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Featured Article:
Women Do What They Need To Do To Survive – Part III    


Did You Know?

In the News:
    - 8 Things Trans and Intersex People Need to Know About The 2016 Canadian Census
    - Why Don’t Cops Believe Rape Victims? Brain Science Helps Explain the Problem—and Solve It. 
    - This 24-Year-Old is Creating a Civil Rights Movement for Sexual Assault Survivors

Parting Thoughts


Women Do What They Need To Do To Survive – Part III

The unspoken assumption about sexual assault that becomes spoken, particularly when the police, media, and lawyers get involved, is, “Why didn’t they fight? Why didn’t they leave?” As though relenting is the same as consent.

The idea of “fight or flight” was discovered and coined by psychologist and scientist Dr. Walter Bradford Cannon in 1915, and quickly entered the lexicon… It’s also an idea that makes intellectual sense—a dude threatens you, you either punch that dude in the face or you turn and run. Easy.

Studies now suggest that this idea of fight or flight is only one part of a stress response—stress responses are more complicated than punch or run in general, and in women in particular…

When scientists began to study stress, the participants, whether rodent or human, were nearly always male. Prior to 1997 only seventeen percent of participants in laboratory studies of physiological and neuroendocrine responses to stress were women. In 2000, a team led by Shelley R. Taylor began to compile the research on female responses to stress. They discovered that the biological response that causes the “fight or flight” response in males is more mitigated in females. When presented with a trigger, women respond with less adrenaline and testosterone, resulting in a lower fear response. They are less afraid than men when under duress. Because the fear is lowered, instead of responding with the extremes—punching, running, playing dead—scientists have determined women generally respond with a strategy all their own—befriend and tend. They calm and deescalate through social interaction and emotions, by talking and then tending to themselves or others. 

What science is telling us is that there are responses beyond fight or flight, that women tend to respond with less fear in a moment of peril, making use these other responses as their primary survival strategies.  In the world of sexual violence this has obvious and long reaching effects. We are less likely to be afraid enough to label the situation an emergency, and rather than punch some date rape-y d-bag in the throat or try to flee, we look to deescalate.

Women stop, behave submissively and then try to connect emotionally. They do what they need to do to survive. Freeze, appease, tend, befriend. [emphasis added] (…)



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Trades & Tech Gala for Girls – Woodstock (this event is in English). There will be a Trades & Tech Gala for Girls event on Monday, May 9 from 5:30-8:00pm at Woodstock High School. All high school girls from grades 9-12 are invited to come explore exciting non-traditional careers and meet fascinating women working in these fields. This event is free and a pizza dinner is provided. To register or for more info, please visit our website, email or call (506) 462-5910.

PLEIS-NB (Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick) has a new mobile device friendly website –  Check out their new booklet called Family Law Matters for Immigrants in New Brunswick

“It’s Not Right” How You Can Identify Abuse and Help Older Adults at Risk.  What You Can Do?  Neighbours, friends and family members can learn to do three things:
1.     SEE it! “It’s not right!” Recognize the warning signs of abuse.
2.     NAME it! “That looks/sounds like abuse.” Talk to the older adult.
3.     CHECK it! “Is it abuse? What can I do to help?” Ask questions, check with experts about what
        to do next, check for danger—help with safety planning.
For a PDF copy of the brochures, visit

A Day in Her Shoes – an opportunity to unite women for an evening of glitz and glamour to promote positive mental health while supporting a fundraiser for much needed resources in the greater Saint John area. Hors d’oeuvres, wine and beverages, and a silent auction accompany the season’s best fashion show, which takes place in the Market Square Atrium, May 4, 5:30 – 8:30 pm. Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick, Saint John Office is pleased to announce this year’s guest speaker is the Co-Founder and CEO of Wear Your Label - Kayley Reed. Tickets available at CMHA of New Brunswick office (15th floor of City Hall) online at Eventbrite, by calling 506-633-1705, or at Manchester Shoe Salon in Market Square.

“Emerging and Contemporary Issues in Responding to and Preventing Sexual Violence” will be of interest to a wide range of professionals, including police, crown, probation, justice, social workers, guidance counselors, youth workers. This two day conference, May 25 – 26, will be held at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel, Prince Edward Island. Registration includes lunch and breaks. There will be no charge, but pre-registration is necessary to save a seat. You can register for one or both days. To register

Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre (MMFC), UNB & the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers invite you to their launch of report entitled Rural Realities Faced by Service Providers and Women Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence when Navigating the Justice System. May 30, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. followed by the free workshop on the same theme from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Crowne Plaza, 669 Queen St, Fredericton. Please RSVP by May 27 with Kim Wade at Simultaneous translation will be available. For more information please contact: Rina Arseneault, Associate Director, MMFC at / (506) 458-7137 or Martine Paquet, Social Work Consultant, NBASW at / (506) 444-9196.

