender-based violence kills more pregnant women every year than any other cause. Communities that exist on the periphery of popular conceptions of motherhood face unique challenges during pregnancy, and the failure to explicitly attend to these experiences reproduces the harms that engender violence to begin with. Adolescent girls and women face an elevated risk of violence from their partners, including reproductive coercion, or forced pregnancy. A 2019 study published in the journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology determined that 1 in 8 sexually active high school girls had experienced reproductive coercion over a three-month period. Transgender men and sex workers, though two distinct communities, are similarly forced (cont’d, pg. 2) CONTINUED ON PAGE



Beyond Mother’s Day, continued.


(cont’d) to contend with misinformation, bias, and a lack of understanding from the medical establishment during pregnancy. One study found that over 50% of trans men reported that they did not seek out medical support while pregnant due to the risk of social stigma. An unrelated study determined that 50% of sex workers similarly avoided prenatal services due to discrimination experienced in healthcare settings. Women living with disabilities face up to 10 times more violence than women and girls without disabilities as a result of social exclusion, limited mobility, a lack of support structures, communication barriers, and negative social perceptions. During pregnancy the effects of these barriers are intensified. Adolescent girls and women face an elevated risk of violence from their partners, with up to 37% experiencing violence during pregnancy. They also face a particularly high risk of reproductive coercion. Studies demonstrate that roughly 25% of adolescent women and girls report experiences of reproductive coercion. The act of obstructing an intimate partner’s reproductive choice is referred to as reproductive coercion, which impedes a woman’s ability to make decisions about her own body. The intent of reproductive coercion is often to exert control and limit a partner’s ability to leave the relationship. Coerced pregnancy can also lead to financial violence for young women who become trapped in relationships as a result of economic dependence related to the pregnancy. Your donation

of $50 will enable Embrave to deliver youth-led counselling supports geared towards their unique needs, which will play a critical role in the prevention of reproductive coercion among adolescent women and girls.

There is a dearth of Canadian research data on gender-based violence experienced by transgender men during pregnancy. However, extrapolating from existing research on gender-based violence faced by trans communities, we can assume that transgender men remain at a high-risk of experiencing violence from their partners and families during pregnancy. Social stigma, rather than physical health, is the greatest barrier facing pregnant transgender men and nonbinary people. A lack of research and training around transgender healthcare, in addition to the biases of healthcare professionals, lead to the delivery of inadequate prenatal care for transgender men. Trans men experience discouragement, misinformation, maltreatment, harassment, and ultimately, poor health outcomes as a result. All parents and their infants are entitled to equal access to high quality prenatal care. Your donation of $100 will enable Embrave to continue to provide lowbarrier supports including healthcare advocacy. Stigma surrounding sex work, discrimination against sex workers, and the criminalization of various aspects of sex work make sex workers particularly vulnerable to violence during pregnancy. As individuals marginalized on the basis of their employment, sex workers face severe and wide-reaching consequences as a result of legislation criminalizing sex work. Pregnant women who are sex workers may not seek prenatal care or supports out of fear of being arrested, detained, or having their children apprehended. As a result of social stigma and exclusion, sex workers are disproportionately subjected

to surveillance and scrutiny, which leads to involvement with children’s aid societies (CASs) and police. Your donation of $100 will enable Embrave to continue to provide access to low barrier supports including advocacy for maintaining custody of children. Gender-based violence experienced by individuals living with disabilities is related to both gender and disability- based discrimination and exclusion. These two factors result in an exceptionally high risk of violence against all women, Two-Spirit, trans, and gender non-binary people living with disabilities. Pregnancy further compounds this risk, with multiple studies having revealed dispropor-

tionate prevalence of physical abuse during pregnancy among people with disabilities. Nearly half of people with disabilities giving birth each year are affected by violence, including unique forms of violence directly related to their disability status. The nature of the violence experienced by people living with disabilities necessitates a greater need for services and supports, but research has shown that they also face numerous barriers to accessing care. Your donation of $150 will enable Embrave to provide a survivor living with disabilities with accessible emergency shelter supports. (Cont’d, back page)

S POTLIG HT: “ON OU R OWN ” Special Message from Reah (They/Them), Peer Facillitator & Evaluator The On Our Own Peer Program was a special and meaningful experience for me. Our wonderful, fluid, flexible, and informal times together with our participants as well as with our peers and the management team have impacted me in significant ways. We all worked in collaboration with a mutual goal of supporting, learning with, and connecting with one another and with our participants. In many programs offered by various services, there tends to be an emphasis on the “end goal” or the “objectives” of the programs without developing trust within the process. In On Our Own, I truly believe that we co-created a safe, inclusive, and understanding space where we allowed our journey to unfold its own meanings and teachings. Our peer and advisory model were truly unique in the social services field and I felt honoured to be a part of it. Over the past two years,

through this program we have provided 111 survivors of violence with one-to-one support and group supports. The program’s 14 Peer Facilitators have been instrumental in the development, success, and evaluation of this program. Through this project we created a short film that was based on a true story about a woman who experienced criminalization and was incarcerated in Ontario. This project was inspired by the story of a participant in Embrave’s ‘On Our Own’ Peer Program for survivors of violence who were incarcerated in Ontario. The film focuses on her experiences of violence, colonialism, and racism. For more information or to view this film visit: The funding for this program is coming to an end, and we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Ontario Trillium Foundation for funding these essential supports and services.

