In the late 90s, the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre heard from youth about the need for a program that reflected their realities which lead to the creation of a Youth Advisory Committee. After two years of work with local youth, community partners, and experts in the field of sexual violence prevention, Project Respect was launched in 2000.
Since then, Project Respect has presented workshops in schools across the region, attended provincial and national conferences, hosted educational and awareness raising events, and supported youth-led social action projects. Those projects have included youth-led workshops, leadership camps, community art projects, blogging and social media, video production, and participatory theater.
Project Respect engages youth, ages 12-21, to create innovative social action initiatives that invite diverse audiences to explore and address the root causes of gender-based violence and build inclusive communities free from violence. These projects not only transform peer cultures and relationships, but also work to dismantle systemic violence and create alternatives based on respect and dignity.
Our philosophy includes
- Respect for this Land: In this work, we are committed to building and maintaining relationships with Indigenous peoples. This begins with first acknowledging the history and ongoing impacts of colonization.
- Sex positivity: We believe that everyone has the right to sexuality without violence and the right to decide whether, when, and with whom they’ll be sexual.
- Youth-centeredness: We believe that youth are the experts on their own experience and have ample expertise to share with their peers. We also believe that youth are the drivers of change and that open discussion and honest communication are keys to empowerment.
- Feminism: We believe that preventing sexualized violence begins with critically exploring damaging and dangerous gender expectations, stereotypes, and labels.
- Intersectionality: We believe that relationships and sexualized violence are shaped by multiple inequalities and experiences. To prevent sexualized violence, we need to explore power imbalances based on colonialism, racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and other intersecting expectations and stereotypes.