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The YWCA Canada creative campaign “Never Blame the Victim” draws attention to the ways in which survivors of sexual violence are subjected to judgement instead of support. During the month of May, we take part in this campaign to raise important awareness and challenge the stigma and judgement surrounding sexual violence. Awareness and advocacy matters. When we #ChooseToSee the ways sexual violence impacts all, we can challenge it, change the story, and end the stigma.
Trigger Warning // Discussion of rape and victim shaming
Saskatchewan’s rate of interpersonal violence is double the national average. According to a report from CBC Saskatchewan, Regina Police Service investigated 207 sexual assaults in 2021, up from 192 in 2020 and an increase of 70 per cent compared to 2012, according to the force’s 2021 crime statistics. Officers investigated 443 sexual violations in 2021, a jump of 10.5 per cent over the five-year-average of 401, according to the Saskatoon Police Service 2021 Business Plan Year End Report. In 2021, 258 sex crimes were reported to Regina Police Service, but the statistics show us that most sexual assaults go unreported.
We know that things won’t change until we all stand up and do our part to build awareness, challenge the stigma, and change the story for sexual assault survivors, so nobody is ever made to feel like an assault is their fault. This year, we are asking our community to #ChooseToSee:
#ChooseToSee that so many women feel afraid to walk alone at night
#ChooseToSee that victim-blaming comments continue to silence survivors
#ChooseToSee that every one of us can speak up against harmful actions
We ask that you join us in spreading this message, and being part of the change!
When someone is sexually assaulted, it can weigh on them for the rest of their life. And far too often, victims continue to experience victim blaming after the assault: They may hear that it happened because they were drinking, or dressed a certain way, or ‘asking for it.’
These mentalities continue to perpetuate harmful and ignorant views around sexual assault that keep survivors from reporting assaults and seeking support.
Survivors often carry the stigma and the trauma of an assault alone and in silence.
But together we can shift the stigma of sexual assault off of survivors, and do our part to call out abusive actions and mentalities in our communities.
• Let your community know why you #neverblamethevictim and #choosetosee – share your story on social media, tag us, @ywcaregina, and share our social media posts to raise awareness and be an advocate
• Learn about bystander intervention training and what you can do to be an ally and supporter of people at risk of being assaulted
• Support organizations that raise awareness and offer services to survivors, like Regina Sexual Assault Centre and YWCA Regina
• Watch the video from YWCA Canada, and learn how sexual assault and the stigma associated impacts survivors
• Spot our coasters and stickers in bars, restaurants, and businesses in Regina from May 13 – 21: Take a moment to think about your role as an ally and supporter in ending sexual violence