iRespect Yoga in the Park

iRespect Yoga returns, in-person and in the park. Join CASASC staff members Bailey Martineau (trauma-informed certified kids yoga teacher) and Sarah Maetche (registered yoga teacher RYT-200) for an outdoor practice at Coronation Park. Meet us both afternoons by the stone circle in the middle of the park.

We are offering two one-hour sessions designed for everyBody – all abilities, ages and bodies. Join us on May 19 at 5:30 p.m. for a hatha practice. On May 25 at 5:30 p.m. join us for a family-friendly flow.

These two outdoor yoga sessions are hosted by CASASC in celebration of Sexual Violence Awareness Month (SVAM) and bring the focus to the iRespect campaign, creating a culture of respect wherever we go.

Each session is offered by donation to CASASC (suggested donation of $5). As we are outdoors, the practices will run weather dependent. We encourage you to bring your own mat and props.

Pre-registration not required, drop-ins are welcome. Pre-register up to 2 hours before the session to fill out your waiver in advance. Pre-register here on Eventbrite.

Red Dress Day recognizes MMIWG

By Tammy Barbour

With the increasing number of unmarked graves of Indigenous children who attended residential school being uncovered across Canada, we must recognize Canada’s colonial past and the lasting negative impact to Indigenous communities.

Red Dress Day is a grassroots movement that grew out of decades of activism from families, survivors, Indigenous peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

This has identified the need for all of us to take action to address the harm and violence experienced by Indigenous peoples, specifically women, girls and 2SLBGTQQIA+ people.

The development of Canada, from a historical context, identified Indigenous women and girls as a means of colonization, population growth and of misogynistic value.

The historical colonization practice created systemic discrimination and inequities that have contributed to oversexualization and dehumanization of Indigenous women and girls.

Sexual violence remains the most under-reported crime in Canada with 95 per cent of survivors who do not report their assaults to the police. In 2014, 83,000 Albertans reported sexual assaults to the police.

The numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada continues to rise and many cases are unresolved to this day.

Indigenous women’s groups have documented the number of MMIWG to be over 4000. It is believed that the numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is not definitive due to under reporting of violence and lack of ethnic reporting in databases.

According to the 2004 General Social Survey, Indigenous women 15 years and older were three and a half times more likely to experience violence than non-Indigenous women.

The Kinship Intervention Program (KIP) at the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) focuses on the prevention and intervention of sexualized behaviour, historical trauma, sexual abuse, sexual violence and the support for individuals, families and communities to heal from the violence and trauma in their way.

The environments in which we live, raise our children, learn and grow as people must not reinforce the systemic and discriminatory forms of gender-based violence that has been part of our history.

We need to come together and dismantle the social environments that allow sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and the systemic discrimination and inequities entrenched in our governments, policies and practices.

With the change to these environments, we can then work together to create safe spaces for all peoples, specifically addressing the real violence that Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people face every day.

Indigenous people in Canada have faced systemic violence and oppression for generations and have lost children, mothers, aunties, sisters, and grandmothers to sexualized violence in Canada.

By recognizing and continuing the conversation we contribute to the increased awareness of MMIWG as the sexual violence still exists today.

We can increase awareness of these realities by remembering missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls along with solidarity with family members and loved ones.

Red Dress Day is a recognition that our environments are not equal for all people and that we will not accept the over sexualization of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

We ask everyone to wear red or hang a red dress in their window on Thursday, May 5 to increase awareness and contribute to the establishment of safer environments wherever they live.

It will take long-term commitment and passion to end the violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ from all aspects of the Canadian identity.

Please wear red and let the families of the MMIWG know that you hear them.

Tammy Barbour is the community engagement facilitator for the Kinship Intervention Program (KIP) of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre.

Article as published in the Red Deer Advocate on May 3, 2022.

A million reasons why

By Sarah Maetche

There are a million reasons why someone who has experienced sexual or family violence won’t come forward.

Sometimes there are threats to safety. Sometimes they are threatened with legal action. Other times, the person who abused the individual holds a position of power over the victim. There are a many valid reasons why someone would not come forward to tell their story or seek justice.

Actress and activist for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse Evan Rachel Wood recently came forward and named her abuser. Following years of speculation of who was her unnamed abuser, Wood released a statement claiming she suffered years of horrific abuse by shock rocker Marilyn Manson.

