#YourWordsMatter at Red Deer College

Your words matter. The language we use to talk about others and explain our experiences matter. Words can be seen as a form of gender-based violence (GBV).

The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) continued its’ mission to eliminate sexual violence by partnering with the Students’ Association of Red Deer College (SA) for #YourWordsMatter, an GBV awareness event.

#YourWordsMatter, the awareness and info fair and silent march through campus, occurred on Thursday, Nov. 28 at Red Deer College.

The purpose of this event was to bring awareness to the widespread issue of GBV within our society. GBV can be defined as violence that is directed at an individual based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. It includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, threats, coercion, and economic or educational deprivation, whether occurring in public or private life.

#YourWordsMatter was hosted on the fourth day of the SA’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which began on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ended on International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.

The awareness and info fair featured interactive displays, resources and information about eliminating GBV in our community.

For the first time on the RDC campus, a silent march was held. This was meant to be a quiet and proactive, yet visual way to bring awareness to GBV throughout the RDC main campus. The silent march departed from the Forum at 11:45 a.m. with attendees wearing purple and carrying positive messaging around the prevention of GBV in our community.

Everyone was encouraged to wear purple on the day – to show support for survivors of GBV. A special edition purple #iRespect t-shirt was also released on this day.

What is gender-based violence?

Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence that is directed at an individual based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. It includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, threats, coercion, and economic or educational deprivation, whether occurring in public or private life.

In Canada, GBV disproportionately impacts women and girls, as well as other diverse populations like Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQI2+ and non-binary individuals, those living in northern, rural, and remote communities, people with disabilities, newcomers, children and youth, and seniors.

GBV is not limited to physical abuse but includes words, actions, or attempts to degrade, control, humiliate, intimidate, coerce, deprive, threaten, or harm another person.

Why is this important?

Individuals in Canada and around the world continue to face violence each and every day.

GBV can manifest in many different forms. GBV can happen in the private or public sphere, in kitchens, bedrooms and streets, stores and boardrooms or in refugee camps. It can include street harassment (like groping, cat calling, whistling, or unwanted attention in public spaces), sexual assault, sexual harassment and intimate partner violence.

The roots of GBV are all around us – in sexist jokes that demean women, in media messages that objectify women, in the rigid gender norms we impose on children.

Why #YourWordsMatter

Words matter. Your words matter. The language we use to talk about others and explain our experiences matter.

Words, the language we use, can be a form of GBV.

Intentionally using someone’s incorrect name or pronoun is an act of GBV.

Joking about that girl’s body from your class with your buddies is an act of GBV.

Making threats to harm another person is an act of GBV.

Calling someone a name, bullying, humiliating or insulting them on Instagram is an act of GBV.

Making fun of someone’s faith or religion is an act of GBV.

Making online threats to someone’s children, family, pets or friends that cause fear is an act of GBV.

Sending sexually explicit texts and photos of your genitals to someone without their consent is an act of GBV.

Your words matter. You can help take action against GBV by using your words to question, call out or speak up against GBV acts.

Your words can empower others. Your words can inspire others. Your words have power.

#YourWordsMatter

Tickets on sale for Calgary Roughnecks holiday home opener

We’re doing it again!

CASASC and the Calgary Roughnecks, Calgary’s professional box lacrosse team, have partnered together yet again to raise funds.

Support CASASC at the Roughnecks home opener on Saturday, December 21st. The Roughnecks will be hoisting their championship banner to the rafters!

Come for the holiday experience and support a great cause.

Roughnecks games are fast, fun and entertaining for everyone. CASASC raises money for each ticket that’s sold. That’s right. It’s as easy as going to the link below and making your purchase directly with the Roughnecks.

Venture to Calgary on your own for the game, or new this year, have a worry-free trip to and from the game by riding on the CASASC #iRespect bus. A nominal fee will be charged to ride the bus departing from downtown Red Deer. Contact CASASC for more details about busing.

https://roughnecks.spinzo.com/roughnecks-vs-mammoth-banner-raising-night-2019-12-21-BDVSY?group=central-alberta-sexual-assault-support-centre-nk4u

2019 Front Line Service Providers’ Awards

The CASASC team attended the 2019 Front Line Service Providers’ Awards on Nov. 6 at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club.

The 15th annual awards ceremony, hosted by the Domestic and Relationship Violence Committee (DRVIC), is a time for front line service providers to come together to recognize each other and the meaningful work being done within these communities.

CASASC Outreach Counsellor Alma Garbe was nominated for a Front Line Service Providers’ Award for forging connections and facilitating partnerships with communities based on their needs.

