OUR HISTORY

Women who were looking for services and working for societal change founded the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre & Sexual Assault Services Association in 1983. Our organization remains woman-positive, appreciating the multi-issued and complex lives of women, girls, Two-Spirit, trans and non-binary people, whose diverse experiences provide lessons in resilience and in resistance.

A Timeline of AWCSAS Highlights

...the 1980s

1985 – 1986

Helped organize the Rural Women Together Conference at St. Francis Xavier

1986 – 1987

Organized the first annual Coady International Institute’s Women’s Picnic

1987 – 1988

Collaborated with the Naomi Society to establish the Antigonish and Area Interagency Committee on Family Violence

1989 – 1990

Organized Antigonish’s first Take Back the Night March

...the 1990s

1990 – 1991

Established the Adolescent Health Project. Produced A Community-Based Needs Assessment on Adolescent Health in Antigonish

1990 – 1991

Created the Single Moms’ Support Group

1991 – 1992

Completed community-based research on Affordable Housing. Produced No Place for Home

1991 – 1992

Offered the Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Therapy Group

1991 – 1992

Provided community workshops on developing workplace sexual harassment policies

1992 – 1993

Organized and co-sponsored Poverty Awareness Day

1992 – 1993

Organized the Society for Affordable Community Housing in Antigonish

1993 – 1994

Provided numerous presentations on sexualized violence

1994 – 1995

Initiated the Women and Community Economic Development Project

1994 – 1995

Completed community-based research on sexual violence response through the two-year Sexual Assault Project. Produced Beginning with Us: A Community Response to Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse in Antigonish and Working together to Address Sexual Violence in Antigonish: A Community Model

1994 – 1995

Established the Antigonish Sexual Assault Crisis Line

1995 – 1996

Established the People Assessing Their Health Project, which worked with the communities of St. Anns, Whitney Pier, and Guysborough County to create community health impact assessment tools

1995 – 1996

Co-organized the Groundwork: Women in Community Development Conference 

1996 – 1997

Brought community together to establish a Youth Centre following the Adolescent Health Project

1996 – 1997

Produced Cooking Over Time: A Collection of Recipes and Stories of Women from Antigonish Town and County

1997 – 1998

Sponsored the Naming Our Reality: Women and Economic Change Project

1997 – 1998

Developed the Teens Take Action Program, which worked with senior high school students to deliver a dating violence awareness workshop to grade 9 students

1997 – 1998

Offered the Income Tax Preparation Program for low-income women and their families

1998 – 1999

Produced A Community Response to Women’s Poverty Report

1998 – 1999

Established two groups for young women: Exploring Our Lives and Young Women: Lives on the Line

1999 – 2000

Offered two programs for women’s employment: Re-Entry Readiness Program for African Canadian Women on Social Assistance and Enhancing Women’s Employability: Re-Entry Program for Women on Social Assistance

1999 – 2000

Participated as a research site in the Links Project, a national project coordinated by the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres

...the 2000s

2000 – 2001

Initiated the When Bullying Becomes Sexual Harassment Project, a peer sexual harassment awareness project. Produced resources for educators

2000 – 2001

Established the Youth Social Justice Group

2000 – 2001

Developed and offered the On the Road to Employment Program, a workplace re-entry program for women

 

group of women marching on street in Antigonish carrying placards in support of women's rights

2000 – 2001

Helped organize and participated in weekly World March of Women 2000 Events from International Women’s Day (March 8) to the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17)

2001 – 2002

Partnered with the Pictou County Women’s Centre and Every Women’s Centre on the Social Assistance Reform in Nova Scotia: Is It Working for Women? Project

2001 – 2002

Established the Rural Youth Healthy Relationships Education Project, which provided a 12-session healthy relationships program for students in grades 7, 8, 9, and 11. The program was the foundation for our Healthy Relationships for Youth Program

2001 – 2002

Created the Inspire Program for grade 8 girls

2001 – 2002

Offered Antigonish’s first Women’s Free Store

2002 – 2003

Initiated the Ways and Means: Antigonish Women Seek Strategies to Address Affordable Housing Need Project

2002 – 2003

Completed the Assessing Youth Homelessness in Antigonish, a participatory action research project

2003 – 2004

Partnered with the Pictou County Women’s Centre and Every Women’s Centre on the Follow-up to Social Assistance Reform: Making It Work for Women! Project

2004 – 2005

Partnered with the Pictou County Women’s Centre and Every Women’s Centre on the Social Assistance Reform in Nova Scotia: Moving Forward a Woman Positive Public Policy Agenda Project. Produced two reports Struggling to Survive and Survival Strategies drawn from policy reform recommendations from women on employment support and income assistance in Nova Scotia

2005 – 2006

Established a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program

2005 – 2006

Led the creation of the Antigonish Sexual Assault Response Team

2005 – 2006

Partnered with the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority and a local physician to open the Lindsay’s Women’s Health Centre

2005 – 2006

Partnered with St. Francis Xavier University’s Human Rights and Equity Office on the LGBT Community Safety Initiative, which worked with university and community organizations to hold Positive Space, and allyship training

2005 – 2006

Began the Overcoming Resistance Project, a women’s support project

2006 – 2007

Established rural outreach services through the Justice Matters for Women: Rural Outreach in Guysborough and Antigonish Counties Program

2006 – 2007

Established the Healthy Relationships for Youth Program, a 12-session, skills-based, youth facilitated, violence prevention program for grade 9 students

2006 – 2007

Held the Feminist Activism in Conservative Times Conference

2007 – 2008

Completed the Face to Face: Building Intersectoral Collaboration to Improve Policy Responses to Single Mothers’ Education and Training Needs Project

2007 – 2008

Brought community together under the Housing Initiative for Youth in Antigonish Project to look for supportive youth housing

2008 – 2009

Partnered with the Pictou County Women’s Centre and Every Woman’s Centre on the Violence against Women and Girls: A Rural Response Project 

2008 – 2009

Partnered with St. Francis Xavier University and the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women to organize the Hypersexualization of Girls and Women: Deepening Our Analysis and Understanding Conference

2008 – 2009

Hosted the Heat Poverty Awareness Event for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17). Brought community together to create the Antigonish Emergency Fuel Fund

2009 – 2010

Organized the Girl Talk: Responding to Violence against Women and Girls Provincial Forum

...the 2010s

2010 – 2011

Collaborated with the Sisters of St. Martha’s Social Justice Committee to create the Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition

2011 – 2012

Implemented the two-year Resisting Violence: Rural Women and Girls Take Action Project

2011 – 2012

Organized the Making the Connection: Hypersexualization and Violence against Women and Girls Workshop

2011 – 2012

Developed the Healthy Transitions Resource on sexual violence prevention and healthy relationships for grade 11 and 12 students transitioning out of high school

2011 – 2012

Started the Money Matters: a Financial Literacy Program. Produced easy-to-use financial information resources

2011 – 2012

Worked with the Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition to develop a five-year Action Plan for Poverty Reduction in Antigonish

2011 – 2012

Acted as a home and sponsoring organization for the Antigonish Affordable Housing Initiative

2012 – 2013

Produced the My Community Wants to End Violence against Women Video under the Resisting Violence Project

2012 – 2013

Partnered with St. Francis Xavier University on the two-year project, Engaging Young People to Prevent Violence against Women. Student teams conducted campus safety audits, focus groups, and a campus wide survey on gender-based violence and sexual violence producing recommendation reports

2013 – 2014

Collaborated with the Antigonish Community Transit Society to conduct a feasibility study, create a business plan, and pilot a project to address community transportation needs

2013 – 2014

Organized programming for International Women’s Day and Week that would be repeated in following years, with a keynote, march, breakfast, and a feminist show

2013 – 2014

Expanded the Healthy Relationships for Youth Program from the 10 schools in the Strait Regional School Board to 10 additional schools across the province

2013 – 2014

Partnered with Students Nova Scotia to introduce the province’s first bystander intervention program, Bringing in the Bystander, to train campus and community members, under the Engaging Young People to Prevent Violence against Women Project

2013 – 2014

Initiated the Feminist Therapy Program. The program was the foundation for our Specialized Sexual Violence Trauma Therapy Program

2014 – 2015

Partnered with Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation on the two-year project, Responding to and Preventing Sexual Violence, which focused on culturally relevant, revitalizing, and safe approaches to addressing sexual violence. Adult and youth community members provided recommendations in focus groups, shared skills and knowledge in educational support sessions, and participated in healing activities, such as circles and art workshops

2014 – 2015

Developed the Newcomer Support Program, providing support for newcomers and immigrant women in our region

2015 – 2016

Created the Mi’kmaw Community Engagement Toolkit on Sexual Violence, a workbook to address sexual violence for Mi’kmaq communities and community members drawn from the many learnings of the Responding to and Preventing Sexual Violence Project in Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation

2017 – 2018

Partnered with Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, St. Francis Xavier University, and the Strait Regional School Board for the three-year Advancing Women’s Equality: Partnering to Transform the Context and End Sexualized Violence Project. The cross-community collaboration informed deep and broad thinking about the issues of sexualized violence and change work in rural communities. Three forums were held for community members and stakeholders

2017 – 2018

Local women leaders Annie Chau, Nancy Forestell, and Molly Peters participated in the three-year Gender Equality Network Canada to inform the development of a National Action Plan on gender equality

2017 – 2018

Began development of the Waves of Change Program, a made-in-Nova Scotia, peer facilitated bystander intervention program for post secondary institutions

2017 – 2018

Led the No More Campaign in response to #MeToo for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which engaged local leaders to pledge actions against violence against women through social media

2017 – 2018

Executive Director Lucille Harper attended the 62nd annual Commission on the Status of Women: Empowering Rural Women and Girls (CSW62(2018)) at the United Nations

2017 – 2018

Healthy Relationships for Youth – Strait Regional School Board Coordinator Erin Wynn selected to represent Central Nova in the Daughters of the Vote Initiative

2017 – 2018

Conducted a campus wide climate survey at St. Francis Xavier University on sexualized violence under the Advancing Women’s Equality Project

2018 – 2019

Welcomed Wyanne Sandler as the incoming Executive Director and celebrated Lucille Harper’s years of social justice work as the outgoing Executive Director

2018 – 2019

Expanded the Healthy Relationships for Youth Program and translated the program to French to include schools in the Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial

2018 – 2019

Executive Director Wyanne Sandler and former Executive Director Lucille Harper were selected to the Minister’s Advisory Council on Gender-Based Violence for the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

2018 – 2019

Collaborated with the Strait Regional Centre for Education on a capacity-building consent education program for youth from grade 7 to 12 students under the Advancing Women’s Equality Project

2019 – 2020

Began the Circles of Support and Change: Transferring Successful Rural Indigenous Practices to Other Rural Contexts Project drawn from the Responding to and Preventing Sexual Violence Project in Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation

...the 2020s

2020 – 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, changed how we work to follow public health guidelines

Held the first virtual vigil for the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women (December 6)

2021 – 2022

Project Coordinator Karla Stevens elected to represent Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation as part of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association

Annual Collages

Visual overviews of events, accomplishments, and news relating to AWCSAS for each year since inception.