A grass roots movement to help victims of sexual assault and those at risk while ultimately helping to prevent it from occurring has gotten underway in Williams Lake.
Joan Sorley is a director with the Cariboo Regional District.
“I was raped more than 50 years ago and the way that I was treated in court was horrible when I realized that it was still happening. Gian Ghomeshi actually made me really mad and so my shame has been replaced by my anger.”
Sorley adds that the recent survey by Communities That Care did not include any questions for grade 6-12 students on sexual violence, sexual assault, or sexual abuse.
“I suggested that there was a big gap that we don’t know. So kids are struggling with depression, or alcohol, or gangs, or whatever and if they’ve been sexually assaulted that would be a big reason for that.”
Sorley says the coordinator-Carla Bullinger had pointed her to the direction of Bell Hume who was also trying to put something together dealing with sexual abuse and that they have now formed a committee for sexual violence against women.
She says the committee which has already held two meetings is hoping to hold a conference in the fall to focus on what is happening in the community to not just women and girls, but boys as well.
“After the conference, the vision is that we would come out of that conference with a picture of what it is that we need and then apply to the province for civil forfeiture funding that we understand we have to have ready by January 2018.”
“We don’t know where it’s going to lead us yet but we do know that services are needed, that there are gaps, and we want to develop some resources in the community that can help.”
The committee is scheduled to meet again at the Women’s Contact Society on April 10.