Opening Doors and Changing Lives
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre’s Clinic is now open! The vision to create a compassionate, confidential, and accessible place that shifts services for survivors of sexual assault from the hospital and police station into one centralized location is now a reality. It took hard work, collaboration and the unwavering support of individual donors and funders like the Ministry of Justice, City of Victoria and United Way to make this groundbreaking service possible. Thank you!
The Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic is a game-changer. A service that is a first of its kind, the Clinic has become part of BC’s history. Since the Grand Opening, we have heard moving stories from survivors including this one shared by one of our staff members. For her, and many others, the opening of the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic is a welcoming and life-changing shift in service delivery:
On the morning of February 17th 2016, I walked into the Clinic like I had done many times since we began this process. However, this time, even at 9am, there was a buzz about the space that felt different. The space was beautiful, calm, yet energizing. The excitement of this groundbreaking program was infectious. Sometimes, when you work in an organization like the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, you can forget to appreciate the magnitude of the work we do. Walking into the Clinic the day of its Grand Opening instantly allowed me to see it new again; to see it through the eyes of people who were there for the first time. To witness the awe on people’s faces as they toured the space brought me to where I am now: appreciating the sheer amazingness of the existence of the clinic.
Yet, there was also the thought that appeared so viscerally and with such mixed emotion for me: I wish that this Clinic, in all its warmth and comfort, was here for me when I was sexually assaulted. Like many survivors, in the aftermath of my sexual assault I hardly told a soul. Immediately following the assault I remember running home and hiding under my covers – a place I stayed metaphorically for 14 years. I did not have a good support system back then, and I was terrified of going to the police station. I never even thought about going to the hospital because I did not think my injuries were serious enough. I was very young and I did not really know my options of where to go, so I hid what happened. As a result, I spent most of my adult life struggling.
Recent survivors of sexualized violence can access the services of the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic by calling 250-383-3232.
How would my life have been different if this Clinic existed when I was sexually assaulted? If I knew there was a place to go and professionals whose only purpose was to support me, give me medical care and aid me in the reporting process if that’s what I chose to do… Maybe it wouldn’t have taken me 14 years to report the sexual assault to police. Maybe I wouldn’t have had such a hard life. Maybe I would have started my healing at 19 years old, instead of well into my adult life.
The Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic gives me hope that things will now be different for other survivors. On February 17th I, a survivor, watched an entire community of partners come together to address sexualized violence in a coordinated way, and ultimately say that sexualized violence is unacceptable. Politicians sat next to community organizations, who sat next to survivors, who were gifted by the songs and prayers of Coastal Elder, Mae Sam. It was a rare sight and experience that I will take with me throughout my life. Seeing so many people care about people like me, caring enough to create this Clinic so that from here onward no one else has to feel as alone as I did, all feels pretty special.
Hearing the hope in these words is what affirms our belief about that the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic is a necessity in our community. The clinic is one of many support services that the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre offers. Whether it is 24hrs Crisis and Information Line, Sexual Assault Response Team, Counselling programs, Victim Services or our award-winning prevention program Project Respect, as an agency we committed to providing services that are accessible, innovative and honour the voices of survivors.
At the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, we are continually inspired by the supporters and donors of our agency and we thank them for their dedication. Their support has been instrumental in making a difference for so many survivors in our community. Donating to the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, ensures that our Clinic doors stay open and will continue to be a place where survivors can go to receive the specialized care and support they deserve.
Thank you!Donate Today!