Conversations

Conversations

Why do we silence sexual assault conversations? Sexual assault in my opinion is a very controversial topic. Not in the sense that people agree or disagree in its seriousness but rather in the degree of how prevalent discussions and conversations surrounding sexual assault should be in our society. I bet if I asked you to define what exactly sexual assault was, a lot of you would be able to give me an answer that is relatively close to its legal definition.  Some of you might even be able to go a step further and recite some facts and statistics surrounding sexual assault. But how many of these facts and statistics would be related to the mental and emotional components of being sexually assaulted? It seems as if the only time it’s okay talking about sexual assault openly is when you’re talking about it in terms of numbers or facts. Why? Because it’s just easier that way, by choosing an apathetic route towards...
Read More
Self Love

Self Love

When you think of what you love, do you think of yourself? We’ve all experienced or at least been exposed to some form of love; the love between two partners, the love a mother has for her child, the love shared by two best-friends, or even the love between a man and his dog. Aside from the good feeling that love embodies, it has the ability to heal. Seems kind of far-fetched doesn't it? I mean come on… love is just a feeling after all. But think about the first time you ever scraped your knee and it hurt so much, but the moment your mom came and picked you up all that pain minimized. Or the time you experienced your first heartbreak, you thought you met the love of your life but then just like that you lost it. Ok, there’s no way love can heal the pain of losing your first love, which is a fair assumption but...
Read More
IF IT’S NOT OK ON THE SIDEWALK, IT’S NOT OK ONLINE

IF IT’S NOT OK ON THE SIDEWALK, IT’S NOT OK ONLINE

IF IT’S NOT OK ON THE SIDEWALK, IT’S NOT OK ONLINE   Last spring I had 75 Grade 2&3 students in a classroom for an Internet Safety presentation. The room was buzzing with energy.  Elementary kids love, like really love, talking about the Internet. At one point, I asked the students to put up their hands if they believed that spending time online was “real life”.  Not one hand went up.  The room got quiet as they thought about what I was asking. Heads slowly began to shake back and forth. I asked why spending time online, either playing games or messaging friends was not real life.  The answers were astounding…and make sense, when you’re 7 or 8 eight years old.   “Your looking at a screen, and the screen is a thing, it’s not alive.” “You may be talking to a friend, but you can’t reach out and touch them…so it’s not real life because your friend isn’t actually there.” “The computer is made of...
Read More
Why Public Education?

Why Public Education?

  WHY PUBLIC EDUCATION?   Welcome to Saffron Centre’s Public Education Blog.  Why a blog? Because we know our stuff and we want parents to be equipped to talk to their kids about things that matter to their personal development.  There are times, however, that even the most well intentioned parents don’t know how to start a certain conversation, don’t feel knowledgeable enough on certain topics, don’t know what’s going in in the world of their child, can’t make it our to a parent presentations, or just don’t know what they don’t know.  We live in a fast paced world and it’s hard to keep up.   Our public educators spend almost all day every day in the classrooms teaching on topics like Internet Safety, Bullying, Healthy Relationships, Personal Boundaries, Harassment, Assault, and Self Image. We see things. We hear things. We have opportunities to ask questions and tease out honest answers. We have an inside track to what’s trending in the schools and on...
Read More
#relationshipgo’s vs #relationshipno’s

#relationshipgo’s vs #relationshipno’s

#Relationshipgoals vs. #Relationshipno’s   When we think of sexual abuse perpetrators a common vision that may pop into our minds is the media’s ominous portrayal. A hooded individual lurking in the shadows of an alley or waiting in the bushes of a secluded walking trail. What we rarely think of is our significant other. We need to remind ourselves that even though we have committed ourselves to this person, they do not own our bodies. Just because we are in a relationship with someone does not give him or her the right to take ownership of our bodies and demand sexual acts. Consent always needs to be given, whether in a relationship or not.   Relationship No’s are: •    Unwanted kissing or touching. •    Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity. •    Rape or attempted rape. •    Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control. •    Keeping someone from protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). •    Sexual contact with someone who is very drunk, drugged, unconscious...
Read More
Your Child’s Sexual Wellbeing

