Waterloo Region is booming. Between development, the light rail transit and our tech industry, there is no shortage of growth. But underneath the surface, there’s a systemic and tragic problem of epic proportions that affects us all - sexual violence. How does this affect us locally, why should you care and how can you provide support? Sara Casselman, Executive Director from the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region joins Elizabeth Heald, President & CEO from Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation to answer these questions. We’ll also hear from Dianne, a local survivor of sexual assault, about her story and what happened when she reached out to SASC for support.
Justice, Healing and Hope:
TW: Sexual Assault, Childhood Sexual Abuse
When a survivor of sexual violence chooses to report an assault, will justice be served? In this episode, Sara Casselman, Executive Director from the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region and Elizabeth Heald, President & CEO from Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, discuss justice and healing for survivors. We’ll also hear more from Dianne, who shares what her journey through the court system looked like. We will talk about how people can get involved and provide support.
In early 2020, Elizabeth and Sara will be back on the Chapter One podcast to share the innovative way that SASC is working on preventing violence in Waterloo Region by engaging male allies.
This past year, our Centre has walked with hundreds of local survivors of sexual violence through their entire healing journey. Today, we want to share one survivor's healing journey with you - Dianne. Stories like Dianne's can be tough to hear; if you're not up to hearing this story today, please scroll on. If you or a loved one needs support, we are here. 24 Hour Support Line: 519-741-8633.
When Dianne was 16, she’d endured all she could. The assaults were becoming more aggressive. Something needed to shift. One morning she stayed home from school and mustered up the courage for a conversation with her mom.
Dianne’s words hung in the air – her stepfather had been abusing her.
The next day while her stepfather sat in his recliner, Dianne’s mom packed up her belongings and told her to leave. It would take years and a suicide attempt for Dianne to reach out to us at the Sexual Assault Support Centre.
Thanks to our supporters, we are there when someone has experienced the darkest time in their life. But, today there is a challenge we are facing…
In the post-#MeToo era, we’ve been flooded with calls for support. The demand for our services has exploded. Five years ago, 40 survivors on our wait list was a crisis; now we have 140. It’s our new normal.
As a Sexual Assault Support Centre, we wrap survivors in community care. We walk beside them on their journey. Our support is free and doesn’t come with time limits. For thirty years our motto’s been “You are NOT alone.” In the post-#MeToo era, we need your help to say this with confidence to survivors.
Dianne reached out at a time without waitlists. She called our 24-Hour Support Line. She attended our groups. She received individual counselling. When she decided she wanted to report, our volunteers went to the police station with her, and when the time came, a member of our staff team was by her side in court.
The seeds our team planted took root; Dianne went back to school, graduating in 2017. She’s now a social service worker, mother, partner, and a volunteer in our Public Education Program.
We asked Dianne how it would have felt to be added to a yearlong waitlist. She said it would’ve confirmed that she wasn’t important. That yet again her story wasn’t believed. That she wasn’t worth it.
Friends, your donation can have a big impact - it can let survivors waiting know that they are worth it. Will you join us today as a monthly donor?
Your monthly contribution can change lives:
$10 a month can provide survivors with practical assistance such as bus tickets, food, and self-care items
$25 a month can provide 8 hours of coverage on our 24 Hour Support Line, ensuring a trained and caring person is always available to take a call
$50 a month can support workshops for youth about consent and healthy-relationships
$100 a month is transformative; it can ensure a survivor receives regular counselling throughout the year (2x a month)
To make a monthly (or one-time) donation safely and securely, please visit our website at www.sascwr.org/donate. Or, you may send cheques to: Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region, 300 -151 Frederick St. Kitchener, Ontario N2H 2M2
Thank you for standing with survivors of sexual violence. With your support, we can build a brighter future for survivors like Dianne, and for our entire community.
The message above was originally shared on November 5, 2019 at Social Venture Partners Waterloo Region's Perfect Pitch event. To see our Perfect Pitch, check out the video below!
More about this video:
This fall, SASC had an amazing opportunity to join Social Venture Partners' Perfect Pitch program. Over several weeks, SASC staff were paired with four incredible coaches (Andrea Harding, Dave Caputo, Gary Abbott and Nancy Fox) who guided us through several workshops led by industry professionals on creating the Perfect Pitch.
On the evening of November 5th, SASC presented our pitch along with 6 other local charities. After weeks of practice, we were absolutely thrilled to have been chosen for the Perfect Pitch Audience’s Choice Award and Teens’ Choice Award!
Big thanks to SVP Waterloo Region and our coaches for an amazing experience. We are so ecstatic about the outcome of this program, and now have the Perfect Pitch in our toolkit!
Video credit: Social Venture Partners/Sherwood Audio
We have recently added our 2020 winter programs to our website! Click the image below (or, click here) to see what we have planned.