#DTL16Days Partner Learning Series: Webinar Series Recap 

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We all have a role in making sure schools are welcoming, diverse and happy places where everyone in a school community can learn, connect and build healthy, active lives free from violence. However, many people in Canada and around the world continue to face violence every day because of their gender, gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual global campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. This past year, Ophea, in partnership with the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis CentresEgaleDraw The Line, and Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes collaborated in the Draw The Line Partner Series to provide various professional learning opportunities for educators to gain confidence and capacity in building safe and positive spaces in their school communities. This collaboration helped increase the awareness and understanding of key topics including sexual violence, harassment, consent, healthy relationships, and systems of power that enable violence and discrimination in our school communities.

These webinars were funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, Office of Women’s Issues.

Introduction to Consent and Bystander Intervention for Educators

Partners: Ophea & the Ontario Coalition for Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC)

Thursday, November 25th, 2021

We would like to thank the Ontario Coalition for Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) for their partnership on this webinar, as well as our co-presenters:

  • Hillary Di Menna is the Campaign Coordinator for Draw the Line. She has a background in feminist writing and advocacy work against gender-based violence. 
  • Andrea Haefele is a Health and Physical Education teacher in the York Region District School Board and currently seconded as a curriculum consultant with Ophea.

Access the full webinar on our YouTube channel.

It is important to provide planning and teaching considerations to support initiating and continuing conversations in a safer and more supportive environment for all our learners in our school communities. In the Health & Physical Education curriculum, the learning of consent aligns with the Social-Emotional Learning Skills and Healthy Living strand in grades 1-8, and the Living Skills and Healthy Living Strand in grades 9-12. This curriculum provides opportunities for learning about what consent looks like at different stages and ages of life, learning about setting personal boundaries, and respecting the boundaries of others. Engaging our students in a healthy dialogue about consent and sexual violence prevention education will teach them how to properly communicate with others in order to build and sustain healthy relationships, and to also learn how to communicate their needs effectively.

In the webinar, Hillary spoke about sexual violence and how it is a product of systems we live within, that operate with oppressive ideas around power and control. Through guided conversation using the Gender-Based Violence Prevention Education Resources based on the Draw-The-Line campaign, participants had the opportunity to increase their knowledge and understanding of what sexual violence is, and learn about how to have conversations about the skills needed to prevent and/or intervene in situations involving consent, rape culture, and victim blaming.

Educators have a shared responsibility to support students in the development and fostering of skills necessary to respond appropriately to situations that threaten their personal safety and well-being. The Health and Physical Education curricula supports learning self-advocacy skills, conflict resolution skills, decision-making skills, as well as the ability to use assertiveness, resistance, and refusal techniques. This webinar provided a platform to talk about how we can build safe and positive spaces in our classrooms and schools to support students in the learning, recognizing and responding to sexual violence as active bystanders.

Comprendre et intervenir: Lutter contre les agressions sexuelles dans les écoles (Understanding and Intervening: Sexual Violence Prevention in Schools)

Partner: Ophea & Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF)

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

We would like to thank Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF) for their partnership on this webinar, as well as our co-presenters:

  • Maïra Martin is executive director of Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF) since 2015. She works to raise awareness about the extent and the reality regarding violence against women and advocates for French-speaking women who are victims of violence to have access to quality French language services. 
  • Karen Trotter is the consultant for Student Health and Well-Being for the Conseil scolaire catholique Providence in southwestern Ontario. She has been teaching for 24 years, 18 of which have been dedicated to the delivery of the Health and Physical Education curriculum from junior kindergarten to grade 12.

Access the full webinar on our YouTube channel (video available in French only).

In this webinar, Maïra introduced the topic of sexual violence and its prevention, specifically from the perspective of the school community context. The webinar began with an overview of consent, sexual violence, and the different types of sexual violence that exist. Participants had the opportunity to increase their knowledge about types of sexual violence that students and youth may encounter more often, such as sexting, cyberviolence, sexual exploitation, sexual violence involving drugs and alcohol, and sexual violence in an intimate relationship.

Karen offered the educator lens and framed the conversation about consent in the context of the school environment and walked through the importance of a consent-based approach in teaching. The concept of “Duty to Report” was introduced, examined, and discussed. Participants were guided through different teaching strategies for creating safer spaces to teach and learn about sexual violence prevention and various resources to teach sexual violence prevention, including Ophea’s Gender-Based Violence Prevention Education Resources based on the Draw-The-Line campaign, which were shared and explained.

This webinar provided Francophone educators a base knowledge of sexual violence prevention in the context of the school environment and highlighted the importance of teaching it in their classrooms. The purpose of the webinar was to connect educators with information, resources, and other educators’ perspectives, and to provide a safe and positive space to learn how we can support our students in preventing sexual violence in our school communities.