Your Child’s Sexual Wellbeing

Not many parents jump at the opportunity to have the talk with their children. Oftentimes they dread that painfully awkward day, and hope that sexual behaviour is something that they can leave to their children’s school teachers or even peers to explain. However, research consistently tells us that young people greatly benefit from—and actually more often prefer—sex education communicated to them through their parents compared to other resources (e.g. peers, the internet, etc.). This is probably surprising to most of us. Unfortunately, we often think just the opposite, and discourage ourselves from engaging in that talk, which subsequently inhibits our children from navigating their sexual health as best they could be.   Now, just because this discussion of sexuality is crucial, does not mean it’s easy. Sure, there will be the relatively easy parts; as in, disclosing to your child that most—if not all—of their friends who refer to themselves as sex gods are in fact virgins, scared to death of how...
Read More
You are you — not your experience of abuse

You are you — not your experience of abuse

  For many, the aftermath of experiencing sexual violence can feel like it will last forever—the trauma may feel inescapable and the healing, impossible. However, what is integral to understand is that once someone has been affected by sexual violence, that violence does not define them, nor does it consume their identity. You are a person with unique strengths, passions, and personality traits who happens to also be a survivor of sexual abuse—an irreplaceable and captivating life first, who has had a disturbing experience been imposed upon them second. There is hope, and your true self will rise and beam once more. If you are a survivor of sexual violence, and feel out of touch with your inner being, I encourage you to engage in positive self-talk, or what are also known as self-affirmations—mantras, of sorts. Set aside some quiet, alone time in the morning before the day begins, or at night before bed—both morning and night would be best—and remind yourself of who you are. You are you—not your experience...
Read More
Why I Volunteer – Erin

Why I Volunteer – Erin

   I am twenty-four years old, from Kitimat, British Columbia, and I have recently became a volunteer for SAFFRON Centre, (the Strathcona Sexual Assault Centre). This is a place where people can go to heal from sexual abuse and feel empowered, while also educating the public on the importance of change of our preconceived notions of sexual violence. I decided to volunteer with Saffron Centre because not only is it a worthy cause, but as a victim of crime myself, it gives me the chance to give back to the community with the ability to be understanding and empathetic. Without getting too candid, my aunt was murdered when I was six years old, and has had a long lasting effect on my life and mental well-being. So while, it is not sexual abuse, I can understand the feeling of being a victim and having to deal with the emotional hardships that happen after a traumatic incident. By being a volunteer at SAFFRON...
Read More
School’s In

School’s In

Autumn is a time of excitement for many young adults as they start their studies in post-secondary schools all across the country. But for some, the first year of school will leave a scar. On average, eight on-campus sexual assaults will occur within the first eight weeks of school. Sadly, 20-25% of undergraduate women report having been subjected to unwanted touching, kissing, or other sexual acts. A 2013 study of sexual assaults reported to the Ottawa hospital showed that 90 percent of victims voluntarily consumed alcohol or drugs, with 60 percent thinking they had been drugged. With such shocking statistics, what can we do to prevent you, your friends, or your children from becoming a victim? or the perpetrator?   Talk about consent – what is it, why you need it, how to ask for it. Talk about drugs and alcohol – how they limit your judgment and can lead to high-risk behaviours. Engage men – most men are not perpetrators and can interrupt or...
Read More
Should I Report My Assault?

Should I Report My Assault?

There was a lot of news regarding sexual assault in July after 35 women stood together to be featured in a New York magazine issue. These women have identified themselves as victims of sexual assault at the hands of a famous comedian. To some it may appear that these women just appeared from nowhere. However these women have been reporting the assaults to authorities since 2005. It took until now for everyone to take notice. Navigating the judicial system is often very difficult and the accused may not be convicted. This is one of the reasons many victims choose not to report their assault. What are some of the other reasons that victims choose not to report a sexual assault?   The perpetrator stopped before finishing the assault. The victim knows the perpetrator. The victim was/is in a relationship with the perpetrator. The victim has no visible physical injuries. The victim is worried the police won't believe them. The child/teen victim is worried about getting in trouble.   It...
Read More
12