Sexual Assault Awareness Month gives a voice to survivors

Alycia Douglass

Published on May 2, 2017

From left, Kim Bauersfeld, Karina Boucher, Angela Vinet, and Meagan Sommers. (Alycia Douglass/TC Media)

CORNWALL, Ontario - May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month, and the Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) for Women of SDG&A are encouraging residents to help them in raising awareness and empowering survivors.

“We want people to know who we are as an organization, and what it looks like if you ever have been sexually assaulted and need counselling,” said Executive Director, Angela Vinet. “I think that’s huge because a lot of people have this stigma of it being a scary thing going into counselling, but we try our best to provide a home-like environment.”

The province-wide awareness campaign hopes to shed light on the impact of sexual assault, with a focus on preventing violence and supporting survivors. According to the Ontario Ministry of the Status of Women, one in three women in Canada will experience some form of sexual assault in her lifetime.

Germaine Jean-Louis is a survivor and has been coming to SASS for 24 years.  

“Nobody gets it like these ladies – you don’t have to explain it,” said Jean-Louis. “Feeling understood is more than half the battle.”

Jean-Louis says that the staff have been instrumental in her recovery process. “You don’t just get over something like abuse,” said Jean-Louis.

From the staff to the environment, SASS emanates warmth and compassion.

“It’s a comfortable place to land after a bad experience,” said Vinet.

For more information about SASS or their various initiatives, check out their website.