2024 Virtual Forum


This two-day Virtual Forum took place on February 6, 2024 and February 7, 2024 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Eastern Time.

This Learning Network Virtual Forum recognizes and honours intersectional survivor expertise and leadership in the gender-based violence (GBV) movement and sector.

We brought together service providers, organizational leaders, and community advocates to reflect on what it means to be survivor-led in practice and share ways to equitably support GBV survivor leadership and advocacy by and for those most impacted by violence.

By attending the Forum, participants learnt about ways to support survivor-led opportunities and collaboration that affirm intersectional principles of safety and healing. Leading examples of survivor-led initiatives across Canada were also highlighted.

Forum Program


Click here for the forum program

Forum Recordings

The Colour of Violence: Race, Gender and Anti-Violence Services

Presenter: Angela Marie MacDougall

This presentation retraces the historical and ongoing importance of intersectional feminist survivor-centered work. In addition, it draws from Battered Women’s Support Service’s (BWSS) Colour of Violence: Race, Gender and Anti-Violence Services report that places racialized survivors at the center of anti-violence work and offers concrete anti-racist and intersectional best practices in developing anti-violence interventions. In particular, this presentation raises awareness on the experiences of Indigenous, Black, newcomer immigrant/refugee and racialized survivors with GBV services and what this reveal for those in our sector developing and doing GBV work.   


For this presentation, slides will not be shared because it is essential that the content of the slides not become estranged from the critical context provided by the presenter's narrative.


Reclaiming Power and Place – The Path Forward

Presenter: Hilda Anderson-Pyrz

The National Family and Survivors Circle Inc (NFSC Inc) is an independent, non-profit organization comprised of impacted family members of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and/or survivors of gender-based violence from across Canada which advocates that all governments, agencies, institutions, organizations, and all Canadians have a responsibility in ending the genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, including the implementation of the 231 Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry on MMIWG Final Report, center families of MMIWG2S+ and survivors of gender-based violence. 

Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, Chair/President, NFSC Inc, presents on the need to center the lived experience and expertise of families of MMIWG2S+, survivors of gender-based violence, and Indigenous women, girls, and 2SGBTQQIA+ people, as self-determined Rights Holders in collaborative action to implement the 231 Calls for Justice and to end the genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. This includes how to be a champion for transformative change envisioned in the 231 Calls for Justice as frontline workers, organization and community leaders, allies, and as Canadians, through influencing policy, legislation, research, and funding. We are all part of the solution to ending gender-based violence and creating a transformed Canada where Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are safe, protected, and empowered as matriarchs and Indigenous and Human Rights holders as Original Peoples of this land. 


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Reimagining and Supporting Intersectional Survivorship in GBV Work

Panelists: Esther Fagbola, Jess Fisher, and Kendra J. McLaughlin

In this roundtable discussion, we invite speakers to reflect on what it means to ground survivor-led organizing and leadership opportunities in ways that reflect survivor’s experiences, what they need to heal, and how they imagine their relationship to the work of eradicating GBV. Speakers also discuss the approaches and practices that allow them to lead and engage with survivors in ways that reflect an intentional understanding and integration of intersectionality in an effort to build inclusive and meaningful survivor-led initiatives. 


SurvivorsatthecentrE: Moving from Old Ways of 'Doing' Social Justice Work to New Ways of 'Being' in Community with Survivors

Presenter: Nneka MacGregor

Survivors of gender-based violence have talked about the many ways in which the sector has helped them move along on their healing journey. For many, such positive experiences have propelled them into finding positions in the sector in some capacity, whether as a volunteer in a shelter or a frontline worker, to give back. However, for other survivors, their experiences engaging the sector, whether as service recipient, or as colleague, was not always positive, but fraught with tensions around their identity. These tensions play out in a number of ways, including by creating a divide within the sector, separating those who deem themselves ‘the professionals’, from the survivors, ignoring the fact that many of us straddle both.

The general reluctance to bring those who openly identify as survivors into the work of transforming lives and eradicating gender-based violence is a conversation not often engaged in by the GBV sector. Survivors talk about knowing the doors are closed to them. Some are told that they need to be ‘out’ or free from their past trauma for a certain arbitrary period before even volunteering, while others are actively discouraged from disclosing their experiences of violence. These gatekeeping ‘old ways of doing’ social justice work accounts for the high levels of lateral violence within the GBV sector, as some folks replicate the patriarchal power and control-over dynamics that is at the heart of gendered violence. The session unpacks some of these ‘old ways of doing’ and discusses ‘new ways of being’ in the social justice movement, by centering survivors as the experts, not just of their own lives, but of solutions-focused, innovative, practical, and impactful prevention and accountability programs and processes that lead to personal and community-wide healing and safety. 


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Pathways to Thrive: A Community Response to Healing from Gender-Based Violence

Presenter: Pam Atkinson

Survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) can often feel alone and isolated for a number of reasons, particularly when they come across barriers in accessing intersectional supports and services for healing. In this presentation, we talk about a community response to healing from GBV that aims to empower and educate 'Community Champions' to be able to create safe(r) and intentional spaces for survivors so they can help each other navigate justice/health/government/therapeutic systems & services, advocate for themselves and each other, and heal together.

A community response requires diverse "community champions" that act as a catalyst to connect survivors of GBV who share similar lived experiences, identities, or cultural backgrounds and who can empathize with the emotional journey the survivor is on.  Community champions engage survivors to come together, but also build relationships with service providers, create a safe space for vulnerability and open communication, facilitate activities and plan events with survivors' feedback and input, participate in training and education that allows them to work in trauma-informed ways, and ultimately, work with survivors to take on leadership roles amongst their peers.  

Interested in implementing a community response to GBV? This presentation discusses a valuable framework used in the Pathways to Thrive project and the steps that go into creating a robust, sustainable community response to healing from GBV.


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We Lived to Tell: Performance Workshops for Non-Status, Refugee and Immigrant (NSRI) Women & Gender Diverse Peoples

Presenters: Berivan Kutlay Sarikaya and Doris Rajan

This session shares information on OCASI's Initiative to End Gender-Based Violence, which used performance art to explore and nurture the creative expression of NSRI women and gender diverse people. The workshops series was implemented for 12 weeks, culminating with the development of a play entitled The Warriors inspired by the experiences and key issues participants wanted to share. A performance of The Warriors took place at OCASI’s annual GBV conference in November 2023.


For this presentation, slides will not be shared because it is essential that the content of the slides not become estranged from the critical context provided by the presenter's narrative.


Project iRISE: A Strength-Based Model for Survivor Leadership and Empowerment

Presenter: Rhonelle Bruder

This presentation will provide an in-depth overview of Project iRISE's Survivor Leadership program and current survivor engagement within the anti-trafficking movement. It will shed light on the benefits and challenges confronted by the survivor-led team and lessons learned. The discussion will also include program evaluation findings, earlier successes, the ultimate impact on the community, and key considerations for future survivor-led initiatives.


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Grounding Movement Workshop

Facilitator: Jazz Kamal

We are excited to offer an optional Movement Workshop, following the forum presentations, focused on grounding, restoration, and self-centering through playful movement, tapping exercises, and breath and energy work.


Click here for jazz's instagram