SAAM 2022: Cultivating a Community of Care

We recognize that preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors is a shared responsibility among all post-secondary community members. The goal of SAAM 2022 is to create an inclusive and equitable community in which individuals aim to support and care for one another, and strive towards a shared sense of accountability. We recognize that each person’s experience is unique, and each survivor’s needs and hopes are different.

Our goal is to create a community of care in which:

  • people who have experienced sexual violence feel supported and respected in their unique journeys;
  • people are empowered to identify and challenge assumptions, comments, and behaviours–both in themselves and others–that normalize sexual violence;
  • people have the skills to offer compassionate support to those who have experienced sexual violence;
  • people hold themselves accountable and help one another be accountable when they have caused harm.

It requires vulnerability, courage and commitment to challenge and change entrenched attitudes, assumptions, and systems. SAAM 2022 is an invitation to SFU and FIC students, faculty, and staff to cultivate a culture of mutual respect and care, which extends out into our wider communities.

A Reflection on Community Care

Many community care and restorative justice practices are rooted in Indigenous practices. To honour this, we sought guidance from Senaqwila Wyss and Heather Lamoureux of the Vines Art Festival. A member of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh nation, Senaqwila helped us understand that for her community, restorative circle values include:

  • a commitment to supporting each other: maintaining connection and engagement with those in the circle, trusting in the wisdom of those present, listening and receiving
  • sharing with good intentions of the heart: leaving behind anything heavy that is not needed in the circle, sharing with humility and compassion
  • a responsibility to the collective circle: being present and holding space for what emerges from the circle, holding one another accountable for the purpose of restoration and healing

State and institutional violence are actively suppressing these practices, after generations of avoiding accountability for harm. This leaves little space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to actively practice community care.

Indigenous knowledge is reflective of the land as all humans are a part of the earth’s ecosystem. We are witnessing the violence on the land reflected in the violence that our bodies are facing, frequently taking the form of abuse and sexual violence. When working towards a practice of community care, the land is a part of our community and therefore caring for it is our communal obligation. If we collectively commit to the practice of community care, we can begin to heal our bodies and the land from ongoing extraction and violence.

We also acknowledge that there are many other forms of community care that originated and continue to be practiced in the BIPOC and disability communities.  

How to Participate in SAAM 2022

SAAM Events Calendar

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What is SAAM?

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is a month-long series of engagement opportunities hosted by the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO) in collaboration with SFU and FIC partners every January. The purpose of SAAM is to raise awareness about sexual violence and to empower SFU and FIC students, faculty, and staff to engage with this complex topic in meaningful ways.

SAAM is informed by four guiding principles. SAAM is:

  • Trauma-informed
  • Inclusive
  • Intersectional
  • Action-oriented

In Acknowledgement

We would like to recognize and thank the members of the SAAM 2022 Advisory Committee, who contributed their time, energy, and commitment: Alesha Garcha, Alyssa Quan, Alyssa Victorino, Amanat Sandhu, Amrit Tiwana, Awna Besan (Career Advisor, Undergraduate Careers, Beedie School of Business), Jacinda Wijaya, Junelle Knihniski (Health Sciences, Public Health & Data), Kelly Dohei, Marie Haddad (SFSS, VP Equity and Sustainability), Dr. Mary-Catherine Kropinski (Associate Dean, EDI, Faculty of Science), Megan Bobetsis (GSWS graduate student), Mohammad Amin Sharifi, Nadina Dodd (she/her, FIC Wellness Office), Sam Simon (he/him, Math PhD student), Sam Robertson, Victoria Belway.