July 23rd, 2024

Centre calls for support ending sexual violence

By Nicholas Allen - for the Lethbridge Herald on May 5, 2022.

A local charitable organization that supports children, youths, and adults who have experienced sexual abuse or assault is looking to educate the public about sexual violence.
The Chinook Sexual Assault Centre is hosting events throughout May for Sexual Violence Awareness Month to increase recognition of the impact sexual violence can have.
“As we can all see, very clearly, in the world around us, so much more needs to be done to eradicate sexual violence from our communities,” said Michele Montgomery, chair of the Board of Directors for the Chinook Sexual Assault Centre. “Sexual Violence Awareness Month is a tool to bring awareness, create discussion and drive action.”
According to the CEO of the Chinook Sexual Assault Centre, Kristine Cassie, Alberta has an approximately 34 per cent prevalence rate for sexual abuse and sexual assault in local communities, which means one in three are experiencing some form of sexual abuse.
“As we enter our fourth year of operations, we continue to see a steady increase in the numbers of people that we serve. Education is a key component to not only supporting survivors but to ending sexual violence,” stated Cassie. “Creating opportunity to learn, for community conversation and mechanisms for individuals to create change helps us all to make a difference to build, restore and create respectful and safe spaces.”
She said the organization knows that people whose trauma is not dealt with early in this process can have other devastating impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
“We know that children, when we don’t deal with other trauma early on, are 26 times more likely to become homeless at some point in their life,” said Cassie.
Cassie explained that it is fundamental to provide support and belief to victims who are coming forward. One of the messages of support is hope, with an event called Sonders Coffee and Conversations: Messages of Hope and Support to Survivors of Sexual Violence taking place from May 8 to 21.
“It’s really a simple campaign where people can post messages of hope for survivors of sexual violence, so that people know they aren’t alone,” added Cassie. “There [are] other people in the community that do care about what’s going on.”
For the whole month, they will be looking for donations through Unite YQL Heart Campaign, where a name gets put on a heart for a donation. All those proceeds go to support the renovations at the Chinook Child Advocacy Centre which looks at the coordination of services between children, policing services and others to be able to address child sexual abuse and severe neglect in Lethbridge.
There is also a KFC donation drive taking place to support the Centre as well, with the Park Place Mall and Legacy Ridge locations taking part.
“It’s their way to create some awareness around Sexual Violence Awareness Month and then to give back [to] the community,” said Cassie.
City Hall will be joining the community support with a “Pledge to End Sexual Violence”. There will be teal lights on the building to acknowledge Sexual Violence Awareness Month on May 18.
“Teal is the colour that represents sexual abuse or sexual violence,” said Cassie. “And so, it’s again, one way to show support and some awareness around sexual violence in our community, and an effortless way that people can give that support.”
May 24 will be a Sextortion Lunch and Learn using information provided by the Child Protection Agency in Canada out of Winnipeg. It speaks to the sharing of photos or images and how they can lead to extortion.
“This is a way for people to again be aware of what’s going on and how we need to put some protections in place around social media and for our youth,” said Cassie. “How they can deal with that if they’re ever approached or how to support [a] young person that’s in your life if something like this is happening and how you can intervene.”
Wear Your Teal Day will be the last event of the month on May 26. The Chinook Sexual Assault Centre asks people to show support by tagging them, @csacleth, or using the hashtag #CSAC.
The Chinook Sexual Assault Centre is located at 502, 740 4 Avenue South. To contact them phone 403-694-1094 or toll free at 1-844-576-2512. Office hours are 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday with evening hours available by appointment.
For more information on Sexual Violence Awareness Month visit the website at csacleth.ca.

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Frank Sterle Jr.

If physically survived, emotional/psychological trauma from unhindered toxic abuse, sexual or otherwise, typically results in a helpless child’s brain improperly developing. If allowed to continue for a prolonged period, it can act as a starting point into a life in which the brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines. It’s like a form of non-physical-impact brain damage.

The lasting emotional and/or psychological pain from such trauma is very formidable yet invisibly confined to inside one’s head. It is solitarily suffered, unlike an openly visible physical disability or condition, which tends to elicit sympathy/empathy from others. It can make every day a mental ordeal, unless the turmoil is treated with some form of medicating, either prescribed or illicit.

Owing to the Only If It’s In My Own Back Yard mindset, however, the prevailing collective attitude (implicit or subconscious) basically follows: ‘Why should I care — my kids are alright?’ or ‘What is in it for me, the taxpayer, if I support programs for other people’s troubled families?’ While some people will justify it as a normal thus moral human evolutionary function, the self-serving OIIIMOBY can debilitate social progress, even when social progress is most needed. And it seems this distinct form of societal penny wisdom but pound foolishness is a very unfortunate human characteristic that’s likely with us to stay.

Meantime, way too many people will still procreate regardless of their questionable ability to raise their children in a psychologically functional/healthy manner. Indeed, I sometimes wonder how much immense long-term suffering might have been prevented had the parent(s) of a future tyrant received, as high school students, some crucial child development science education by way of mandatory curriculum. After all, dysfunctional and/or abusive parents, for example, may not have had the chance to be anything else due to their lack of such education and their own dysfunctional/abusive rearing as children. 

Last edited 2 years ago by Frank Sterle Jr.