Changing Attitudes About Sexual Violence in Toronto

Ontario Funds New Artistic Projects to Help Prevent Sexual Assault

May 19, 2017 10:00 A.M.

Ministry of the Status of Women

Ontario is supporting four new artistic projects in Toronto through the Creative Engagement Fund to help change social norms and attitudes that perpetuate sexual violence.

The Creative Engagement Fund supports partnerships between arts organizations, artists and sexual violence prevention advocates as they create projects that inspire dialogue on consent, rape culture and gender equality to help raise awareness, prevent sexual violence and harassment, and promote healing.

In Toronto, the following projects will receive funding:

    • “Speak On It,” is an educational spoken word project for street-involved young women and transgender youth. Participants will work with poets and advocates against sexual violence to create productions that inspire dialogue to challenge rape culture and promote consent.
    • “Weave and Mend,” will engage young homeless Indigenous women and women of colour to build public art installations. The installations, which comprise sculptural furniture, weaving wood, images and plants, will become safe public spaces for dialogue on gender-based violence.
    • The “Droits d’abord” project will develop three short films for students aged 12 to 15. The project will encourage social change and sexual violence prevention in Franco-Ontarian communities.
    • “Consent to Enter” will explore the meaning of consent and will invite public audiences to enter a phone-camera-confession installation booth and respond to realities, myths and tensions surrounding consent.

Other projects include performance, videos, spoken word, multi-media installations and Indigenous art, with many projects touring the province to engage as many communities as possible.

Administered by the Ontario Arts Council, the Creative Engagement Fund is part of It’s Never Okay – Ontario’s Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment. This plan is helping change attitudes, improve supports for survivors and make workplaces and campuses safer and more responsive to complaints about sexual violence and harassment.

Quick Facts

  • Through the Creative Engagement Fund, the Ontario government is supporting a total of 20 projects across the province with a total investment $2.25 million over three years.
  • Women are 11 times more likely than men to be victims of sexual offences.
  • May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month, an opportunity to raise awareness about sexual assault — often a form of gender-based violence — and our collective responsibility to end it.
  • Ontario is addressing gender-based violence in its many forms through its strategies to end sexual and domestic violence, violence against Indigenous women and human trafficking.
  • 15 per cent of the Creative Engagement Fund supports projects that are led by Indigenous peoples for Indigenous communities.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate sexual violence are unfortunately engrained in our culture, but we know art can be a powerful catalyst for social change. Recipient projects are engaging audiences and inspiring public dialogue about rape culture, consent and gender equality, to prevent sexual violence.”

Indira Naidoo-Harris
Minister of the Status of Women

“I am proud that our government is supporting these new artistic projects through the Creative Engagement Fund to challenge cultural norms and attitudes around sexual violence. Art can be a powerful tool to stimulate discussion, offer new perspectives and help society take action to achieve a better and healthier future.”

Eleanor McMahon
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

“We are beginning to see the powerful work being created by the first round of Creative Engagement Fund recipients. With this second group of recipients announced today, even more Ontarians will have the opportunity to benefit from the transformative power of the arts. Our thanks to the Government of Ontario for its leadership on this initiative.”

Rita Davies
Chair, Ontario Arts Council

Media Contacts

Deborah Lamb
Minister’s Office

Denelle Balfour
Communications Branch


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