The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) is dedicated to supporting those affected by sexual violence each and every day of the year.
In Alberta, May is Sexual Violence Awareness Month (SVAM). The goal of SVAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it.
The theme of SVAM this year is RISE. We know that one month alone isn’t enough to solve the widespread issue of sexual violence; however, the attention we generate during the month is an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout the year.
SVAM is about more than awareness – the ultimate goal is prevention. This year’s theme centres around rising up – rising up to support, empower, show respect and inspire one another during this uncertain time.
The theme Rise is inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise. She writes: “Just like the moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.”
Throughout the pandemic, rates of sexual violence continued to increase. Sexual violence is often a taboo topic and the issue has been pushed into the back, dark crevasse of society.
Sexual violence needs to be addressed and a message of hope needs to be relayed to survivors. This is why we rise – to empower, to support, to inspire and to show respect.
Key Messages: Sexual Violence and Prevention
- Sexual violence is a serious and widespread problem. Anyone can experience sexual violence in their lifetime, however most incidents occur against women and girls.
- In their lifetime, 45 per cent of adult Albertans have experienced some type of sexual abuse. That’s two in three adult females and one in three adult males.
- In Canada, 87 per cent of survivors are women and girls. Ninety-four per cent of offenders are men. Sexual violence is the most underreported crime in Canada. Ninety-five per cent of survivors do not report their assaults to the police.
- Statistics also show that some groups are more likely to experience sexual violence including: Indigenous women and girls, children and adolescents, people with disabilities, those of the LGBTQ2IA+ community and new Canadians.
- When we speak about prevention, we mean taking a proactive approach to stopping sexual violence before it even has a chance to happen. This means changing the social norms that allow it to exist in the first place, from individual attitudes, values and behaviors to laws, institutions and widespread social norms. CASASC believes this is achieved through the concept of respect.
- Prevention is all our responsibility. We can create and promote safe respectful environments through all facets of our lives. We can intervene to stop concerning behavior; promote and model healthy attitudes and relationships; promote the creation of a culture of respect; and believe survivors and assist them in finding the support they need.
View the AASAS 2019/2020 summary of the Prevalence of Sexual Assault and Childhood Sexual Abuse in Alberta HERE
How You Can Stay Involved All Month Long
Each week in May we’re featuring different ways you can get involved by promoting awareness and rising up. Want to get involved? We’ve got you covered. We have an array of events and ways for you to participate in SVAM.
Download the SVAM calendar here complete with session links.
Visit our learning series document for full information on May and June virtual learning series dates and access.
Calendar of Events:
- Launch of SVAM
- Supporting Disclosures Virtual Presentation 1:30-2:15pm
Week 3: Victims and Survivors of Crime Week
- Police and Court Support Virtual Information Session 10:00-10:45am
- Introduction to Sexual Violence virtual presentation 9:00-10:00am
May 26 – DAY OF ACTION
- CASASC Services Virtual Presentation 8:30-9:00am
- Supporting Disclosures Virtual Presentation 10:00-10:45am
- Volunteer Information Session (virtual) 2:00-2:45pm
Available all month long:
A free document of SVAM activities and information for schools and community. Use all month long to show your contribution to communities without sexual violence. Prevention and awareness are key. Respect, kindness, and healthy relationships are at the foundation of change. Plan to celebrate your activities and share your successes on MAY 26.
Join Ressie the Respect unicorn and share with us your ways you show respect and kindness to others. Being kind and respectful to animals, people and places is an important part in having safe and healthy communities. How do you help to make our communities and school safer?
Make your own Respect statement. Print out your own sign, tell us how/what you respect. Send in your statement signs to email@example.com or tag us in our social media. Use the #iRespect and #SVAM hashtags.
-iRespect – MADE TO RESPECT t-shirts
Individuals are encouraged to wear the classic CASASC ‘iRespect’ t-shirts on Friday, May 26. T-shirts are available at the main office for a nominal donation. Sizes are limited. Post a selfie of yourself wearing the t-shirt and tag CASASC in social media. Use the #iRespect and #SVAM hashtags.
Find these month-long offerings on the iRespect tab of the CASASC website https://casasc.ca/irespect/
Checking your social media feeds anyway? Follow CASASC on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube share our posts, tag CASASC and encourage others to do the same.
Maya Angelou’s Poem Still I Rise: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46446/still-i-rise
YouTube: Let’s Connect – CASASC
Hashtags: #iRespect, #SVAM, #cultureofrespect #rise