Creating a Culture of Consent in School Communities

Partners: Ophea, Egale, and the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC)

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

We would like to thank Egale and the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres for their partnership on this webinar, as well as our co-presenters:

  • Jordan Applebaum is a proud queer trans Vice Principal with Toronto District School Board. He delivers workshops with Presenters on The Road through Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario on how to support trans, nonbinary, gendervariant, Two Spirit, LGPTQIA and racialized students, staff, and community members.
  • Aneka Porter is a Child and Youth Worker in a multiple of settings including hospitals, group homes and schools supporting children and youth with mental and behavioural issues.
  • Tai Young is a 17 year old aspiring wheelchair racer, and artist, who has been advocating for disability representation in the media.
  • Andrea Haefele is a Health and Physical Education teacher in the York Region District School Board and currently seconded as a curriculum consultant with Ophea.

Access the full webinar on our YouTube channel.

As educators and members of a school community, it is our responsibility to ensure that staff, students, and community partners have the skills necessary to build healthy relationships while establishing positive patterns of communication and developing skills to support cooperative relationships based on respect. The Health and Physical Education curriculum fosters learning about consent, as it can be used to focus on developing skills to identify, prevent, and resolve issues such as bullying, peer assault, child abuse, harassment and violence in relationships. The curriculum expectations also support students with developing comprehension and competency on the transferable skills that will help them identify with, and value their own learning. One of the fundamental principles in the Health and Physical Education curriculum is that the “learning is balanced, integrated and connected to real life.”[1] In the webinar, our guest panelists spoke about their valuable roles in the school community and the importance of creating a culture of consent across the school day.

As an administrator, Jordan believes in the value of modelling consent with the school staff and students in his community. He shares the importance of healthy relationships, and modelling consent through interacting positively and meaningfully with each other. For example, giving the opportunity for students to take a break when they are talking about a topic that may be triggering, or creating a safe space that allows staff and students to use their preferred pronouns. Jordan shares that practicing these empathetic skills help us all understand and appreciate another person’s perspective, and is part of respecting the diversity in our schools.

Aneka identified that there are many opportunities to help students with conflict resolution skills outside of the classroom in her role as a Child and Youth Worker. She shares an example, where at recess time one student became upset that another student told a group of people something private about them. In this particular experience, Aneka took the opportunity to discuss the impact of the different actions each of the students took, and used it as a teachable moment to build the learning on interpersonal skills. This led to a conversation about healthy relationships, boundaries, and understanding the connections between our thoughts, feelings and actions.

As a student in high school, Tai shares the value of being in a physically and emotionally safe environment when it comes to building a culture of consent. “When people are uncomfortable, it is not a safe environment. It can affect how students feel at school.” Tai shares how educators have the role and responsibility to build a safe space where students can explore, succeed, and make mistakes. He discusses how treating students with respect and being sensitive to individual differences is part of building an inclusive learning environment. Tai reminds educators that knowing and understanding consent yourself as an educator is valuable as this contributes to creating an environment that fosters healthy conversations with students around this topic.

Additional Information, Resources, Programs, and Services

  • Draw the Line Website: Draw The Line is an interactive campaign that aims to engage Ontarians in a dialogue about sexual violence. The campaign challenges common myths about sexual violence and equips bystanders with information on how to intervene safely and effectively.
  • Draw the Line Resources: You will find a collection of posters, postcards, and videos hub in this resource hub.
  • Publications Ontario: Here you will be able to order hardcopy Draw the Line resources for free.
  • Establishing a Safe Space Activity: The Four Pillars: includes background information and guided steps to create safe discussion spaces for classroom environments.

Ophea Resources

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) Resources

Egale Resources

Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF) Resources (in French only)

  • Mises en situation : Ces mises en situation ont été créées en partenariat avec l’OCRCC, Egale, et White Ribbon. Toutes ces mises en situation existent en format carte postale et affiche.
  • Outils : Traçons-les-limites a mis sur pied de nombreux outils numériques gratuits à l’intention de jeunes, de parents et du personnel éducatif. Ils abordent la sexualité saine, le consentement, l’agression à caractère sexuel, et plus!
  • Le consentement : Qu’est-ce que le consentement? Cliquez pour en savoir plus. 

Thank you to our friends at the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, Egale, Draw The Line, and Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes for collaborating with Ophea in the Draw The Line Partner Series.

Let’s keep the conversation going! Share with us how you’re using Ophea’s Sexual Violence Prevention Education Resources as conversation starters in your class and school by tagging @OpheaCanada on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. To stay up-to-date on Ophea professional learning offerings, resources, and supports sign up for Ophea’s e-newsletter eConnection.


[1] Ontario Ministry of Education. (2019). The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education (pg. 10). Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/2019-health-physical-education-grades-1to8.pdf