Supporting survivors of gender-based violence with counseling services

A 2019 report from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives named the Waterloo region as the least safe place to be a woman in Canada. Along with a series of stories relating to violence against women, the #MeToo movement and the developments that followed, the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC) was inundated with requests for support.

Through a partnership with the Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo and a US$5,000 grant from Zonta International, SASC used posters during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence to promote its services and provided 30 intake sessions and 50 follow-up counseling sessions to women and girls over the age of 16. The center’s counseling is trauma-informed and provides wrap-around care for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

“From the first appointment that I had at SASC, even though all we did was fill out paperwork, something had shifted within me. I knew that I was on a path to getting help and getting better. From there I have become a completely different person,” one client explained. “I have abandoned the person who could not stand up for herself, who didn’t know that what she wants is important, and who was trapped in a nightmare day and night.”

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