Translated Materials for Survivors: Part 1
An illustrated image of a person of colour holding up and looking fondly at a mug with a heart hovering above them, with text reading, “love is… providing first generation students advice, support and resources.” Art by @psychobrigade
The Power of Collaboration
Increasingly, people are talking about sexualized violence and are recognizing the need to work together to address the impacts of violence. Demand for our services has increased, especially for our collaborative Sexual Assault Clinic program for survivors of recent assault. Since opening the Clinic in 2016, we have been working with our community partners to provide a coordinated response to recent survivors. This accessible, collaborative, trauma-informed, Trans-inclusive, free, 24hr clinic provides survivors with key services including medical/forensic exams, preventative medications, and counselling in one non-institutional facility. We also offer support to survivors regardless of citizenship or residency status. We work in collaboration with Vancouver Island Health Authority, local police/RCMP, and crown counsel to provide these services in a calm, compassionate, and safe space.
Because of the collaborative nature of this program, we have seen powerful results. Since opening the Clinic, we have seen a 154% increase in recent survivors accessing these services. Although we are reaching more survivors we are aware that many victims in our community do not have access to information about these services nor resources about sexualized violence and Canadian laws in their primary languages. This means that some of the most vulnerable survivors, including international students, newcomers and refugees, are not receiving the vital information and support they need to heal from sexualized violence and access the justice system.
Sexualized Violence against Newcomers, Refugees and International Students
Sexualized violence continues to be a reality for far too many people in Canada. Statistically, we know that 1 in 3 women, 1 in 2 Trans, Two-Spirit, and Gender Non-Conforming folks and 1 in 6 men will experience sexualized violence within their lifetime. We also know that the rates of this violence are even higher for marginalized communities including newcomers, refugees and international students.
Greater Victoria attracts a large number of international students every year, and we are increasingly becoming home to more new immigrants and refugees. According to EVA BC, international students are at a higher risk of sexualized violence. They are more likely to be targeted because “they may have limited knowledge of Canadian criminal laws, less confidence in their English language skills, or limited local support systems.” (Campus Sexual Violence: Guidelines for a Comprehensive Response, May 2016). Research suggests that immigrant and refugee women are also more vulnerable to gender-based violence (Status of Women Canada, 2015. Issue Brief: Sexual Violence Against Women in Canada). This is due in part to stigma, shame and loss of status attached to experiences of sexual violence that can come from within their communities and cultural understandings, as well as those perceptions being imposed on newcomers via Canadian society at large. Lack of host-country language skills has been named as both a factor that increased vulnerability and a barrier to receiving support.
Increasing access to services
In time for Victims and Survivors of Crime Week, we’ve published two of our booklets and one pamphlet in 4 languages (Mandarin, French, Spanish and Arabic) to help increase newcomers, refugees, and international students’ knowledge about sexual assault, assistance available, and laws in place to support survivors. When a survivor has access to information and trauma-informed support, it has a significant impact on their healing and shortens the time it takes to recover and heal.
This blog is part of our 2-part blog series for Victims and Survivors of Crime Week 2019. Please look out for our online and print advertisements in Victoria News during the week of May 27-June 1, 2019. Funding generously provided by The Department of Justice Canada.