Survivor’s Hope Brings 16 Days of Activism to Regional Youth

Sexual violence has been in the media spotlight for the last number of weeks. From the coverage of celebrity sexual assault allegations to the horrifying experience of Rinelle Harper, sexual violence has dominated recent headlines. It is fitting that Manitoba Status of Women chose “Popular Culture, Media, and You” as the theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism.

“We thought that this year’s theme was perfect for talking to youth about the connection between the media we consume and our attitudes toward gender and relationships,” said Stephanie Klassen, Reaching Out Program Coordinator at Survivor’s Hope. “We are hoping to visit some high schools in the region with an interactive display that explores the impact media has on us all and how we can make healthy choices in spite of a lot of unhealthy options!”

Each year, the 16 Days of Activism begin on November 25 with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends on December 10 with Human Rights Day. These 16 days also include December 6, Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. 16 Days is recognized internationally as an opportunity to focus on the unique issues related to women’s experience of violence.

Recent media coverage of sexual violence has been paired with local stories about the resources that are available to victims of sexual assault. A recent series of stories in the news explored the sexual assault program at Health Science Centre, the role of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, and the upcoming sexual assault response protocol at the University of Manitoba.

Despite the urban focus of these stories, Winnipeg is not the only place that offers programming to support victims of sexual violence. Survivor’s Hope Crisis Centre runs the only sexual violence resource centre in rural Manitoba.  “The SARAH program that operates through RCMP detachments and Emergency Rooms in the northeast is the only rural sexual violence crisis intervention program in Manitoba,” said Klassen. “I think this makes the northeast the best served rural region of the province in terms of support in the aftermath of a sexual assault.”

The SARAH program can provide a support worker to anyone who attends the ER after a sexual assault, or reports a sexual assault to the RCMP.  “SARAH workers are on call 24/7, 365 days a year, to walk alongside victims of sexual assault as they seek medical attention or report to the RCMP. Our workers are helpful for current and historical cases of sexual assault,” said Klassen. “Anyone can access the SARAH program by requesting a SARAH worker at the Beausejour, Pine Falls, and Pinawa hospitals or at the local RCMP detachments.”  Klassen also reports that Survivor’s Hope is currently looking at opening an office in Powerview-Pine Falls early in 2015 to provide additional services in that region.

The 24 hour toll-free provincial sexual assault crisis phone line, offered through Klinic Community Health Centre in Winnipeg at 1-888-292-7565, is available to support victims of sexual violence, no matter where they live in the province.16 days poster 2014

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