Rachel and Jos Update

This summer has been all about development, bringing ideas for building the sustainability of PPO to life.  As many of you know, the PPO Sexuality Awareness Program delivers awareness and sensitivity raising training to volunteers and professionals in the community.  The feedback from these sessions is very positive,  so we know we are on the right track with this program in terms of providing participants tools they can use in better supporting people in a variety of contexts and especially when it comes to questions, needs, concerns or dialogue around sexual and reproductive health.

It seems that as awareness of the broad range of sexual, identity, relational, and health realities that people live is elevating – and so is the interest in the SAP program.  We are working to help increase the capacity of a variety of service providers to be ready to receive, support and refer folks in the sexual and reproductive health sphere. Watch for our new promotional materials for Community Education, SAP, and Insight Theatre coming soon!

Planned Parenthood Volunteers were so supportive this summer, we owe all of you a tremendous thank you! The assistance in the office was very important to us; you are really a dedicated and generous bunch of people.  Not only did volunteers come out on a day-to-day basis but also supported PPO events!  It was fantastic to share the Centretown movie night with the PPOers who came out and those who volunteered as well. The movie, “The Birdcage”, was well received and about 250 people joined us even though it was a long weekend!  Volunteers collected more than $600 as well, their enthusiasm and teal t-shirts made them hard to refuse!

Last weekend, many PPO community members joined in Slutwalk Ottawa 2012.  This grass-roots demonstration brought people together from across the community including Victims Services and Draw the Line to express the importance of consent, a questioning of the meaning of the word slut, and to underscore that no matter how someone dresses, the responsibility for sexual assault is not the survivor’s.  The papers report and between 150 and 200 people walked the walk, and it was my pleasure to speak briefly at the opening and to join the walk with my family.  The key to my message was the connection to choice and self-sovereignty: we must have reproductive choice, sexual choice, identity choice, relationship choice and the choices that we make do not entitle anyone to make assumptions about who we are or what we want.  Sexual rights are human rights.

For those students starting at the University of Ottawa or Carleton University this fall, there will be some messaging from PPO thanks to our partners at OCTEVAW.  OCTEVAW and the universities decided to include Sexual Health information in their “Consent is not a grey area” campaign, as well as in safer sex kits created by U of O’s Women’s Resource Centre.  We will be around the campuses throughout the month of September – if you are on campus, look for us and say hello (and pick up some supplies!).

We are preparing for Pride this week, and hope to see many PPO faces as we walk with the Pride Parade on August 26th.  If you want to make sure you are in on the plan, check out the details here. Let’s have some fun and give away lots of condoms, spread the safer sex word!