The Canadian Artists Against Sexual Assault/ Artistes Canadiens Contre L'Assaut Sexuel is an online resource with peer-reviewed resources for survivors and secondary survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. It was launched on December 22, 2006 by Bryn Ludlow; December 2016 marked the 10th anniversary.
The collective started out as a Facebook group, called, "CAASA Discussion Forum" (now closed) and over ninety members signed up within the first month. In this group, members shared stories, artwork, uplifting images, and simply said thank you for offering a safe forum to discuss and acknowledge their concerns of sexual assault and domestic violence in Canada. A major component of this group included resource sharing, so that survivors could visit the group page and find all of the necessary resources that they needed, no matter what stage they were at in their healing journeys.
From this group, a smaller group of members who were interested in developing community arts events, promoting change, and reducing stigma of sexual assault and domestic violence came together through Facebook email messaging to start to discuss ways that CAASA/ACCAS could expand to reach the arts community. We connected in-person at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape (TRCC/MWAR), which provided a safe meeting place for us to continue to discuss our ideas for expanding into the arts community.
Now, after 12 years of online advocacy and awareness-building, CAASA/ACCAS continues to operate online as a resource http://caasaaccas.igloocommunities.com that offers links to support centres in the Greater Toronto Area, and across the country. There are also resources for secondary survivors (family, friends) who are helping a survivor, but need support to manage their responses and their own emotions.
The arts have a tremendous, original power that is unique from other non-arts practices. Artists reveal experience in many ways at the same time, for example, on one painting picture plane. CAASA/ACCAS members came together, created positive change, provided a safe and creative outlet for survivors, built awareness in the community, and developed a peer-reviewed list of online resources for survivors and secondary survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in Canada-what a feat!
– Bryn Ludlow
"On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right." ― Martin Luther King Jr.
(Last updated February 20, 2018)