Sexual Violence Prevention Month

May has been officially proclaimed as Sexual Violence Prevention Month by the Government of Alberta. The Commitment to Preventing and Addressing Sexual Violence helps to remove the stigma attached with sexual violence and supports building momentum for addressing this issue. Sagesse is committed to being a part of collective efforts across Alberta that address sexual and domestic violence and working towards making Alberta safer for everyone.

#Didyouknow many victims of sexual violence are in an intimate relationship with their abuser? Sexual violence and domestic violence exist within the scope of oppression. It is how a perpetrator abuses power and control over a victim. A perpetrator can use a variety of violent and non-violent methods to take away a victim’s agency. These may include: violence, intimidation, emotional abuse, controlling money, making the victim feel like they are “crazy”, and sexual assault. Sexual violence is another form of controlling and taking away a person’s agency. Although some domestic violence victims have outward signs of abuse, many suffer abuse in other ways.

We know that disclosures of sexual violence are often hidden within the context of domestic violence due to fear and the stigma attached. Oftentimes, our society does not believe that an individual can be a victim of sexual violence by their spouse or partner. As long as we continue this narrative and do not acknowledge the sexual violence between partners, we dismiss a huge portion of survivors. The link between sexual violence and domestic violence in undeniable.

Recently, Andrea Silverstone, Executive Director at Sagesse sat down with Deb Tomlinson, Chief Executive Officer at the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services to discuss the intersection between domestic violence and sexual violence and how we as agencies can better work together moving forward. Take a look: