Supporting someone that has been sexually assaulted
You do not have to be a counsellor or a therapist to support someone who has experienced sexualized violence to respond to or support someone that has been sexually assaulted. If you are hearing a disclosure, it means that you have already gained some trust with the person who is telling you their story. One of the most devastating aspects of sexualized violence is the loss of power and control that victims experience. For this reason, it is extremely important to let them know that they are in control of what happens to them following the assault. You can help by empowering the survivor to make decisions about their own healing process. Provide options, such as:
- Do you want to report to the police, or not?
- Do you want medical care, or not?
- Do you want to access counselling, or not?
There are many things that you can do to help a person feel more comfortable after they have been sexually assaulted. The best way to find out what would be most helpful, is to ask that person what they need right now. Check in around their physical needs. Do they need a blanket to stay warm, or a pillow to hug? Be sure to give them options at every opportunity, such as where they would like to sit while you talk. You can also ask if there is anyone else that they would like to notify about what has happened, and whether you can be of any assistance contacting that person. Let them know that they do not have to talk about any of the details of what happened unless it is important to them. They can take their time to make sense of what happened. Respect the person’s choices, even if the decisions do not feel right to you, or are different than the ones you would make. Remember, the most important thing that you can do right now is to show them that they are in control. If someone tells you that they have experienced sexualized violence, start by believing. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted, no matter what.
Make a donation
Avalon Centre receives funding from the provincial department of Community Services; this funding is insufficient relative to the demand for services related to sexualized violence in our community. The SANE Program is funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Health, and coordinated by Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. Avalon also on occasion receives funding for special projects through 3rd party fundraising: we welcome proposals for events or projects that benefit Avalon Centre. As a registered charity, we are able to issue tax receipts for donations and greatly appreciate the support of our community. Donations can be made online at: https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/3745, sent to Avalon, or dropped off at the office.
We often get inquires about item donations. These are the following items that may be helpful:
- Sanitary napkins/tampons
- Art supplies
Volunteer Opportunities and Student Placements at Avalon Centre
Avalon Centre does not have the resources to operate a formal volunteer program. Volunteer opportunities are limited to our Board of Directors. On occasion, we may take volunteers with prior experience working at community based women’s organizations, gender justice organizations, and/or sexual assault centres to undertake specific projects such as research, fundraising, public awareness, event planning etc. If you would like to be added to our database of volunteers to receive notifications of volunteer call-outs, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Avalon Centre accepts student placements from programs such as: Bachelors of Social Work, Master’s of Social Work, Counselling, Nursing, Medicine, Gender and Women’s Studies, Law, Public Education, etc. The role of students vary depending on thier program and their level of experience. Students are provided experience working with supervision under three programs offered by Avalon Centre: Counselling, Community Education/Training, and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program (SANE).
If you are interested in a student placement or becoming a Board member, please contact Jackie Stevens at email@example.com
Be an Agent For Social Change
You can fight sexualized violence in many ways. Challenge intersecting systems of oppression in yourself, your peers, and your community. Write letters to the editor, MLA, MP or City Counselor, challenge discriminatory comments, policies, procedures and behaviors, engage with community members and organizations, and organize and take action because sexualized violence affects us all.