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SWANS host the final stop in Sexual Assault: The Roadshow

Interactive art exhibit held on the International Day to End Violence Against Women

Sexual Assault: The Roadshow, made its final stop in Sudbury on Sunday after a tour of 21 violence against women organizations across Ontario.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the International Day to End Violence Against Women, Sudburians were invited to interact with the dynamic art installation. 

The roadshow's final stop was hosted by Sex Workers Advisory Network of Sudbury (SWANS), a local non-profit organization that provides support services to women associated with the sex industry.

Tracy Gregory, executive director of SWANS, said Sexual Assault: The Roadshow was proposed by project director Jane Doe, after winning a 10-year lawsuit as a victim of sexual violence. 

Jane Doe, as she is referred to due to a court publication ban, experienced sexual violence in her apartment 30 years ago at the hands of a serial rapist.

"It came out over having a lawyer and suing the police, that the police knew there was a serial rapist that was attacking women within the community and they didn't tell community members, women particularly," said Gregory.

Gregory said police chose not to communicate the information out of fear women would become "hysterical" or that the suspect would flee. 

"So basically, they were baiting women to try and catch this guy, so Jane Doe sued and won," said Gregory.

Doe introduced Sexual Assault: The Roadshow in 2016, to give individuals the opportunity to speak back to sexual violence as so many find it difficult to discuss the issue.

What makes Doe's work as a sexual rights activist so unique to Gregory, is her inclusion of sex workers in the discussion of sexual violence against women. 

"A lot of times, sexual rights activists will speak to marginalized women and victims of human trafficking, but they don't speak to the rights of sex workers in terms of our right to consent and our right to work," said Gregory. 

"There's good women and there's bad women, and we fall into the category of bad women - you made you're own bed, this is what you get."

SWANS's roadshow art installation is titled 'I deserve' and features the art of sex workers depicting the rights, surrounded by the art of allies communicating their support.

Cait Mitchell, the facilitator and media artist for Project ArmHer of SWANS, said that what's so powerful about this installation is that voices generally existing on the margins have been moved to the center. 

More information on Sexual Assault: The Roadshow can be found at

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Keira Ferguson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Keira Ferguson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

A graduate of both Laurentian University and Cambrian College, Keira Ferguson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter, funded by the Government of Canada, at
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