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 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 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. More details about each individual event will be released throughout the month.
Download the SVAM calendar here
Calendar of Events:
-Launch of SVAM
-Red Dress Day
-Rockin’ Red Deer Lip Sync Battle Event (CANCELLED)
-iRespect Yoga in the Park
-Social media takeover
-Ask An Expert Parenting + Sexualized Behaviour conversation with our clinical expert
-iRespect Yoga in the Park
Available all month long:
A free document of SVAM activities + information for schools and community.
-iRespect colouring pages
Join Ressie the Respect unicorn and colour two pages.
-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 on May 27. 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.
-iRespect playlist Vol. 2
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.
Your week-to-week guide: RISE
Week 1: Empower (May 1 – May 7)
Week 2: Support (May 8 – May 14)
Week 3: Inspire (May 15 – May 21)
Week 4: Respect (May 22 – May 28)
Checking your social media feeds anyway? 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.
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