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February 2018
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Alberta Initiatives

The  #IBelieveYou campaign has played a role in increasing the number of sexual violence incidents being reported to police. 

In the above infographic, the 20% increase reported by the Calgary Police Service (CPS) happened in 2016. The CPS just released their data on sex crime investigations for 2017 - showing a 32% increase over the previous year. An increase that is also partly due to the #MeToo movement. 

AASAS and the #IBelieveYou campaign partners are building a culture of believing in Alberta, and when there is an increase in reporting we know we’re doing a better job of helping survivors feel safe to tell and seek help.
#IBelieveYou at BC University

The AASAS team was excited to get a call from Thompson Rivers University whose volleyball team - the WolfPack - was keen to participate in the #IBelieveYou campaign. 

In January they created a video discussing sexual violence and demonstrating support for survivors through believing.  
 
#MeToo Rally - Moving Beyond the Hashtag

The organizers of the Women's March in Edmonton are planning a rally on March 10th at the Alberta Legislature. 

Addressing the question: How do we move #beyondthehashtag? and in honour of International Women’s Day, they will rally in support of the strong survivors who added their voice to #metoo and demonstrate that any act of harassment or assault is wrong. Watch for more details and please share the FaceBook event information far and wide.

In the News

Increased Demand and Need for Funding

The pressure being put on AASAS member organizations by the increased demand for services continues to be an issue. The culture shift we seem to be experiencing through #IBelieveYou and #MeToo is empowering more people who have experienced sexual violence to ask for help. 

This situation was covered in a variety of news media throughout the province:
Chat News in Medicine Hat spoke with the Sexual Assault Response Committee (SARC).

Deb Tomlinson, CEO of AASAS, was interviewed by the Calgary Herald.

CTV spoke with service providers in Lethbridge.

There are a number of ways to support the sexual assault service providers in Alberta including gala fundraisers that can be found in the Member Agency Events & Updates below.
Sexual Violence Case Impacts University of Calgary

Connor Neurauter, who plead guilty to a single count of sexual interference with a person under 16, was sentenced to 90 days behind bars — a sentence that was delayed until May to avoid interfering with his studies at the University of Calgary. 

The delayed sentence raised concerns with students on campus who were worried about their own safety and resulted in a petition to expel Neurauter. 

It also resulted in an outcry from people concerned about the delay in serving the sentence - with many feeling the punishment should come first and the court shouldn't have been so concerned about the needs of the perpetrator.

“This decision serves to give messages to people that sexual violence is not a serious crime within some segments of the justice system — that the perpetrator’s needs come first and that survivors have little voice within a system that generally already feels quite unsafe for people who experience sexual violence,” Danielle Aubry, Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse.

Read the coverage in the Calgary Sun and on CTV

Training Opportunities

Rejection Resilience - February 5th

Karen BK Chan, a sex and emotional literacy educator, is presenting a workshop - Rejection Resilience - at the University of Calgary on February 5th. In this workshop, participants will use Emotional Intelligence tools and her recent book Monster to explore and transform their relationship to rejection.

This conversation is very important because people are quite well educated about consent, but aren't taught how to handle rejection. It's personal and a blow to confidence and ego to receive a verbal, or non-verbal, 'no'. 
First Responder to Sexual Assault and Abuse Training

What will Participants Learn?

This training is intended to build the capacity of professionals, paraprofessionals and community members to assess and respond effectively to disclosures of sexual assault and sexual abuse. Survivors who receive safe and supportive responses to disclosures of sexual violence are more likely to reach out for help from medical and counselling services and/ or report to police. First Responder to Sexual Assault and Abuse Training™ is a comprehensive two day training, inclusive of the full continuum of sexual violence and across the lifespan.

Upcoming training dates:
Calgary February 15-16 (Training is full)
Bonnyville March 1-2 (Private training)
Fort McMurray March 5-6 (Training is full)
Fort McMurray March 7-8 (Private training for Keyano College)
Edmonton March 8-9 (Open training)

Please visit the AASAS website regularly for new training dates.

If you would like to coordinate a First Responder Training in your community, organization, or institution – please email AASAS.
Please RSVP by February 22

Member Agency Events & Updates

“ManEnough?”™ is an eight week program that runs on Wednesday evenings starting in March 2018 from 6:00pm-9:00pm at Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse.

The “ManEnough?”™ Program is designed assist men in the development of the skills, language, and tools needed to confidently and effectively challenge attitudes and beliefs that support violence against women, and work towards ending gender based violence by exploring topics such as:
  • Gender and Healthy Sexuality
  • Male Privilege
  • Men’s Violence Against Women
  • Male Culture and Media
  • Pornography
  • Facilitating Change
CASASC Sexual Assault Text and Webchat Line Sees Increase

It’s 1:21 a.m.
A dedicated volunteer located somewhere in Alberta is awake. Wearily they keep refreshing their webpage, eluding sleep, just in case someone out there somewhere in the province wants to chat during their shift.

The call comes in at 1:22 a.m. The response is swift, with the volunteer responding with words of affirmation, support and  information, responding well into the early morning.


This is the purpose of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre’s (CASASC) text and webchat line – supporting those affected by sexual assault at any hour, in a digital accessible way.

Since its inception in May 2016, the text and webchat crisis line has been increasing in usage and frequency.

In the first year of operation, the line received 112 chats. Over this past year volunteers responded to 211 chats, reflecting at 88% increase in usage. From July 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017, the line received 136 chats, which averages to well over one contact per day.

With a large spotlight currently shining on sexual assault and harassment in the media, and heightened engagement through social media campaigns like #Metoo and #IBelieveYou, providing support to these individuals has never been more essential.
 
Dragonfly - Building Community Relationships

The Dragonfly Centre presented "Relationships and Consent" to the Bonnyville Pontiacs, their local Junior 'A' hockey team. Twenty players and the manager participated and feedback was very positive.

In fact, in February the Pontiacs will volunteer to go to the Bonnyville schools and help promote the "Who Do You tell" program.

The Dragonfly Centre has also been building a strong relationship with the local RCMP who support and attend their Digital Safety presentations.
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