The majority of all sexual assaults are never reported, a statistic that local advocates are hoping to change as the province and City of Prince Albert proclaim this week Sexual Assault Awareness Week.
The Prince Albert Mobile Crisis Unit and Rise UP Community Development Inc. held a joint event Monday at the kick off to Sexual Assault Awareness Week, which runs May 13-18. Events in Prince Albert this week include a self-defence skills class, a screening of the documentary Swift Current, and a walk from Prince Albert to Saskatoon Saturday morning to raise abuse awareness.
Jerri Frantik, a sexual assault counsellor with Prince Albert Mobile Crisis, said many assaults go unreported. According to Fantik, just 52 sexual assaults were reported in Prince Albert in the one year between December 2016 and December 2017.
“People in Prince Albert don’t report sexual assaults or sexual violence,” Frantik told paNOW. “We’re hoping that by talking about it, that we’ll be able to allow them to feel safer and come forward.”
Of the reported sexual assaults between 2016 and 2017, 88 per cent were reported by women and 12 per cent were reported by men. Thirteen per cent of all assaults reported involved inter-personal or domestic violence between partners.
Karla Ethier, with the Prince Albert Mobile Crisis Unit's sexual assault program, said the goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Week is to encourage more discussion around what sexual assault is and what help is available for victims.
“The theme we’ve sort of discovered is ‘Taking our Power Back,’ so we’re talking about how all of us have power in this society to stop this violent act from continuing,” Ethier said. “We just want to encourage survivors talking about it, and us as parents talking to our children about it and not being afraid to have this taboo subject anymore. That’s how we take our power back; that’s how we take our community back.”
Patricia Crowe, a sexual abuse survivor who works with the recently-incorporated non-profit Rise UP Community Development Inc., spoke about five generations of her family affected by sexual abuse. She said it’s important for survivors of abuse to understand that they aren’t alone.
“I wanted those next generations and other individuals who were survivors to know that they could get their power back,” Crowe said. “A lot of our individuals are still hurting in their own ways, and so if they don’t have their own personal power right now to stand up and to rise up and to get involved and to step up, then that’s fine; that’s what we do.”
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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