The Braverly

SU RVIVOR STORY “It is in col­lec­tiv­i­ties that we find reser­voirs of hope and optimism.”-Angela Y. Davis

CHLOE’S STORY #survivorstory #amplifiedvoices

“I cannot put into words how immensely grateful I feel to have had access to Embrave’s support these past several months. The counsellor was not only a witness to my experiences of racism, but validated the harms that I have endured from many institutions. I am stronger. I know that racism will continue to cause me harm but I am grateful that I have someone to talk to who shares similar experiences and who is working to change these systems. To everyone at Embrave, thank you for being there for Black survivors of violence. I could count on you; I needed you, and you were there.”

Chloe attended Embrave’s weekly Out of Isolation drop-in group for survivors of sexual violence after hearing about the program through a family friend. She also took part in twelve oneon-one counselling sessions with an Anti-Black Racism Sexual Violence Counsellor/Advocate (SVCA). The SVCA supported Chloe using intersectional and anti-Black racism frameworks that consider the ways in which survivor experiences are related to the layering identities they hold. Chloe disclosed to the SVCA that she had never attended a group before and was hesitant about sharing her story with others. Despite her initial fears about sharing her story, Chloe found that it was helpful in enabling her to move from a place of isolation to one of connection. She describes group facilitators and members as kind, empathetic, and “instrumental” in helping her to navigate the toughest season of her life. Chloe is one of many clients who have received support through the Sexual Violence Program. In the period of January 1, 2021 - March 31, 2021, Embrave’s Sexual Violence Program has supported 94 survivors of violence. We are grateful for the support of Community Foundations of Canada and the Community Foundation of Mississauga for funding this critical work during the aforementioned period. This program is currently not funded and relies solely on Embrave’s fundraising revenue.


5 QU E STION S WITH A M E M B E R OF E M B R AVE ’ S FU N DR AI S ING COM M IT TE E Cindy Maingot (She/Her) gives us the inside scoop on her work with Embrave Why do you volunteer with Embrave? After working in the Aerospace industry for almost 30 years, I am now trying to reinvent myself, and what I am really interested in doing is giving back to the community by utilizing my skills and experience in a not-for-profit or charity. I started volunteering with Embrave to learn more about not-for-profit and charitable organizations, to network and strengthen both my personal and professional relationships within the community, and to learn new skills. But most importantly, I volunteer with Embrave as a way of giving back and helping to create positive change in the community. An added bonus is that I get to work with an amazing group of very dedicated people! Why is Embrave’s work/mission important to you? Embrave’s work is important to me because I think helping to give a voice to the survivors of gender-based violence and helping these survivors get back on their feet and become active and comfortable in the community is the best way to show that these folks and their children are in fact survivors and not victims.

What special skills or experiences do you bring to your role as a member of our Fundraising Committee? With a background in Finance, I hope to be able to use my organization, communication and leadership skills along with my professional experience and expertise to help with the numbers side of things! Who do you admire most in the world and why? I really admire Michelle Obama for showing us what a truly caring and compassionate leader looks like, what they can do, and how inspiring they can be. What is your favourite feminist quote? “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou Contact to learn more about volunteer opportunities including Embrave’s Fundraising Committee.





Your gift will provide a fresh start for survivors of violence and their infants (Cont’d from pg. 2) This Mother’s Day, help ensure that no one is left behind. Celebrate Mother’s Day this year by helping Embrave to provide equitable supports including safe shelter, counselling, and advocacy for high-quality prenatal care for all survivors of violence who are pregnant. Your gift will ensure that those who face unique challenges related to parenthood have the best possible start as they navigate this new stage in their lives.


Youth-led Counselling Session- $50 Your $50 gift will enable Embrave to deliver youth-led counselling supports geared towards the unique needs of adolescent women and girls.

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Healthcare & Child Custody Advocacy- $100 Your $100 gift will enable Embrave to continue to provide low- barrier supports including advocacy for healthcare and child custody.


905-403-9691 EXT. 2223

Accessible Supports- $150 Your $150 gift will enable Embrave to provide accessible emergency shelter supports to survivors living with disabilities.



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