In her appearance on the daytime TV show The View, Wood detailed some of the reasons why she didn’t come forward or name her abuser for over a decade. She has also recently released a documentary on the subject called Phoenix Rising.

On the talk show Wood stated that there are a million reasons why someone might not come forward such as trauma, intimidation, going up against someone who is powerful with many resources and fear of retaliation.

“Society around this issue is so geared around shame, blame and victim blaming and that is by design,” said Wood. “Even the way we speak about these things. We are still asking victim the question why they didn’t leave. And the fact that we are still asking that question tells me how much work there is to do.

“Nobody ever asks why the abuser didn’t leave,” she added. “We are programmed to ask these questions. We need to start asking different questions.”

“I am sad, because this is how it works,” said Wood who is now being sued by her alleged abuser. “This is what pretty much every survivor that tries to expose someone in a position of power goes though, and this is part of the retaliation that keeps survivors quiet. This is why people don’t want to come forward.”

There are also a million reasons why someone experiencing sexual or family violence didn’t leave an abusive relationship. These are some frequent questions we often hear asked of victims: “Why didn’t you leave?,” “Why did you tolerate the abuse?,” and “Why didn’t you do something?”

We seem to be constantly asking questions to the victim of the abuse. With this “why” narrative played over and over again, we imply some type of responsibility or blame onto the victim. This is a dangerous and slippery slope we should avoid continuing to perpetuate.

English singer-songwriter FKA twigs recently pushed back on this question after an interviewer asked her why she didn’t leave an abusive relationship.

“We have to stop asking that question,” said twigs in the interview. “I’m not going to answer that question any more. Because the question should really be to the abuser: why are you holding someone hostage with abuse? People say it can’t have been that bad, because else you would’ve left. But it’s like, no, it’s because it was that bad, I couldn’t leave.”

To avoid victim blaming and to work towards eliminating violence in our community, we can flip this narrative and start asking questions like “Why are you abusing this person you claim to love?” to the abuser. The first question in our minds should be “why didn’t the abuser stop their behaviour?” The sole responsibility of the abuse and violence should be placed on the abuser.

Like Wood said, let’s start asking different questions.

Sarah Maetche is the communications and administration manager at the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Centre.

Article as published in the Red Deer Advocate on April 1, 2022

 

Why we wear orange

CASASC reaffirms the statement that every child matters.
We honour the 215 children who were found at the Kamloops Residential School, their families and our community who is grieving at this time. We chose to wear our orange Made to Respect t-shirts today (May 31) as a visual symbol of our awareness of the need for ongoing reconciliation and accountability. We encourage you to seek further information about the experiences of Indigenous people, especially in regards to residential schooling.
We are here to support our community during this time. If you need support, we have our 24/7 Sexual Violence Help Line by phone at 1 866 956 1099 or by webchat at www.casasc.ca
You can also reach the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line by phone 1-866-925-4419

iRespect Myself, iNourish My Body – Recipe 1

The first recipe in our weekly self-care: iRespect Myself, iNourish My Body recipe series is a super easy, “pack now, eat later” Greek chicken bowl that is perfect for those busy weekday lunch ideas.

A great balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats; this Greek Chicken Bowl has everything you need to give your body back everything it requires to help you power through to the end of your workday.

Let’s all take a little bit of time this month to slow down, practice self-love and gratitude, and give back to our bodies.

 

This post is part of CASASC’s Respect Month – a month-long awareness campaign that acknowledges Sexual Violence Awareness Month through the concept of respect.

Book of poetry speaks to healing journey

Local artist and mental health advocate Sabrina Samuel has released a book of poetry with a portion of proceeds supporting CASASC.

The book She Was is inspired by Samuel’s healing journey, with each poem telling the story of incredible women along the path.

“The work illustrates our dynamic power, but also our humanity,” said Samuel. “Women are multi-dimensional. My hope for the book is that it will be an agent for positive change, celebration, collaboration and discussion. I’m deeply grateful for the help I received from CASASC, so I wanted to partner with them.”

The launch of She Was coincides with Sexual Violence Awareness Month (SVAM) in the month of May and leads up to Mother’s Day.

Samuel said all art is a response to something.

“When you use metaphor to address pain, you can reach people differently,” she said. “I understand fully that racialized women are the most vulnerable to abuse, harassment and assault. I don’t want to be a statistic. This work has shown me I’m owning more of my story each day by drawing strength from my feminine influences.”

She Was is available for purchase in-person at Cheeky Couture’s Boutique on Gasoline Alley, Housewarmings in downtown Red Deer, at the CASASC main office or by emailing surrenderliving@gmail.com

Copies are $20 each with 50 per cent of the proceeds supporting CASASC. A $5 delivery fee will be charged to orders outside of Red Deer.

She Was has been selected by Lloydminster and Vermillion for Equity’s Monthly Book Club for May 2 at 2 p.m. Samuel will also be a guest on Coffee Chat with CASASC on May 6 at 10:30 a.m. on CASASC’s Instagram page (@CASASC3).

Samuel is hosting the She Was Author’s Launch on Friday, April 30 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. The launch will feature a reading, input from other readers, a Q & A segment, door prizes and giveaways.

For more information about She Was visit facebook.com/surrenderliving or www.surrenderliving.com

Readers are encouraged to participate in the She Was challenge by selecting a poem from the book and recording themselves reading it on Facebook or Instagram. Dedicate the post to a great woman and tag them to do the same. Tag @surrenderliving and use the hashtag #shewas to be entered into the challenge. The winner will be selected at the end of SVAM.

Join the conversation for the month by using the hashtag #SVAM for Sexual Violence Awareness Month. Help us eliminate sexual violence in our community by creating a culture of respect.

The healing power of Yoga: A kids’ perspective

When we shift from focusing on “fixing” the child to “connecting” with the child, we create a safe space that allows them to discover skills that support healing.

The yoga experience allows us to connect through presence, excitement and mindful care, all the while creating the space for children’s own bodies and minds to do the amazing things they were made to do.

When children have been abused, their bodies shut down in a completely different way. Child sexual abuse indicators can include:

  • Sudden sensual fear, panic or reluctancy to be alone with certain persons
  • Sudden fear of places or locations
  • Regressive behaviors
  • Compulsive lying or stealing
  • Unexplained evidence of physical trauma to genitals
  • Not sleeping/nightmares

Yoga can help children get back into their bodies without being afraid. There are many techniques we can use when children have gone through trauma:

Keep it simple – Demonstrate first and find the simplest variation of the pose for them to start from. Be sensitive to the children’s needs. Allow them to relax whenever they need to and make the class short enough for them to be able to keep their attention focused without tiring.

Breath – Help them to breathe more deeply and learn how to control and be aware of their breath through a variety of breathing exercises.

Success builds success – Always focus on the children’s strengths, as a weakness in one area often creates strength in another. If we start where it is easy for that child, they will gain confidence and slowly respond to more challenging areas. We never begin by attempting to work on the ‘issue’ first.

Sometimes I give squishy balls to children with special needs to keep squeezing while they are lying down. This helps them to keep the rest of their body still. Heavy blankets also work well.

Sensory bags are great for autistic children or even for shy children. They feel safe inside, and the contact from all sides is very comforting.

When working with children who have been abused in some way, we must make the space inviting and not scary for them. We allow them be their own guide in the class and invite them to do the poses they feel comfortable with. There is no touch/adjusting in class. If the child wants to lay down the whole time, that is fine, as that is what their body is telling them to do. Yoga is an invitation for the body and the mind. We need to hold space for children who have undergone a trauma, and in class, that is what we can do.

*All information is from the Teaching Rainbow Kids Yoga Training Manual.

The importance of self-care

CASASC is your safe place. No matter where you are in your healing journey, we are here to support you along the way. Our goal – to empower you on your journey towards healing.

Self-care is an important part of the healing process and can help make the impacts of trauma more manageable. According to Raphailia Michael “self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.”

In this, we would like to introduce a new series – #Theimportanceofselfcare

Over the next month, we will be featuring a daily self-care tip on our social media channels. This is to support all our journeys toward healing.

NEW group – Intro to mentalization

Join us for this psycho-educational group that offers an introduction to mentalization.

This mentalization-based group is designed for individuals that come from broken attachments, are in unhealthy peer attachments and have a history of trauma, sexual abuse and a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Mentalization-based therapy (MBT) is a specific type of psychotherapy designed to help people with BPD. Its focus is helping people to differentiate and separate out their own thoughts and feelings from those around them.

