By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
Sexual abuse was front and centre at a “pizza and a movie” event put on in conjunction with Castor & District FCSS and the East Central Association of Communities Against Abuse.
The movie shown was The Tale starring Laura Dern and Jason Ritter.
A dozen community members attended the movie about a grown woman rediscovering her past abuse when she starts evaluating her childhood relationships with her riding instructor and her running coach.
“We’re not talking about violent rape in a back alley,” said Stephanie Hadley, executive director of Association of Communities Against Abuse.
“Sexually violent assaults are happening, usually closer to home.”
Hadley and her staff at Association of Communities Against Abuse have been putting a major emphasis on abuse prevention, conducting presentations for all Grades in 10 to 12 schools a year, as well as 20 to 30 community presentations, such as the pizza and a movie evening in Castor, shedding light on a subject a large number of people are generally uncomfortable with.
“A big chunk of our work is just educating and raising awareness about what abuse looks like and how we can prevent it and respond to it,” said Hadley.
“We don’t go out and seek opportunity, we respond to requests.”
Partnering with five school divisions, community agencies such as FCSS, and some employers, the demand for their community outreach services is growing, and staff are being trained to meet the increased demand.
Education is not all that the group does, though.
Working out of their main office in Stettler, the Association has community support and counseling services for survivors of abuse in around 50 communities of the East Central Alberta Region.
The community support workers help support victims of abuse by helping them navigate the aid systems accessible through the government, as well as partnering with the local victim services groups and helping the person navigate the justice system.
The next year will see more growth for the group, with the hiring of more therapists, support workers, and a continued emphasis on prevention and awareness.
There are already plans to bring another movie to the community this fall for the same type of successful discussion.
“I think it was really good, there was good questions and comments that came from the people in attendance. It opened people’s eyes to the impact of abuse,” said Hadley.
For more information about the Association of Communities Against Abuse, they can be contacted at 1-866-807-3558 or at email@example.com.