“For CASASC, she is the bridge to delivering services to Indigenous populations,” wrote her nominator. “Whether it is partnering with Maskwacis Health, Rocky Mountain House Victim Services or a rural hospital, Garbe works collaboratively with the community and beyond to ensure those impacted by violence are assisted.”

Ronnie Biletsky of the Red Deer Regional Hospital was nominated for the Patrick Dillon Leadership Award by CASASC. Biletsky oversees the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) within the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

“Ronnie is a senior nurse who supervises the two programs in the hospital ER,” wrote her nominator. “She is aware of the smallest details and aims to improve the services and patient experience every time she is around. She has the ability to seamlessly be present wherever she is needed most. She has dedicated her life to support those affected by sexual violence and domestic violence in the hospital setting.

With her dedicated and resilient spirit, she has shaped the Central Alberta SART program into a recognized and admired program by other cities in the province. It is a program recognized for its’ excellence.”

CASASC also presented a special recognition to Therapist Deb Murray and Outreach Counsellor Alma Garbe for their dedicated years of service to the agency. Both Murray and Garbe are retiring at the end of the year.

CASASC would like to congratulate all of the nominees and recipients at this year’s award ceremony.

Volunteers of CASASC’s text/webchat crisis line win Community Builder Award

Recognized for making a lasting difference in community, the volunteers of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC)’s 24 Hour Text and Webchat Sexual Assault Crisis Line received the Community Builder Award.

Volunteers accepted the Red Deer Mayor’s Recognition Award on the evening of June 6 at the Cambridge Hotel.

CASASC Volunteer Coordinator Michele Kercher and CASASC Volunteer Board Member Matthew Mowbrey accepted the award from Mayor Tara Veer on stage on behalf of the 70 plus volunteers.

CASASC introduced the provincially-available 24 hour text and webchat line in May 2016. The addition to the 24 hour crisis phone line was introduced due to a missing need within the community.

The Mayor’s Recognition Awards recognize Red Deer individuals, groups or teams who have brought honour and recognition to Red Deer in one of five categories. Award recipients are selected by the Mayor’s Recognition Awards Committee, with the exception of the Mayor’s Special Award recipient, who is chosen by the Mayor herself.

Since the launch of the text/webchat line, hundreds of individuals have contacted the crisis line from across the province.The line is open to anyone affected by sexual violence.

The phone line, along with the text/webchat crisis line, are run by the volunteer coordinator and are supported by over 70 volunteers. Typically, there are over 120 text/webchat shifts to fill each month so those accessing the crisis line can speak/have contact with someone no matter the time of day. Without the volunteers taking these shifts, the text/webchat line would be unable to operate 24 hours-a-day, year round.

In 2018, volunteer responded to 220 text/webchat contacts with individuals across Alberta.

From inception (May 2016 to December 2018) volunteers have assisted 653 individuals in the province. The need for this service only increases.

Respect Day draws crowd to City Hall Park

CASASC’s annual Respect Day celebration was held on Friday, May 24 in Red Deer.

Hundreds attended to have a taste of the by donation BBQ, watch the Indigenous dancers and drummers, Country Pride line dancers and peruse the community info booths. A DJ played music throughout the afternoon, keeping the celebratory atmosphere in the park.

The day highlighted the importance of creating a culture of respect in order to combat sexual violence.

Respect Day is the awareness event connected to our current proactive campaign titled #iRespect. The goal of #iRespect is to encourage everyone (global citizens) to conduct their lives and treat one another with respect. This in turn reflects our vision – ending the culture of sexual violence and helping to build safer communities for all Central Albertans through promoting awareness and healing, education, empowerment and renewal.

Respect Day was held in connection of Sexual Violence Awareness Month.

Calgary Roughnecks – Join us at the finals

Over the winter we partnered with the Calgary Roughnecks, Calgary’s professional box lacrosse team, to raise funds.

The good news is, the team has made it into the NLL finals and we are selling tickets to what could be the final home game when the roughnecks clench the title.

Purchase a ticket for this playoff game on Saturday, May 25 and receive an unforgettable Saturday night of fun while supporting a great cause. Roughnecks games are fast, fun and entertaining for everyone.

CASASC raises money for each ticket that’s sold. That’s right. It’s as easy as going to the link below and making your purchase directly with the Roughnecks:

https://calgaryroughnecks.com/casasc/

This one-time fundraiser ticket feature (with the amazing discounted ticket rate) will be offered for this home game.

