Public education programs and outreach is another area of specialty that operates out of the Lloydminster Sexual Assault Services facility.
The building however is in need of foundation repairs and LSAS is in the midst of fundraising some $450,000 to do the restoration.
Community relations coordinator Shamille Sarcauga leads the various public education sessions. She started off in a voluntary role with LSAS, but has been on staff for three years. She connects with the community both in Lloydminster and as well the 200 km service area. The most recent workshop she led was the Teaching Boundaries and Consent workshop for parents and caregivers, which is free and runs a couple times a year.
“We talk about how to talk to your children about consent and their boundaries at a very young age until they are teenagers, making sure that when we talk about sex, we don’t want it to be very scary,” says Sarcauga.
Consent laws in Canada changed in 2008. Children under 12-years are unable to consent. Children 12-13 years may consent to sexual activity with someone no more than two-years older, less a day. For teens 14-15 years-old, they may consent to sexual activity with someone no more than five years older, less a day. Sixteen-seventeen year-olds may consent to anyone unless that person is in a position of power or authority.
Sarcauga notes that the law recognizes that teens are having sex and in the public education sessions they encourage people to ask for clarification. That the law is to protect teens not to stop them having sex.
Consent is not given if an individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if there is force, threats or misinformation. Children or adults with mental disabilities cannot consent to sex with someone who is in a position of trust or authority.
Sarcauga says consent is ever-changing as someone can change their “yes” to a “no” in the middle of a sexual activity.
“Consent actually can change. So if in the middle of a sexual activity you say,”I don’t want to do this anymore,” – because that is your well-being; you’re putting yourself first, and that’s coming from you. You’re saying, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” and your partner should respect that too.”
Another program area looks at online safety. Sarcauga says someone trying to manipulate a teen or child for example, would try to establish a friendship and display concern for issues affecting the teen. She says they discuss with children and teens how to spot the red flags in a manipulative online chat.
“They might ask you a few things that might seem out of the norm. Example,”Where are your parents working? What do you do after school? Where do you go for hockey? What time are your parents home? Is there anyone else that sees your messages? So asking those questions that usually your friends don’t ask.”
With all that is available at LSAS, staff like Sarcauga have seen the space evolve from the time she was a volunteer and their passion for helping people deal with the trauma they have experienced is evident.
“There’s pieces in this place that give so much hope and positivity,” says Sarcauga.
Some of their other public education programs include:
- Youth Presentations (Kindergarten – Grade 12): Behind the Smoke, Bullying Program for Kids, Compassion and Connection, Friendships, Online safety, Body Science, Realizing our Impact: A look at Diversity, Acceptance and Equality, Relationships and Social Media, among others.
- Adult Presentations (Parent, Caregivers, Professionals): Compassion and Connection, Organizational Profile, Relationship and Consent / Relationship & Social Media; Social Media, Sexual Harassment.
- Training and Workshops: Adult Sexual Assault Workshop, Child Sexual Abuse Workshop, First Responder to Sexual Assault & Abuse Training (paid), Teaching Boundaries and Consent Workshop.
Anyone wishing more information may email: [email protected]
As well, anyone wishing to contribute to the LSAS fundraising efforts and their 40th anniversary gala next February may find more information on the LSAS website.