Past Events

HeART 2015

SASSL’s 7th annual HeART event took place on March 5th 2015 in the underground restaurant. This was a night of poetry, art, music and film. The theme for this event was Creation as Resistance, and performance space was prioritized for folks from marginalized groups to share their experiences and stories through any medium that they chose. The two headlining artists were Leah Lakshmi Piepzuna-Samarashina and The Real Sun.

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Inclusion Day Conference 2015

SASSL hosted a workshop for York University’s 2015 Inclusion Day Conference. The theme for 2015 was, Past Histories & Present Stories: Findinf Meaning in Human Rights. There were 15 workshops and panels included in this conference, and SASSL’s was Educate, Create and Eliminate: An Interactive Workshop on Rape Culture. See photos below.

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Blueprints for Change, March 2014
SASSL and the Men’s Team from CHR hosted Blueprints for Change, a White Ribbon Campaign presentation on masculinity and the way it’s perceived in today’s society. This fun, informal, and interactive workshop fostered a safe space for people to share and talk about their experiences while looking at issues such as who defines masculinity and femininity, the pressure on male-gendered individuals to “act like a man”, and how experiencing violence affects masculine-identified individuals.

White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equality, healthy relationships, and a new vision of masculinity. To learn more, please visit their website.

SURVIVAL: SASSL’s 6th Annual Art Show & 18th Anniversary, March 2014
HeART is SASSL’s 6th annual art show in celebration of International Women’s Day and our 18th anniversary as a non-hierarchical, student-run collective. The 2014 theme of HeART is SURVIVAL, where we honoured and supported our communities as we continued to resist state-sanctioned structural violence in all its’ manifestations (in the form of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, transphobia, ableism, police brutality, etc.).

We prioritized the voices of indigenous women, women of colour and trans people, taking up the space which has long been denied.

SURVIVAL featured spoken word performances by:

  • • D’bi Young
  • • Lishai
  • • Afrakaren
  • • And more!

SURVIVAL featured art pieces by:

  • • Harpreet Sandhu
  • • Maria Von
  • • Emilija Cooke
  • • Aja Toste
2013/2014 Wen-Do Self Defense Courses
The past school year, SASSL held two Wen-Do Self Defense courses each semester. The first course in the fall term was a five-week course held on Wednesday evenings from October 2nd to October 30th. There was also a weekend course held on October 19th and October 20th. The winter term five-week course was held on Wednesday evenings from January 15th to February 12th. There was also a weekend course held on March 1st and March 2nd.

All Wen-Do courses are free of charge, though there may be a small deposit that is returned upon completion of the course. If taking the course, you must attend all classes or else lose the deposit. Wen-Do classes are for all who identify as women and are meant to be accessible to all ability levels. If you would like to register for the course or require more information for the upcoming school year, please email

Wen-Do Women’s Self Defense is the oldest women’s self-defence organization in Canada. SASSL has held Wen-Do courses on the York University campus for several years. Participants love the 15-hour basic course which covers a wide variety of physical and verbal self-defence techniques, awareness, and avoidance of threatening situations, as well as the discussions of psychological, social, and legal issues involved in self-defence. Classes are taught by women, for self-identified women and girls. For more information check out

What Sex Workers Know About How to End Sexual and All Violence Against All Women, January 2013
As long as sex workers aren’t safe, no woman is safe! SASSL hosted speakers from Maggie’s: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project. Maggie’s: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project is an organization run for and by local sex workers. Their mission is to assist sex workers in their efforts to live and work with safety and dignity. In this workshop, presenters addressed the current situation of sex workers (including their fight for decriminalization), outlined how the oppression of sex workers affects all women (including trans women) by contributing to rape culture, and shared how supporting justice for sex workers is a necessary part of resisting sexual and physical violence against all women.
We Listen to the Survivors, June 2012
External Outreach Coordinator, Aaliyah Khan, discussed the history and future of SASSL with Urban Times. The article can be read at the Urban Times here:
SASSL Events, 2010-2011 School Year

  • • Frosh Week: “Can I Kiss You?” with Michael Domitrz, in collaboration with the Centre For Human Rights and the colleges of York, August 2010
  • • Halloween Candy Drive, October 2010
  • • Trans Remembrance Day, November 2010: SASSL created a memorial in Vari Hall to honour trans people around the world who have lost their lives to senseless transphobic acts of violence.
  • • National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, December 2010: We continued our wildly successful pledge campaign and displayed it in Vari Hall.
  • • Valentine’s Day Candy Drive, February 2011
  • • International Women’s Week, March 2011: SASSL took it to another level! One day is simply not enough to celebrate women and all our strengths and accomplishments. We organized an entire week of empowering and exciting events at York.

o SASSL sold tons of International Women’s Day cards! All proceeds from card sales were donated to Nellie’s Women Shelter. We also collected donations of any toiletry products, feminine products, baby products, and canned food on behalf of Nellie’s Women Shelter.

o Wen-Do, the successful and always in demand free self defense class for women of all ages, sizes and abilities!

o Voices Rising, a spoken word show organized by the Centre for Human Rights.

o HeART Show:We concluded International Women’s Week with our second annual art show and raised $500+ for Nellie’s Women’s Shelter, as well as collecting more donations of toiletries and canned food. The HeART Show featured talented performers and beautiful artwork.

  • • Outreaches 2011: Bethune Residence
  • • Participation:

o Sexual Assault Initiatives Committee

o Women and Trans Campus Safety Grant Committee

o Men Talking to Men About Violence Against Women

o The Gender Violence Eradication Project at York

o SlutWalk

o Toronto Rape Crisis Centre’s 30th Annual Take Back The Night

o York Health Fair

o Yorkfest 2010

o Frosh Week

SASSL Events, 2009-2010 School Year

  • •  20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, December 2009: Honoured the women who were gunned down at the University of Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique where a 25 year-old man murdered 13 female students and one staff member, just because they were women.
  • •  National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, December 2009: In collaboration with over 70 people from SASSL, the Centre for Human Rights, and the Faculty of Fine Arts, and York students, faculty, and staff took a stand! SASSL collected almost 1000 pledges of action from students all over York University, which were displayed as part of an art installation in Vari Hall, followed by a march through the campus and libraries, and a screening of director Denis Villeneuve’s 2009 dramatic film “Polytechnique”.

o   View the December Photo Album here.

o   Read the news article here.

o   View the Facebook Event here.

  • • Speak Your heART Out! Spoken word and poetry jam, where we raised $350 for Nellie’s Women’s Shelter
  • • Collaborated on the Conference for International Women’s Day, March 2010
  • • The Bathtub Project
  • • Collected toiletries for women’s shelters with Hillel
  • • Outreach Education in:

o   Frosh kits

o   Don Training

o   Don Info Fair Tabling

o   Frosh Boss Training

o   Pond Road Info Fair

o   Glendon Clubs Day

o   Yorkfest 2009

o   OPIRG Dis/Orientation

  • • Outreach Workshops in:

o   Pond Road Residence

o   Winters Residence

o   Founders Residence

o   Workshop at Sisters of Colour Collective

o   Table at Toronto Rape Crisis Centre – Take Back the Night

o   HEYY Helpline Eastend Youth SASSL Training Workshop

o   York Healthfair

o   Glendon Clubs Day

o   HealthEd Health Fair

o   NGO Fair

o   In-class Presentation in Psychology and Law

  • • Recognized as a model and approached by other Ontario universities as a resource for student services related to sexual assault.
  • • Sat on the Sexual Assault Initiatives Committee (York SCDR) and the panel for the Campus Dialogue on Sexual Assault.
  • • International Women’s Day, March 2010: SASSL collaborated with other student groups to organize a conference focused on accessibility to education for women and girls.
  • • Wen-Do: A two-day session of women’s self-defence, empowering women of all ages, sizes, and abilities!
  • • Speak your heART out! At the Toronto Free Gallery: SASSL raised $350 for Nellie’s Women Shelter.

o Visit the Photo Album from the event here: Speak your heART out! Photo Album

o We were honoured to discover so much talent in spoken word, poetry, and music by:

• Lishai Peel – spoken word

• Maryam R. Shirazi – spoken word

• Dashua – spoken word

• Alana Polachok-Cook – spoken word

• Brescia Birdthroat Bloodbeard – spoken word

• Sabrina Friedman – singer

• Michelle Ramos – artist


SASSL Events, 2008-2009 School Year
Despite the ups and downs of the strike, SASSL continued to produce many highly successful events. From collecting toiletries for a local women’s shelter, to hosting a comedy sex-show, to mobilizing the artists among us in celebration of strength and survival, here is a highlight of SASSL’s latest accomplishments:

    • • Halloween candy drive: Exposing myths & facts about sexual assault
    • • Valentine’s Day candy drive: Promoting safer sex
    • • “Lessons From a 7 Ft. Penis” by Norman Nawrocki. The Anti-Sexist Sex Show: No Topic Left Untouched
    • • V-Day benefit film screening of “What I Want My Words to Do to You”
    • • Powerful Women’s Writing from Bedford Correctional Facility
    • • Performances by Glenn Close, Rosie Perez, and Marissa Tomei
    • • Pay-what-you-can donation to the Elizabeth Fry Society
    • • Two sessions of Wen Do: Women’s Self-Defence
    • • EnCORE collective art show at the Toronto Free Gallery: Encourage survivors, Celebrate strength, Offer support, Raise awareness, & End violence
    • • SASSL Participation

o York Day Information Fair

o Yorkfest 2008

o METRAC Safety Audit & stakeholders meetings

o The December 6th National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

o The Centre for Human Rights at York

o The Bathtub Project, collecting toiletries for a women’s shelter

o Hillel, the foundation for Jewish student life at York

o York Healthfair

o Glendon International Women’s Day

o Non-Governmental Organization fair at York

o Anti-Racist task-force tabling

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