The Manitoba government is raising awareness of the serious issue of sexual violence in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“As sexual violence continues to dominate our news headlines, it’s clear we still have a long way to go to make this world a more respectful place,” said Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for status of women. “Sexual Assault Awareness Month aims to raise awareness, spark discussion about consent, encourage allies to come forward and create safer working environments. Sexual harassment in the workplace remains far too common and we know embarrassment or fear of reprisal prevents many survivors from coming forward.”
The province has launched a new online resource. You Have Options: Help After Sexual Assault offers information on how to recognize sexual assault, understand the criminal justice system, explore options to make a report and find counselling, support and healing. The guide is available at www.gov.mb.ca/youarenotalone.
“All Manitobans need to be better informed about sexual violence and how to best support survivors,” said Justice Minister Heather Stefanson. “We will continue to work with front-line staff as well as community partners to ensure information is available and people receive the support they need.”
Earlier this year, the province also announced several initiatives to ensure all incidents of sexual harassment at Manitoba government workplaces are taken seriously and addressed including employee consultations led by the Manitoba Status of Women Secretariat and the Civil Service Commission. These consultations will begin in May along with the launch of an anonymous online survey for public servants.
Additionally, Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton announced this year’s intake for community development programs, including Neighbourhoods Alive! and Community Places, will support initiatives focused on women’s safety as one of its priority areas.
“Budget 2018 announced an increase to community development programs and this year, we will be seeking applications to address intimate-partner violence and sexual violence against women,” said Wharton. “Manitoba experiences high rates of violence against women and we will be specifically looking for proposals that support reducing and preventing violence against women.”
Other provincial supports include:
- $10,000 from Manitoba Justice for Heart Medicine Lodge, an Indigenous-specific healing program run by Ka Ni Kanichihk, to create a pilot project at the Women’s Correctional Centre to support sexual violence survivors;
- more than $28,000 for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) to create an Indigenous-focused public awareness campaign on sexual violence; and
- a gathering to discuss sexual violence and women with disabilities, co-hosted by Manitoba Status of Women and the Independent Living Resource Centre on April 30.
The government will use social media to share information about available supports and resources throughout the month of April. Manitobans can participate in the discussion using the hashtags #SAAM2018, #EndSV, #SupportSurvivors, #ConsentCulture and #YouAreNotAlone.