Grab your friends and let’s raise some funds for CASASC.

 

 

First annual Women’s March Red Deer set for March 9

In recognition of International Women’s Day, the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC), Red Deer Welcoming and Inclusive Communities (WIC) and the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association (CAIWA)will partner together for the first annual Women’s March Red Deer.

Join us on Saturday, March 9 for an empowering march designed to bring awareness and encourage women to be a visible force for positive change.

The event will start at 11 a.m. at CAIWA’s Club Café (5019 Ross Street) with a pre-gathering and smudge. The march will launch from the café at 11:30 a.m., winding through the downtown core, returning by noon.

All are invited to attend the march – all cultures, abilities, ages, races and gender identities.

Following the march through downtown Red Deer, a potluck lunch and sharing circle will be held. Attendees can bring food items to share with the group.

The purpose of the march is to not only bring awareness around International Women’s Day, but to connect a diverse group of women from the central Alberta region to create unity and solidarity in the community.

“The theme for Red Deer Women’s March is women healing communities,” said Sadia Khan, march organizer. “Women have always been the heart of healing communities, peacebuilding and a visible force for positive change.”

We must equip and empower the women, especially the younger generation to be a catalyst for change.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring signage for the march that is empowering, inclusive and respectful.

The goal and messaging of the Red Deer Women’s March aligns with Women’s March Canada, on the principals that all people of all backgrounds – women and men, gender non-conforming people, indigenous and immigrants, of diverse faiths, abilities and ages – are all deserving of equality, justice, freedom and inclusion.

“We will continue to embody these principles to amplify and activate issues using education, mobilization, dialogue engagement and collective action,” said Khan. “As women we fight across time and space against all forms of discrimination, exclusion, marginalization, violence and lack of equal opportunities. This march is an opportunity to reflect, rejoice and recharge together in community with amazing women to amplify awareness and dialogue.”

A poster making party will be held on March 3 for those who want to make a sign in advance in a collaborative setting.

Organizers plan to make the march an annual event.

Information on media availability on the day of the event will be released one week in advance.

Buy a ticket, support CASASC

CASASC and The Calgary Rougnecks, Calgary’s professional box lacrosse team, have partnered together to raise funds.

Purchase tickets for a home game this season and receive a Saturday night of fun while supporting a great cause. Roughnecks games are fast, fun and entertaining for everyone.

CASASC raises money for each ticket that’s sold. That’s right. It’s as easy as going to the link below and making your purchase directly with the Roughnecks:

http://calgaryroughnecks.com/casasc/

Alternatively, you can go to the ticket page for an upcoming game and placing the code 10F104 into the Ticketmaster offer code box to unlock fundraiser savings.

This fundraiser ticket feature (with the discounted ticket rate) will be offered for the next home game. See the Roughnecks schedule here: http://calgaryroughnecks.com/schedule/

Grab your friends, pick a few games and let’s raise some funds for CASASC.

Changing the Conversation

Sexual violence was the topic last Thursday at Changing the Conversation – an awareness event at Red Deer College (RDC).

Organized by two RDC students with the support of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) and the RDC Students’ Association, the purpose of the event was to create awareness around sexual violence, including rape prevention, victim blaming, consent and respect. The organizers’ goal is to shift the focus from placing blame on the victim to the perpetrators of these crimes.

Attendees perused the information booth and were handed a bag of tea, connected to the “consent as tea” video the students had playing as one of the information items.

The event positively showcased the benefits of creating a culture of respect. Feedback from students and faculty was encouraging.

This is the third year for the health promotion and prevention project between the three organizers. Last year’s two events were titled “Are you SEXcessful?,” an awareness and guidance event about positive sexual health and “This is What I Was Wearing When It Happened”, a reflection event bringing awareness around victim blaming and the stigma surrounding women’s clothing as the reason why they were sexually assaulted.

 

#IBelieveYou… Now What?

“I Believe You… now what?” was the topic of discussion on November 22 at a student-led forum at Red Deer College (RDC).

The Margaret Parsons Theatre was a full house, with several panelists speaking on the issue of sexual violence.

Two student ambassadors designed the evening event as part of the 2018 I Believe You campaign. The keynote event of the campaign featured six panelists from several disciplines and schools of thought within RDC including Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Philosophy and Criminal Justice.

Each panelist presented briefly from their perspective, which was followed by a question and answer period from students and the general public who were in attendance.

The evening was well attended and brought out a thoughtful discussion, to be continued on in to daily life, surrounding victim blaming, false reporting and the concept of creating a culture of respect.