By Emily Kemp
The growth in sexual assaults in Revelstoke could be stemmed with the Sexual Assault Response Assessment being presented to the community next week.
Late last year there was a reported sexual assault on the green belt and in December the Revelstoke Current reported that drink spiking has been increasing.
The assessment will get the community on the same page with what to do and who to go to when someone approaches them about experiencing a sexual assault.
“Most people don’t want to report this type of experience to police,” shelter executive director Lynn Loeppky said. “This assessment gives them more options, it can be anonymous and it will help us get a better picture of how to help.”
The Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society received a civil forfeiture grant to create the assessment, which was overseen by the Revelstoke Domestic Violence Steering Committee and researched and written locally by Rana Nelson of Onwords Communication. The committee is made up of local services including Interior Health, the RCMP and Victim Services, Community Connections, Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Ministry of Justice.
As a growing resort community with a fluid population, incidents of sexual assault are likely to become more common. Sexual assaults are generally life-altering for the victim but as they are under-reported, it is difficult to grasp how often they occur.
We know that Revelstoke in winter sees a high number of temporary residents and a high amount of substance use, which can be factors in sexual assaults.
“Knowing how to help if there is an incident makes the world of difference at a time of trauma and shock for the victim,” Loeppky said.
The presentation is important general knowledge for everyone but business owners and bar managers in particular should attend as they may deal more frequently with incidents with staff members or customers.
The presentation of the assessment is next Wednesday, February 13 from 6 to 7.30 p.m. at the Sandman Hotel’s banquet room at 1901 Laforme Boulevard. Pizza and juice will be provided. Nurses, RCMP officers, victim services and shelter staff will be available to answer questions .
The presentation coincides with V-Day on February 14, which is a global movement to end violence against women and girls. The Sexual Assault Response Assessment is for all genders.
Call the women’s shelter on 250-837-4382 to organise private sessions for groups.