Strathmore and its community members supported survivors of sexual assault in a big way over the weekend. The non-profit organization S.T.A.N.D Against Sexual Assault (S.T.A.N.D ASA) hosted its annual golf tournament last Saturday, and the 144 golfers and sponsors combined raised $26,000. S.T.A.N.D is run by sexual assault survivors to support other survivors, and its vision is to end sexual assault and victim blaming, as well as removing the stigma around victims of sexual violence.
S.T.A.N.D ASA's founder Erin Brassard was extremely grateful for all the support and said it's especially great to raise that much money because the organization receives very little to no government support.
"Donations are huge to our organization, so that allows us to continue to provide our peer support. That money will go directly to providing different wellness workshops, including art therapy, fit therapy and self-defence, yoga, and equine therapy. So all those wellness workshops we couldn't put those on without this funding," she said.
Beyond the donations itself, Brassard said the simple act of being at the tournament and speaking about sexual assault is a big step in the right direction, as raising awareness about the issue destigmatizes it.
"The main goal of S.T.A.N.D is to end the silence that surrounds sexual violence and the golf tournament is a big event for that, because people start talking about the problem and how we can change that."
When speaking about sexual assault, Brassard explained it's especially important to educate about the issue and change our mindset.
"The way we've dealt with sexual assault as a society is teaching, especially women, to protect themselves against sexual violence. And the problem with that is when we're teaching victims to protect themselves when something happens, they instantly blame themselves, and then that's why the silence happens because they're already blaming themselves because they did something wrong. We are really focusing on preventing sexual violence, so how do we educate so that we prevent people from committing this crime instead of protecting victims against the crime?"
Regarding education, Brassard said S.T.A.N.D is involved with schools in offering various programs and is in the early stages of creating a variety of educational videos. S.T.A.N.D's workshops start in junior high, but there are other programs that can teach important concepts as early as kindergarten. Brassard explained that kindergarten education obviously doesn't touch on any sexual things, as it instead focuses on larger, more broad concepts like personal space.
"It's really about kind of talking to them and letting them know they are the ones who can give consent to give a hug. If they don't feel like doing that, they don't have to. So we really teach them about autonomy at a really young age and what consent is at a lower, lower level. So 'ok touches' versus 'non-ok' touches. What makes you feel uncomfortable is never ok, and you don't ever have to give a hug or do anything like that if you don't want to," Brassard explained, regarding the way you can educate young children.
If you need S.T.A.N.D's support you can find all the details regarding its programs on its website standasa.com, or reach out to Brassard herself at email@example.com. You could also volunteer if interested, either as an event volunteer or a peer supporter.
Brassard wanted to give a huge thank you to the sponsors who helped make the golf tournament possible, with local sponsors like the Wheatland Kings, Back to Health, Trim Digital, and Global Training.
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