METRAC in the News: Early 2017 Edition

Since the start of January 2017, METRAC has been busy answering requests from the media on a variety of issues related to sexual assault and services. We thought we’d take some time to share these latest news appearances in one space to catch you up on the happenings at METRAC!

On the new resource tackling cyber-sexual violence, Webbing With Wisdom

“It doesn’t matter what type of content you’re posting. Just by virtue of being a woman online, that kind of stuff just follows you,” said Farahani, who was part of a research team that listened to more than 300 young women across Toronto over two years.

The team used the insights from those women — and their experiences using social media.— to create Webbing With Wisdom.

It’s the brainchild of three youth and anti-violence agencies in Toronto: St. Stephen’s Community House, METRAC and East Metro Youth Services.

Read the full article here.

On the persistence of rape myths…

It’s a familiar feeling for all too many survivors of sexual assault, says Tamar Witelson, legal director at METRAC Action on Violence. She said many victims — largely women — will refrain from reporting or speaking about their experiences because they feel culpable, even years after the fact.

“There’s also a continuing social stigma,” she said, adding friends, colleagues and even family members may engage in victim-blaming, asking what the person may have done to contribute to being attacked.

“It is never the fault of the survivor for being attacked, regardless of how she behaved, what she said, what she was wearing,” said Witelson. “But these types of myths about sexual assault do persist.”

Read the full article here.

On police agencies reviewing sexual violence cases deemed “unfounded” across the country…

On the release of a new standalone sexual assault policy at a Canadian post-secondary institution…

“We are at a crossroads because the systems we’ve put in place to try and hold perpetrators accountable and to respond to survivors’ very real trauma have failed,” said Gabrielle Ross-Marquette, the communications co-ordinator of METRAC, a non-profit Toronto-based group that advocates for policies to prevent violence against women and children.

METRAC is developing a policy-assessment tool that can be used to analyze how well university regulations will meet survivor needs. Those elements include clear differences between disclosure and reporting, a statement of principles and definitions of assault or misconduct that have been established through wide consultations.

In fact, any university policy is only as good as the conversations that precede the final policy documents, Ms. Ross-Marquette said.

“You have to look at how it was developed in the first place to see if the policy is going to be useful and robust,” she said. “It is best practice to have your campus stakeholders engaged. That is also going to help when you roll out the policy. [Then] people feel consulted, they feel invested and they feel that their experiences were taken into account.”

Read the full article here.

You can always keep up to date with METRAC’s media appearances by visiting our News and Press section.

Are you a journalist, reporter or blogger looking for METRAC’s input on a topic? Reach out to our Communications Coordinator, Gabrielle Ross-Marquette, at

Credit: Newspaper icon by Gregor Črešnar from Noun Project