Dealing with Difficult People. Fredericton, June 9, (early rate deadline May 19)
Participants in this workshop will learn how to positively engage others in discussions about behavioural patterns such as passive aggressiveness and chronic resistance. This workshop gives participants a straightforward approach that creates change with people they find difficult. Early Rate $198;  Regular Rate $220. Unable to attend?  Join the live webinar June 13 from 1pm - 2pm Central Time

N.B. Disability Awareness Week 2016. Do you know someone who you would consider your Disability Awareness Week hero? An individual who has achieved something you consider to be inspiring and motivating? An individual who has been active in creating awareness surrounding issues related to disability? An individual who has advocated for an inclusive society in New Brunswick? The Premier’s Council on the Status of Disabled Persons wants to hear from you!  The contest begins on May 9 and runs through June 4.  For more information:

#Onestprêtes! New information kit for Inclusive Participation in Municipal Life available online here: Why are there fewer women in Municipal Politics? What are the challenges you must face? This information kit is an addition to the #Onestprêtes! (We are Ready!) training program.

Sexual Violence Prevention and Awareness Facilitation Training, June 14-16, Fredericton.  The Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre (FSAC) will be offering training on two of its toolkits: The Empowerment Project (TEP) to train facilitators to deliver self-protection and assertiveness workshops to women and girls; and Man to Man for delivering workshops to men and boys about reducing sexual assault.  Participants can be community educators, teachers, guidance counsellors, or other service providers who work youth, young adults, or adults in the area of preventing sexual violence against women and girls. Contact Jenn Richard at . $175 registration fee includes the cost of one toolkit. Please register early as this training can fill up quickly.

Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB) is pleased to offer the following family law workshops in May:
    · Caraquet – May 14, 10am-12pm – Séparation: Considérations juridiques at the Centre culturel
      de Caraquet
    · Saint John – May 18, 6:30-8:30 – Preparing for a Family Court Hearing at the Saint John Free
      Public Library
    · Fredericton – May  25, 7:00-9:00 – Doing Your Own Divorce at UNB, Ludlow Hall
    · Moncton – May 25, 6:30-8:30 – Preparing for a Family Court Hearing at the Moncton Public
To register, you must complete the on-line registration form or call the toll-free Family Law Information Line at: 1-888-236-2444. 

Support to Single Parents Programs, Moncton:
    · First S.T.E.P. $80, Tuesdays, starting May 10, 9:30am-12pm. Facilitator: Debbie Melanson-
      Hebert. This Systematic Training for Effective Parenting program is for parents of children ages
      0-5 years old. In 6-weeks you will learn to deal with issues at this stage of development and to
      better enjoy your child ($25 book optional).
    · Self Esteem. $80, Wednesdays, starting May 11, 9:30am-12pm. Facilitator: Debbie Melanson-
      Hebert. This 6-week program aims to assist you in recognizing your qualities and strengths while
      finding out who you are. Learn lots of tools that will help you enhance your present strengths and
      learn to like yourself again.
    · Parenting Teenagers. $30, Tuesdays, May 24, 31 and June 7, 6:30-8:30 pm. Facilitator:
      Charlene Savoie, B.A.,RTC. This empowering 3-part program will assist parents in learning tools
      to guide their teens to make positive choices or live with the consequences for their behaviors.
No one will be refused service if they are unable to pay. Registration begins 3 weeks before start date. Call Nathalie at 506-858-1303 ext. 3301, Email: For more information on programs:

Calling all Bookworms in Moncton area – Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Moncton is holding a Bookworm Bonanza and needs your support. Donations of softcover books (no hardcovers please) directly to the Dan Bohan Family Centre in Riverview would be appreciated. Drop off May 22, 1-5 pm; May 23, 10 am-8 pm and May 24, 10 am-8 pm.  Then bring your family of Bookworms back to buy books on May 24,1-8 pm; May 25, 10 am-8 pm and May 26, 10 am-Noon. Books for only $1, $2 and $3. Details at CFUW Moncton awards scholarships of over $10,000 to women in Greater Moncton area. Contact:   Lynn  at

Introduction to Boards for Women Workshop in Saint John – Conducted by Aldéa Landry, the workshop targets women who are interested in serving on boards and want to learn everything they should know about joining a board, and how it can help their career. Tuesday, May 31, 9 am to 12 pm, ConnectionWorks, 1 Germaine St, third floor, $30. Seating is limited, reserve now! Contact or 506-452-3918.

