What Guides Our Work
Our work is built on over 30 years of dedication, hard work and the best of intentions from our wonderful staff and volunteers.
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is a feminist organization committed to ending sexualized violence through healing, education, and prevention. We are dedicated to supporting women and all trans survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, through advocacy, counselling, and empowerment.
As a feminist agency, we value:
• Communicating in a direct, caring, confidential, and honest manner, showing respect, gentleness, acceptance, and celebration of each other in all our diversity
• Each individual’s self-defined inner knowledge, empowerment, and right to dignity
• A safe, accessible, and effective centre where individuals are supported towards healing from sexualized violence
• Social justice for all
• Enacting an anti-oppressive framework, that acknowledges societal and systemic barriers and our own positions of power and dominance
• Being transparent and accountable to the community regarding how and why our policies and practices are determined, enacted, and altered
• Sexualized violence is never justifiable.
• Sexualized violence is an act of power and control that is expressed in the sexual arena. It is not limited to sexual assault (i.e. unwanted sexual contact), but includes a cultural foundation of strict gender roles and expectations where anyone who steps outside of these “gender boxes” is potentially subject to violence.
• Sexualized violence affects all women and trans individuals whether or not they have been victimized because of social expectations of gender. Fear of sexualized violence is a crucial factor in controlling the development and behaviour of women, girls, and trans individuals.
• Men’s violence against women, children, and trans people happens because our society has created and tolerates power imbalances and socialization processes that devalue and victimize these groups of people. In addition to sexism, we acknowledge the effects of discrimination in our society based on (but not limited to) race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, class, sexual orientation, and physical and mental abilities. People (particularly women and trans people) who experience multiple or intersecting inequities (e.g. racism, classism, homophobia…) are often targeted to a greater extent for sexualized violence. This is because society devalues and dehumanizes people who do not fit into dominant norms (white, man-identified, middle class, heterosexual, abled, etc.).
• Working toward the elimination of sexualized violence means recognizing and addressing the layered ways multiple forms of violence are being perpetuated in our society.
• Supporting survivors of sexualized violence to heal requires us to acknowledge that people have multiple identities and experiences of oppression that shape the way they experience and respond to sexualized violence as individuals and communities.
Rights and Responsibilities
• It is the initiator’s responsibility to ask for consent. Consent is a mutual, verbal, physical, and emotional agreement that happens enthusiastically, without manipulation, threats, or coercion.
• No one deserves to be sexually assaulted or abused, and those who are victimized are never responsible for violence perpetrated against them.
• People respond to and resist sexualized violence in diverse ways, and it is a person’s right to self-determine how to access safety when experiencing violence or oppression in their life.
• Individuals have the right to reproductive choice.
• Everyone has the right to a world free from sexualized violence, where sexuality is experienced as pleasurable, enjoyable, and positive by all parties involved – with all parties equally invested in the others’ pleasure, enjoyment, and experience.
The constitution of the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre states our objectives as follows:
1) To provide immediate information and support to all those impacted by sexualized violence.
2) To involve and support volunteers to contribute towards our goals of healing, prevention, and education.
3) To provide accessible, high quality, feminist counselling services to women and trans survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse.
4) To advocate for individual survivors within the justice, medical, and social service systems; to work cooperatively with these systems and with other community agencies to be responsive to the needs of the survivor.
5) To prevent sexualized violence by building awareness of its root causes and impact through education and social action in schools, institutions, and the community at large.
6) To continuously expand our knowledge of effective and innovative work in this field, to share this knowledge with others, and to apply it to our ongoing work.
7) To actively increase the accessibility of our services, particularly for those who are most affected by societal and systemic barriers
8) To critique our own positions of privilege and dominance, and work to equalize power within our relationships, our organization, and our communities.
Transgender – An umbrella term for people whose gender identity, expression, and/or behavior is different from those typically associated with their sex assigned at birth. “Trans” is sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender.”