By Amy Woolvett
THE COAST GUARD
The Tri-County Women’s Centre is wrapping up an 18-month project that has been working with youth in the community on developing sexual violence prevention tools.
They have worked with various schools, community groups and stakeholder’s to address how services for victims of sexual violence can improve.
The development of a sexual violence tool kit was created through research and contributions from both youth and stakeholder’s
The project team met with hundreds of youth across the tri counties asking them what they felt was needed in the tool kit related to sexual assault and hypersexualization.
“The youth were an incredible source of information and helped guide the development,” said Bernadette MacDonald, executive director of the women’s centre. “The youth want to be able to analyze the current hypersexualized culture they are growing up in and which is having a profound, negative impact on young women and men.”
Through research, awareness on how hypersexualization is undermining individual, family and community health and well-being has come to the surface.
“This is a very complex topic and the tool kit is meant to be a tool to assist with having these conversations on sexual violence and hypersexualization,” said MacDonald. “Enabling youth to talk to their peers, teachers to talk to their students and parents or guardians to talk to their children.”
The tool kit is a wealth of information that is available in both hard and soft copies and resources that help arm people with information, places to get help, movies, video clips, power points, activities and workshops, focus group ideas, websites and community resources.
“It is a teaching tool, a sharing tool and an informative tool,” said Patricia Vanaman with the Shelburne County Tri-County Women’s Centre. “We want it to be a living thing something people will add to.”
She said that the group didn’t want the information inside the kit to become stale and irrelevant by becoming outdated and instead hopes that youth and community groups alike will add helpful, useful information to the kit.
She also hopes that these kits will start people talking.
“We need to start the conversation around culture and what messages exactly that we want to challenge,” she said.
Nova Scotia has the highest rate of sexual assault per capita in Canada and 88 percent of these assaults are not reported to the police.