2 Articles: Sexual Assault Awareness Week in Regina

Sexual Assault Awareness Week in Regina

From the Leader Post, April 2, 2012  by Josh Hamelin

REGINA — This week, Regina residents are being asked to stop and take the time to discuss the issue of sexual assault.

“Of course it’s a topic that makes people uncomfortable. Just the words make people uncomfortable, but I guess that’s the whole point,” said Debbie House, administrator for the Regina Women’s Community Centre and Sexual Assault Line.

“As soon as we get comfortable with the word, then perhaps people will become more comfortable in talking about it more openly and in reporting to the police.”

Pat Fiacco, mayor of Regina, officially proclaimed the week, which runs until Sunday.

“I think leaders right across the country, especially government leaders, need to ensure that they lend their voice to the cause,” Fiacco said.

“I think it’s becoming less of an issue as far as public discussion is concerned. You here stories of individuals that were victimized years ago that had finally had the … I’m not going to say the word ‘courage’ … It’s about being able to talk about it and feeling that they can.”

To kick off the week. the women’s centre was at the Scarth Street Mall on Monday, handing out magnets to the public, which can be hung on cars, fridges, windows or other visible locations.

The magnets are shaped like a stop sign and coloured teal — the official colour for sexual assault awareness week — and have yellow writing that says, “Stop sexual assault.”

Magnets can also be picked up at the centre’s office (1830 MacKay St.).

Rod McKendrick, an interpersonal violence specialist with Victim Services for Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice, said, “It’s important to make the community at large more knowledgeable on the issues around sexual assault and the services that are available to victims of sexual assault.”

According to Statistics Canada, 29 per cent of children will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. Only eight per cent of sexual assault cases are reported to the police. One of the problems, House said, is the majority of assaults take place by people who are known to the victim — 87 per cent, according to statistics.

“There’s just fear of being re-victimized in court, or not being believed, and all of that,” she said. “People come here for counselling and I would say that a good 80 per cent do not report to the police.”

Fiacco feels it’s important for victims to come forward.

“It should never remain silent because the individuals, the perpetrators, need to be dealt with, so I think it’s important to raise awareness and provide places that victims can go and get help,” he said.

The women’s centre is primarily a counselling service, though it has a 24-hour sexual assault line (352-0434) that fields over 2,500 calls a year. But this week, House said, is more about supporting the victims.

“There are so many kids who have been victimized by adults, whether it’s parents or coaches or teachers, or whatever,” House said. “They carry that with them and it just stays with them and affects every part of their life.

“They don’t even know that until they’re in counselling and see how their behaviours have been altered because of their experiences.”

 

Reginans asked to talk about sexual assault

 By Jonathan Hamelin, Leader-Post April 3, 2012

This week, Regina residents are being asked to stop and take the time to discuss the issue of sexual assault.

“Of course it’s a topic that makes people uncomfortable. Just the words make people uncomfortable, but I guess that’s the whole point,” said Debbie House, administrator for the Regina Women’s Community Centre and Sexual Assault Line.

“As soon as we get comfortable with the word, then perhaps people will become more comfortable in talking about it more openly and in reporting to the police.”

Mayor Pat Fiacco officially proclaimed Sexual Assault Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday.

“I think leaders right across the country, especially government leaders, need to ensure that they lend their voice to the cause,” Fiacco said.

“I think it’s becoming less of an issue as far as public discussion is concerned. You here stories of individuals that were victimized years ago that had finally had the … I’m not going to say the word ‘courage’ … It’s about being able to talk about it and feeling that they can.”

To kick off the week, women’s centre staff were at the F.W. Hill Mall on Monday handing out magnets to the public, which can be hung on cars, fridges, windows or other visible locations.

The magnets are shaped like a stop sign and coloured teal – the official colour for Sexual Assault Awareness Week – and have yellow writing that says, “Stop sexual assault.”

Magnets can also be picked up at the centre’s office at 1830 MacKay St.

Rod McKendrick, an interpersonal violence specialist with Victim Services for Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice, said, “It’s important to make the community at large more knowledgeable on the issues around sexual assault and the services that are available to victims of sexual assault.”

According to Statistics Canada, 29 per cent of children will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. Only eight per cent of sexual assault cases are reported to the police. One of the problems, House said, is the majority of assaults take place by people who are known to the victim – 87 per cent, according to statistics.

“There’s just fear of being revictimized in court, or not being believed, and all of that,” she said. “People come here for counselling and I would say that a good 80 per cent do not report to the police.”

Fiacco feels it’s important for victims to come forward.

“It should never remain silent because the individuals, the perpetrators, need to be dealt with, so I think it’s important to raise awareness and provide places that victims can go and get help,” he said.

The women’s centre is primarily a counselling service, though it has a 24-hour sexual assault line (352-0434) that fields more than 2,500 calls a year. But this week, House said, is more about supporting the victims.

“There are so many kids who have been victimized by adults, whether it’s parents or coaches or teachers, or whatever,” House said. “They carry that with them and it just stays with them and affects every part of their life.

“They don’t even know that until they’re in counselling and see how their behaviours have been altered because of their experiences.”

Visit www.reginawomenscentre.com for more information.

Crystal - PATHS Director of Member Programs and Services