As a young Black rape survivor, Joëlle Kabisoso has turned her experience with healing trauma into her greatest strength. In 2013, at the age of 17, she was sexually assaulted by a group of five white boys. Adding to her physical and psychological trauma, she discovered that the act of violence had been tweeted about with images of her; she was referred to as a “monkey” in the tweet, which anchored a racially charged element of hate crime to her experience. Dismissed by the authorities — her case was barely investigated.
Fuelled by her own experience with the intersection of sexual violence and racial disparity, Joëlle became the founder of Sisters in Sync. With a belief in the mishandling of services for Black women within existing systems, she has become an advocate for equitable justice and services for Black youth in Canada. Compelled to connect and support young women with shared experiences, Joëlle is a fearless community builder and leader. She has recently been recognized as one of the Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada and received the YWCA Hamilton 2021 Women of Distinction Young Trailblazer Award.
SISTERS IN SYNC
Founded in 2018 and based in Hamilton, Ont., Sisters in Sync creates a safe space for BIPOC girls and women to connect, share and support one another through lived experiences while amplifying survivor stories. Based on the values of empowerment, sisterhood, education and resilience, a series of holistic initiatives aims to engage historically marginalized communities in healthy and productive ways to unpack and deal with trauma through workshops and events. Across all efforts, the mandate of “We got you, sis” remains—it reinforces the Sisters in Sync commitment to solidarity while identifying barriers to women’s equality and advocating for change.