Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women Leela Sharon Aheer issued the following statement on sexual violence in Alberta:
“Conversations around the facts about sexual violence are imperative to supporting survivors, educating our youth, and working towards the safety and well-being of our society. Sexual violence is about control and any type of sexual activity without consent is sexual assault. Perpetrators abuse their authority and use trust, coercion and threats, drugs and alcohol to justify this human violation. Please learn about how you can intervene, how to support and how to identify signs of abuse in your life or your organizations.
It is our collective responsibility to end sexual assault, and it is time to shine big, bright lights into the dark corners where this abuse occurs.
“The Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services found in its recent study that 45 per cent of Albertans have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.
“As we continue to navigate a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must be aware that sexual violence can increase during times of crisis. Sexual Violence Awareness Month will focus on the actions being taken to prevent this violence, the resources and supports available to support survivors, and shine a light on the amazing organizations and staff across the province that continue to provide services to bring support and healing to those impacted by sexual violence.
“Please know that help and support is available. I encourage anyone who needs support to reach out to the Alberta One Line for Sexual violence, the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services or local sexual assault centres across the province. Information about other resources available can be found on alberta.ca.
“I want to express my deepest gratitude for all the front-line workers at sexual assault centres, crisis centres and support phone lines across the province, especially during these difficult times. Thank you for being a beacon of hope to those in need, and helping to empower survivors to share their stories and access supports.
“Learn the facts about consent and how to be an ally. Knowing the facts about sexual assault is the only way to stop sexual violence.”