Night of Songs and Stories raises funds for Avalon to help sexual assault survivors

 

Night of songs and stories raises funds for Avalon to help sexual assault survivors

 

On April 21, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre hosted a benefit concert at St. Matthew’s United Church called “Together Our Voices Are Powerful.”

 

The theme of the fundraiser was inspired by the 2018 theme of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), which encourages individuals and communities to raise their collective voices to speak out against sexualized violence.

 

From the #MeToo to the Time’s Up movement, this year the voices of survivors have gained momentum and mainstream acknowledgment within public discourse. Ultimately, this encourages people to mobilize and use their voices for social and systemic change.

 

During the evening, acclaimed local artists Neon Dreams, Jodi Guthro, Makayla Lynn, T. Thomason and Emily Stuart embraced their voices to support Avalon and speak out against sexualized violence.

 

In an incredible demonstration of bravery, Emily shared her own story with Halifax Star in advance of the event.

“I chose to speak out about a couple of my experiences with sexual assault through the media leading up to the fundraiser because I knew how important it would be to get the conversation started,” said Emily. “People shy away from the conversation for lots of reasons including fear, shame, not wanting to make other people uncomfortable, and sometimes denial of the event itself. I know that there is strength in numbers and if more people know that there is a huge team of people who have been through similar situations and are willing to help them, they will be more likely to start their healing process.”

 

In addition to the musical acts at the event, over 50 local businesses contributed items for a silent auction, and local writer Stephanie Domet generously offered her time to emcee the evening. In total, the benefit concert raised over $9000 for Avalon! Those funds will be put towards a variety of programs and services for sexual assault survivors including the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, the Therapeutic Counselling Program and the Prevention, Intervention, and Awareness (PIA) Program.

Due to its capacity in the past few years, Avalon stopped organizing an annual fundraiser and engaged in third-party fundraising, making “Together Our Voices Our Powerful” an exciting new venture into annual fundraising events. Avalon cannot exclusively rely on government funding and relies on private and corporate donations to maintain our daily operations. As such, an event like this is tremendously important to our organization.

 

Together Our Voice Are Powerful was made possible through the support of our community. A volunteer event planning committee was assembled last fall, and day-of volunteers from Medavie Blue Cross kindly donated their time along with Avalon board and staff members.

“Having the opportunity to contribute to a cause that is continuously met with stigma was empowering,” said Emily Faulkner, a member of the event planning committee. “The event was about more than fundraising, it was an opportunity to raise awareness for Avalon and survivors, and remind people that our voices not only matter, they have impact too.”

 

Support for this event helps ensure that Avalon can continue to run its programs and services and continue supporting survivors here in Halifax and across Nova Scotia.

 

The benefit concert was a night of solidarity and support for survivors of sexual assault. To everyone who helped make the night possible – and especially to those who donated their time, money or talent – we want to thank you for supporting Avalon. Together we are building safer communities and a culture of consent, and that’s powerful.