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Comedy night marks sex assault centre anniversary Laughter is golden silence is not.

That is the theme for Niagara Sexual Assault Centre 40th anniversary celebration at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Thursday. The event will feature four stand up comedians from Toronto, including headliner Sara Hennessey, winner of the Canadian Comedy Award for best female stand up. Brian Ward, producer and host of the award winning Top Shelf Comedy Show in Toronto, will be the host for the evening. is a night for the community to come together to celebrate and reflect on the accomplishments of CARSA (the agency incorporated name) that was started by 15 women back in 1977, said Donna Christie, the centre public education co ordinator. someone who has been here for 36 of those years, I have had the privilege of watching our counselling and support services and educational programs grow and evolve, she said. The agency was originally located in Niagara Falls and moved to St. Catharines in 1991. Outreach sites for individual counselling for survivors continue to operate throughout Niagara. Around the time Christie was hired, there were 153 calls to the 24 hour crisis and support line. In 2016, there were 1,752 calls. Looking at some of the highlights of the centre accomplishments, Christie pointed to its role in creating and manufacturing sexual assault evidence kits. A small group of volunteers assembled the first kits in a church basement in the late and they are now used in hospitals around Ontario. Christie recalls when the first Take Back the Night march and vigil was held at Montebello Park in 1982. The international event aimed at stopping violence against women, continues to be held every September at the Central Library courtyard and now also includes participation by men burberry warehouse sale and children. In 1983, Christie and other staff members received training in the martial art Wen Do. Classes were offered for women over the next 10 years on ways to protect themselves using verbal and physical techniques if they were attacked. The Child Assault Prevention (CAP) program, shopping at burberry which teaches children strategies to deal with situations involving bullies, strangers and adults they know, was first offered in elementary schools in 1997. The abuse prevention program has been delivered to thousands of children from grades one to six at schools around the region since then and it continues to be one of the centre most requested educational programs. so important to let children know at a young age that they have the right to be safe, strong and free, regardless of who they are with, said Christie. need to know that it OK to say no to an adult if they feel uncomfortable or frightened. 90 per cent of the sexual assault centre clients females and males were sexually abused as children by someone they know, not by a stranger. Christie is hopeful that with increased awareness through programs like CAP and the new sexual education curriculum that started in 2015 in Ontario, fewer children will keep their abuse a burberry brit sale secret and get help before they become adults. The Walk Against Male Violence that was held for 10 years burberry outlet las vegas prices beginning in 1994 was an important fundraiser for the centre educational programs in elementary and high schools. High school students from all over the region participated in the event. Niagara Sexual Assault Centre has also been involved in various protests and advocacy campaigns over the years, many of them involving the treatment of sexual assault victims by the justice system and light sentences given to offenders.

is certainly more awareness about sexual violence than there was 40 years ago, said Christie, with technology, particularly the Internet, there are also more opportunities for targeting victims. education programs at the centre now focus on the importance of bystanders and peers speaking out when they witness sexually aggressive behaviour and offering their support to victims. is definitely not golden in these situations, said Christie, who is looking forward to an evening of laughter and celebration at the 40th anniversary comedy event.

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