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.

 

2018 Front Line Service Providers’ Awards

The CASASC team attended the 2018 Front Line Service Providers’ Awards on Nov. 7 at the Radisson Hotel in Red Deer.

The 14th 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 Volunteer/SART Coordinator Michele Kercher was nominated for a Front Line Service Providers’ Award for her dedicated work in the community, working on the front line to assist those in crisis.

CASASC Crisis Support Worker Kassandra Crayston was nominated for a Front Line Service Providers’ Award for being “always ready to respond, Kassandra ensures clients and those in crisis feel heard, believed and supported.”

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

The Ghomeshi Effect to hit the stage in Red Deer

With sexual violence dominating the news cycle and social media feeds, Ottawa’s award-winning documentary dance-theatre performance The Ghomeshi Effect offers a nuanced exploration of how the legal system handles sexual assault cases in Canada.

Following a limited run at the University of Ottawa’s LabO Theatre from October 23 to 27, the play will tour universities and communities in Ontario and Alberta, including London, Sudbury, North Bay, Cochrane and Area, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Edmonton and Fort McMurray. All performances are followed by a talkback with expert panellists from each community.

The Ghomeshi Effect will be presented in Red Deer by the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) on Friday, November 9 at the Red Deer Memorial Centre. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $5 per person.

In the aftermath of #MeToo and #TimesUp, The Ghomeshi Effect shares real-life stories of survivors alongside interviews with lawyers, academics, and support workers, and offers new perspectives and opportunities for open discussion through words and movement.

“We need to talk about this,” said Jessica Ruano, writer and director of The Ghomeshi Effect. “We need to find new ways of talking about it. We need to have conversations that move beyond provocative news articles and Facebook battles that are eliciting strong reactions, yet further dividing us.”

CASASC Executive Director Patricia Arango says the not-for-profit is thrilled to bring the impactful production to the central Alberta region.

“Through The Ghomeshi Effect, we can have a conversation on the topic of sexual violence and invite people to work together to prevent sexual violence,” said Arango. “We as a society need to recover our freedom and no longer live in fear. It begins first as a conversation, working towards preventing sexual violence in our community.”

The Ghomeshi Effect tackles sexual violence in Canada, particularly how it is handled in the legal system, through an edited series of documented interviews, and uses dance to inform and interrogate the language used in the discussion of sexual violence.

Written and directed by Jessica Ruano (2017 Femmy Award Winner) and choreographed by Amelia Griffin, this production features performers Nayeli Abrego, Leah Archambault, Elizabeth Emond-Stevenson, Gabrielle Lalonde, Joy Mwandemange, Emmanuel Simon, and Michael Swatton, as well as the work of lighting designer Benoît Brunet-Poirier and sound designer Martin Dawagne.

The Ghomeshi Effect was originally presented as part of The Gladstone’s 2016-17 Season and played at the Shenkman Arts Centre. Since then, members of the team have presented at the LEAF Gala in Toronto, International Women’s Day Ottawa, and Take Back the Night – Lanark County.

The Ghomeshi Effect acknowledges funding support from the Ontario Arts Council and the Alberta Status of Women.

Tickets are available through The Black Knight Ticket Centre (in person, by phone 403-343-6666 or online at https://tickets.blackknightinn.ca) or at the CASASC main office. High school students receive complimentary entrance at the door with a valid high school id.

For more information visit: https://theghomeshieffect.com/

CASASC wins Not-for-profit of the Year Award

The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) was awarded with the Not-for-profit of the Year Award at the 2018 Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards on Oct. 17.

The annual award ceremony was held at the Red Deer College Arts Centre. Five awards were given out during the ceremony including the Young Entrepreneurs Award among Business of the Year Awards in various employee size categories.

CASASC was one of three finalists in the not-for-profit category, including the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre and the Lending Cupboard Society of Alberta.

The evening featured a cocktail and canape hour, opening messages from the Chamber CEO, MLAs, mayors and videos on each finalist.