Violence against women. (Photo by © Can Stock Photo / artem_furman)

Taking A Stance On Violence Against Women

Local foundations are getting ready to put sexual assault under the microscope.

Sexual assault allegations have been making headlines across North America in recent months. However, it isn’t a ‘new’ problem.

Michelle Schryer with the Chatham-Kent Sexual Assault and Crisis Centre says an event will be held on December 6 in recognition of “National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women”.

Schryer says the Sexual Assault and Crisis Centre, along with the Domestic Violence Community Coordinating Committee, and Unifor Local 127, will be showing a documentary No Place to Hide — The Rehtaeh Parsons story. The documentary goes through the events in which a teenage girl from Halifax committed suicide after video of her sexual assault was shared on social media.

“It’s a tough watch but it certainly has a lot of lessons in it,” she says. “When I say lessons, I’m talking on every level — from mental health services to justice.”

In addition to the film, Schryer says they’ll have a guest speaker who knew Rehtaeh and the boys who assaulted her.

“[Jacob Wells] has been working with her mom and his goal is to just be part of that shift from rape culture to a culture of consent,” says Schryer. “He has his own story that he’s willing to share and open up about [too].”

Although the event is open to all members of the public, Schryer says they’re really encouraging young people to attend.

“Youth in Grade 12, they’ll be heading off to college and university, this would be a really valuable event,” she says. “If I were a parent with a teen, I would sure want to be there with my child.”

In addition to the discussions around sexual violence against women, Schryer says they’ll be marking a national anniversary.

December 6 marks the 28-year anniversary of the Montreal massacre at École Polytechnique, where a gunman killed 14 women and injured several others.

The event will be held at the WISH Centre in Chatham at 6:30pm. It’s a free event, with no registration needed.