 

What are the aims of MBT?

-MBT aims to improve a person’s ability to mentalize in close relationships.

-Having improved mentalizing ability means:

-Experiencing a more stable sense of who you feel you are

-Being less likely to let emotions get the better of you

-When emotions do get the better of you, you are able to regain your composure more quickly

This should mean that you become stronger emotionally, engage in harmful behaviours less, are less likely to get into interpersonal conflicts, and are better able to deal with any conflicts that do arise.

 

How does MBT help you improve your mentalizing?

To be good at something, you need to practice it. In the MBT program, participants can practice mentalizing skills together with the therapist and other group members.

 

How is MBT structured?

The MBT program consists of:

  1. Mentalization-based problem formulation
  2. Crisis plans
  3. Psychoeducational group therapy: 12 weekly sessions, each 1.5 hours-long
  4. Individual therapy: once a week for around 18 months
  5. Group therapy: weekly sessions of 1.5 hours for around 18 months
  6. Possible addition of art therapy
  7. Appointment(s) with psychiatrist for relevant prescriptions if needed
  8. Collaboration with other agencies on work-related support

 

What does the therapist do in MBT?

MBT therapists may provide advice directly, but they mainly try to think and reflect with you about problems to help you gradually develop your own solutions. This means taking on a curious and ‘not-knowing’ attitude about yourself and others – other patients in the group and people in your everyday life – particularly about experiences, thoughts and feelings.

 

What does the patient do in MBT?

-To make good use of treatment, patients are encouraged to:

-Talk about events from their own lives, especially recent events that have been stressful

-Try to understand more about these events, using a curious, open and ‘not-knowing’ attitude

-Allow other group members to take part in this process by exploring their own problems and other people’s problems in the same way

-Work with the therapist and the other group members in the same way, to understand events that happen within the group

-Try to develop a constructive relationship with the group members and the therapist

As part of the program, patients are encouraged not to have contact between each other outside of the therapy sessions. If they do so, they should try to talk about these contacts in the therapy sessions.

 

What else do I need to know?

The individual and group therapists meet regularly and discuss how therapy is going.

The group therapist does not usually mention in the group anything he or she has discussed with patients in individual sessions. You, the patient, get to choose what you want to talk about, and when.

However, sometimes the group therapist can address specific serious topics directly, even if the patient does not want to talk about them. For instance, these may relate to violence or threats, serious breaches of the treatment contract, or suicide attempts.

 

The group is facilitated by Michelle Moger and CASASC therapists.

Find out more info and/or to reserve your spot email casasc@casasc.ca or call 403-340-1124.

NEW parenting group

Join us for Rest, Play, Grow – a book discussion group starting on Jan. 14. at 6 p.m.

Rest, Play, Grow is grounded in the integrated, attachment-based and developmental approach to making sense of kids created by Gordon Neufeld.

Participants will read two chapters of Rest, Play, Grow by Debra Macnamara during the week and then come together to share insights, questions, and experiences. In case a participant is not able to do the reading, there will be a review of the material at the beginning of each meeting.

 

Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One)

Based on the work of one of the world’s foremost child development experts, Rest, Play, Grow offers a road map to making sense of young children, and is what every toddler, preschooler, and kindergartner wishes we understood about them. Baffling and beloved, with the capacity to go from joy to frustration in seconds, young children are some of the most misunderstood people on the planet.

 

Chapters (topics covered):

-How Adults Grow Young Children up

-The Preschooler Personality: Part beauty, part beast

-Preserving Play: Defending childhood in a digital world

-Hungry for Connection: Why relationship matters

-Who’s in Charge? The dance of attachment

-Feelings and Hurts: Keeping children’s hearts soft

-Tears and Tantrums: Understanding frustration and aggression

-Alarmed by Disconnection: Bedtime, separation, and anxiety

-“You’re Not the Boss of Me”: Understanding resistance and opposition

-Discipline for the Immature: Buying time for the child to grow up

-How Young Children Grow Adults Up

 

Discussions are facilitated by Michelle Moger and CASASC therapists.

Rest, Play, Grow runs for 6 weeks.

Find out more info and/or to reserve your spot email casasc@casasc.ca or call 403-340-1124.