Current Opportunities to Serve on New Brunswick Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs):  Qualified women and men having the highest personal and professional integrity are invited to serve on New Brunswick agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs).  For more information, check out the following link:    ABC current opportunities

Voices of New Brunswick Women Consensus-Building Forum: Contact Us: Sartain MacDonald Building, 551 King Street, Suite 103, Fredericton NB E3B 1E7, T. 506.462.5179, 1-844-462-5179, F. 506.462.5069, E.,


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Text images4


In 2013, New Brunswick’s total employed
population was 50% female and 50% male.
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In the News:

8 Things Trans and Intersex People Need to Know About The 2016 Canadian Census

Vital information about that 2016 Canadian Census’ methods of binary population analysis - and what that means for non-binary trans and intersex Canadians. (…)

Non-binary trans activists have raised substantial concern over the erasure of trans and intersex existence and have been heard. Connie Graziadei, Assistant Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada, has “recommend[ed] that when completing your census questionnaire, you leave this question blank and indicate in the comments section at the end of the questionnaire the reasons for which you find the current construction of the question inadequate. That will provide valuable and accurate information for this segment of the population.” For Statistics Canada’s full response click here, an update can be found here, and their official Q and A here. Any additional information included in this article was gained through correspondence with various Statistic Canada employees as well as consultation with prominent demographers. (…)

1. Demographics on Trans Identities, Especially Non-Binary Identities, Do Not Exist. Anywhere. And that matters.

It matters because population demographics are used to justify basically every institutional policy that could create wider access to gender-affirming tools through more comprehensive insurance policies and decreasing waiting times, or could expand non-binary facilities or forms, including voters’ IDs. (…)

2. Everyone will *Still be Counted as Female or Male*, Even if You Leave the Binary Question Blank and Insert Comments. (…)

***It is recommended that your comments read something like this: ***

“I opted to leave question e-two blank as I identify as [insert sex/gender identity or identities]. If you must, classify me as [pick one: female, male] for analysis and update the 2021 Census to be completely non-binary and to have a third gender/sex category.”


Statistics Canada: How should transgender, transsexual, and intersex Canadians indicate their sex?


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Why Don’t Cops Believe Rape Victims? Brain Science Helps Explain the Problem—and Solve It.

When Tom Tremblay started working for the police department of Burlington, Vt., 30 years ago, he discovered that many of his fellow cops rarely believed a rape victim. This was true time after time, in dozens of cases. Tremblay could see why they were doubtful once he started interviewing the victims himself. The victims, most of them women, often had trouble recalling an attack or couldn’t give a chronological account of it. Some expressed no emotion. Others smiled or laughed as they described being assaulted. “Unlike any other crime I responded to in my career, there was always this thought that a rape report was a false report,” says Tremblay, who was an investigator in Burlington’s sex crimes unit. “I was always bothered by the fact there was this shroud of doubt.”

Tremblay felt sex assault victims were telling the truth, and data supports his instincts: Only an estimated 2 to 8 percent of rape accusations are false, according to a survey of the literature published by the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women. Tremblay also knew the victims felt as if they were being treated like suspects, and it affected the choices they made. Surveyed about why they didn’t want to pursue a report, most victims said they worried that no one would believe them.

(…) A number of recent studies on neurobiology and trauma show that the ways in which the brain processes harrowing events accounts for victim behavior that often confounds cops, prosecutors, and juries.

These findings have led to a fundamental shift in the way experts who grasp the new science view the investigation of rape cases—and led them to a better method for interviewing victims. The problem is that the country’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies haven’t been converted. Or at least, most aren’t yet receiving the training to improve their own interview procedures. (…)

In the past decade, neurobiology has evolved to explain why victims respond in ways that make it seem like they could be lying, even when they’re not…



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This 24-Year-Old is Creating a Civil Rights Movement for Sexual Assault Survivors

Rise, founded by Amanda Nguyen, is successfully pushing for a Bill of Rights for survivors in all 50 states.

The criminal justice system can be a hostile place for sexual assault survivors. They face an uphill battle to be believed and have their crimes prosecuted. Worse, survivors may struggle to get their physical evidence—the rape kit collected after their assault—tested by the authorities. More than 40 states have backlogs of untested kits; sometimes police departments even throw them out.

"Survivors are often revictimized by the very system that is built to seek and protect justice," says Amanda Nguyen, the 24-year-old leader of a grassroots organization working to change this system.(...)

It’s these patchwork and insufficient laws that her group, Rise, came together to try to change, through a unique civil rights approach.

The issue, Nguyen says, is bipartisan and common sense. Working in the halls of the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, Rise is pushing to pass a Bill of Rights for survivors in all 50 states. They cobbled together laws that already worked in various states, picked the ones that could gather universal support, and put them together. As such, the rights are basic and noncontroversial, such as fair and efficient rape kit procedures, a tracking system for the kits, a survivors’ right to a sexual assault counselor, and standard procedures to simply inform survivors of their rights.

In only about a year, Rise has already made progress. It took them four months to get bills introduced in Massachusetts. In February, three U.S. senators introduced the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act, and a similar House resolution introduced last year has 51 cosponsors, 34 Democrats and 17 Republicans. By April, Nguyen is hopeful that another 15 states will introduce the legislation.



Parting Thoughts

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”

-Diane Mariechild


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Women's Equality Branch | 551 King Street, Suite A | Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1