The extreme rates of sexual and gender-based violence nationwide have been cited as an epidemic. According to Statistics Canada, sexual assault rates are at their highest in Canada since 1996. Sexual assaults reported to the police saw an uptick of 38.41% from 2017 to 2021, which does not account for most cases that are unreported to the police.
Historically, public awareness campaigns and related activities sought to teach individuals how to evade ‘high-risk’ situations as a means of prevention instead of holding perpetrators and systems of power accountable.
At ORCC, we know that to look at ways to end sexual violence, we must look at the spectrum of violence from its roots. Prevention relies heavily on scrutinizing systems and structures embedded in a long history of patriarchy and colonialism that persists today. While no demographic is unaffected by sexual violence, it is a tool of power, domination, and oppression that continues to be used by dominant groups who actively target minoritized people. When discussing ways to end this perpetual cycle, we must collectively look for ways to disrupt and dismantle policies, laws, and societal norms that foster its existence, including ways to individually and/or collectively take action.
For Sexual Violence Prevention Month, ORCC calls all Canadians, but especially those with the power to make meaningful systemic change to draw attention to sexual and gender-based violence as epidemics that continue to erode the fabric of our broader society and marginalized communities. Surface solutions cannot solve serious issues. We are actively working to be part of deeper solutions that support survivors and educate our community.
We do this by:
Confronting the Systemic Roots of Sexual Violence
We are at a time when access to information is at our fingertips, and countless resources are available to help us understand how deep the roots of sexual violence go. ORCC is in the midst of a journey of meaningful learning and necessary unlearning to deepen our understanding of power in society and develop a clear logic model that we will work through as we grow and change. The more we know, the better we can work to continuously meet the unique needs of the clients and communities we serve.
Ensuring People Can Be Safe in Their Daily Lives
Our organization is sitting at tables with local partners and community organizations to identify opportunities for funding to invest in supports so people can be safe(r) in their daily lives. Topics of discussion include:
- Accessible, inclusive supports
- Guaranteed basic income funding
- Better transportation
- Practical assistance in support of those targeted by perpetrators.
Survivors should never be in a position where they can’t afford to leave violent situations.
Providing Support for Those Experiencing Violence
ORCC offers confidential, free trauma-informed one-to-one and group counselling, service navigation, and crisis line support. Our 24/7 Crisis Line is available to support the immediate emotional needs of people with lived experience of sexual and/or gender-based violence. Call 613-562-2333.
Alternatively, Chat & Text Support is also available for anyone needing assistance from 12 pm – 12 am, seven days a week—text 613-544-6424.
Sexual violence prevention isn’t just a month; it’s a movement. Lend your voice to those of the many calling for the violence and the silence to end. You can: