Provin­cial cam­paign shows sur­vivors com­ing for­ward

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - News - el­iz­a­beth Cameron EL­IZ­A­BETH CAMERON/METRO

Sex­ual as­sault sur­vivors are be­ing taken se­ri­ously when they con­fide in oth­ers, or­ga­niz­ers be­hind Al­berta’s #IBelieveYou cam­paign an­nounced Mon­day.

Re­port­ing of sex­ual as­sault has in­creased 20 per cent in Cal­gary and 13 per cent in Ed­mon­ton since the four-year cam­paign launched two years ago, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­a­tion of Al­berta Sex­ual As­sault Ser­vices (AASAS).

The AASAS also re­ported a 53 per cent jump in new coun­selling clients com­pared to be­fore the cam­paign. The or­ga­ni­za­tion found Al­ber­tans are 12 times more likely to be­lieve some­one who con­fides to them about a sex­ual as­sault.

“The fear (of not be­ing be­lieved) is fad­ing,” said Deb Tom­lin­son, CEO of AASAS. “When we see an in­crease in re­port­ing, we know we’re do­ing a bet­ter job help­ing sur­vivors feel safe to tell.”

This year, for the first time, cam­paign posters will re­flect a per­son with a dis­abil­ity to make the point that any­one can be a vic­tim of sex­ual as­sault (dif­fer­ent ages, races, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tions and gen­ders are al­ready rep­re­sented in the cam­paign).

“That’s why this cam­paign is vi­tally im­por­tant, it pro­vides a voice for ev­ery­one,” said Sheila Serup, who spoke on be­half of the Premier’s Coun­cil on the Sta­tus of Per­son’s with Dis­abil­i­ties.

She said only an es­ti­mated 20 per cent of sex­ual abuse cases in­volv­ing dis­abled peo­ple are re­ported to au­thor­i­ties.

A new 30-sec­ond PSA for tele­vi­sion shows what a com­pas­sion­ate re­sponse from friends and fam­ily looks like when some­one tells them about a sex­ual as­sault.

Portable ‘graf­fiti walls’ have also been in­stalled on 28 post­sec­ondary cam­puses in Al­berta for stu­dents to write their own mes­sages of sup­port to sur­vivors.

The fear of not be­ing be­lieved is fad­ing. Deb Tom­lin­son, CEO of AASAS Car­rie Grant with St. Mary’s Univer­sity in Cal­gary writes a mes­sage of sup­port on an #IBelieveYou ‘graf­fiti wall’ at the cam­paign’s yearly launch on Mon­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.