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 Respect. 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.
About Respect Month and the iRespect Campaign
SVAM is about more than awareness – the ultimate goal is prevention. This year’s theme centres around creating a culture of respect everywhere we go.
CASASC believes the best way to prevent sexual violence is through the concept of respect. The idea for Respect Month is based off of CASASC’s proactive campaign titled iRespect. The goal of iRespect is to encourage everyone to conduct their lives and treat one another with respect. In this, sexual violence, and violence in general, will be eliminated. This campaign focuses on awareness and creating positive changes, dispelling the negative connotations of “rape culture.”
By promoting respect for others, you promote respect for yourself which is the most important. Together, we can create a culture of respect.
Sexual violence needs to be addressed and a message of hope needs to be relayed to survivors. This is why we choose to take action through showing 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 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 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.
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 creating a culture of respect. Want to get involved? We’ve got you covered. We have an array of events and ways for you to participate in Respect Month. More details about each individual event will be released throughout the month.
Calendar of Events:
-May 1 – Launch of Respect Month
We are going to relaunch the iRespect campaign. Find out how you can take action and create a culture of respect wherever you go.
-May 10 and May 31 – iRespect Yoga
Join CASASC staff as they lead two virtual respect-themed yoga classes designed for all bodies and abilities. On May 10 tune in at noon for a 30-minute accessible work-breather session where you are. No mat required. Join us on May 31 at 7 p.m. for a hatha practice. The sessions will be hosted by CASASC on Instagram live. Preregistration is not required.
-May 7 and May 21 – Respect education social media takeover
Tune in to our social media accounts when the education team takes over to talk about creating a culture of respect and other sexual violence issues in our community.
-May 6 and TBA – Coffee Chat with CASASC
Our online coffee chat show will return with two featured guests during the month of May. Our first chat is set for Thursday, May 6 at 10:30 a.m. with Sabrina Samuel, author of She Was. The second chat date and guest will be announced soon.
-May 13 and May 19 – CASASC Services + Intro to Sexual Violence presentation
Curious about what services CASASC offers? Want to enhance your sexual violence education? The CASASC education team will be hosting two virtual presentations via Zoom. on May 13 at 10:30 a.m. and May 19 at 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Services + Intro to Sexual Violence presentation is a public awareness and education presentation that introduces and highlights definitions and concepts related to sexual violence. It provides an overview as well as disclosure support and of course, a birds-eye view of all services and programs available at CASASC.
-May 28 – Respect Day
Day of Action. Wear your #iRespect t-shirt or the colour teal on this day.
-May 29 – IRESPECT scavenger hunt (Postponed)
Hunt for giant letters hidden around Central Alberta. Win prizes, activities and more.
-May 9, May 16, May 23 and May 30 – iRespect Myself, iNourish My Body Recipe Series
Each Sunday watch for a new healthy recipe you can try at home.
Available all month long:
-iRespect colouring pages
Join Ressie the Respect unicorn and colour two pages. Ressie wants to know one thing you can do to show respect? Share with us your coloured pictures to be entered to win a special prize. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be entered into the draw.
-iRespect statement sign
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 hashtag.
-iRespect – MADE TO RESPECT t-shirts
Individuals are encouraged to wear the classic CASASC t-shirt throughout the month. 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 hashtag.
Listen to a respect and empowerment playlist curated by CASASC staff.
Find these month-long offerings on the iRespect tab of the CASASC website https://casasc.ca/irespect/ launching May 1.
Checking your social media feeds anyways? Follow CASASC on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube where we will be sharing information, statistics, resources, graphics and videos for SVAM throughout the month of May. Share our posts, tag CASASC and encourage others to do the same.
YouTube: Let’s Connect – CASASC
Hashtags: #iRespect, #SVAM, #cultureofrespect