Posts Tagged Sexual Assault

Tweet me! Here is to 50K tweets and oh how fun it has been. More to come…

Tweet me! Here is to 50K tweets and oh how fun it has been. More to come…

I have been on Twitter since September 2008 and this is my 50,000 tweet!

A lifelong learner, long time media monitor with an information addiction combined with a strong social conscience makes for an unusual person. Yep, that is @DebraWard and Twitter feeds this addiction! I try to be a quintessential and reliable source for information and I love the differing opinions and discussions that my Twitter stream brings.

Within me is a burning interest in issues and a zest to make this world a better place for everyone.

Improving the world and advocating is essential to me: human rights, dignity for everyone, children, animals, politics, good governance, civic matters, ending homelessness and poverty, traffic, police BOLAs, stopping bullying, eradicating mental illness, family violence and sexual assault stigmas (and eradicating, family violence and sexual assault, period) are only some of my many passions.

Stay tuned for more…


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Sexual Violence Stupid Top-ten List

Sexual Violence Stupid Top-ten List

I compiled a top-ten list of myths, stupid things and stupid questions people said to me after my disclosure. This will give you an example of why the public needs to be educated and why awareness urgently still needs to happen.

1. Were they native? Uh, no—they were not even human and what difference would that make.

2. At least they did not take anything. That is right, I lost my dignity, my spirit and my sense of the future but at least they did not take anything “valuable”.

3. Did it hurt? Why don’t you try having sex with sandpaper between your legs and then ask me that question.

4. You do not look any different… Um, am I supposed to get a tattoo proclaiming me a victim? There are scars on my soul that are indelible.

5. Why would you believe them when they threatened you if you contacted police? Yeah, these were “people” I should trust. They knew where I worked and had only forced horrible depravities upon me…no reason I would think they were capable of anything bad. Nonetheless, I did eventually report to the police. My police file remains open. Never apprehended my assailants are still unknown and unpunished.

6. What were you wearing; don’t you think that contributed to your attack? Certainly. It was after all almost dusk and the drab trench coat that I was wearing did show off my cast— sexy.

7. What did you do to provoke the attack? Excuse me? I was leaving work, had a cast on my leg and was an easy target that is it. I was not special; I was simply there and was vulnerable.

8. Well at least “that” will never happen to you again. Being assaulted once in no way protects me going into the future. Indeed 60% of survivors are victimized again and yet another statistic I lay claim to.

9. Am I sure I did not consent. Good one, after almost 16 (at that time *now 26+) years of monogamous marriage one night as I was leaving work I saw some rough looking men and thought—nope— that one does not even warrant a response.

10. You have to take responsibility. For what??? Being female—sexual assault happens to men as well. My age? Babies and senior citizens are targets too. My appearance. Yeah, my drab trench coat and that grey cast was sooo much of a turn on and nuns who are assaulted—damn their sexy habits.

Perpetrators are the only ones who must take responsibility. They choose to assault. It was late at night and you were alone. It was just turning dark on an early fall evening and I was simply leaving work. I did not deserve what happened to me—no survivors do.

Why do people still ask (accuse) a survivor of sexual violence what they did to deserve the crime but not a victim of a mugging?

End the silence on sexual violence — end sexual violence.

By Debra Ward

Professional Writer and Proud Survivor

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What wound did ever heal but by degrees.

What wound did ever heal but by degrees – Shakespeare, Othello

I am going to start this with the ending of the first part of my story.

It happened. Rape. It changed me forever, but it did not break me. Bent like a tree, a new sprout, a new person has emerged from the bowed pieces and she is better than the old me who died alone one night in a cold parking lot.

I do still believe I died that night. Alone and afraid. But I like what has emerged. I no longer feel alone. I still feel afraid at times but I am working on that.

It has not been an easy process nor has it been only upward or positive. But it has ALWAYS been worth it as I have never doubted that healing the wounds — healing me — was worth doing.

So no matter how hard or how long it takes I will heal.

But by degrees.


I am re-blogging/re-posting this in light of a friend’s recent suicide at age 24. On April 30, 2012 he would/should have turned 25. I had no idea he struggled with depression. The world cannot afford to lose more great contributors like him.

There is always help and hope!

Use the Twitter hashtag #NotMyselfToday
Partners for Mental Health: 
Where to find help:

For immediate help — PLEASE REACH OUT — call 9-1-1, a crisis line or a trusted person. You are NOT alone and there is always hope.

Please share, take the pledge and do something to remove the darkness from yourself or for your loved ones.

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Resources in Greater Edmonton for Sexual Assault or Exploitation

Resources in Greater Edmonton for Sexual Assault/Violence or Exploitation/Trafficking

Emergency: 911

Kids Help Phone is 1.800.668.6868

Alberta’s Child Abuse Hotline is 1.800.387.KIDS (5437)

24 Hour Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACE Edmonton) 780.423.4121

In Alberta you are required by law to report suspected Child Abuse call the Hotline at 1.800.387.5437 or visit your nearest police station.

Edmonton Police Services (EPS): Emergency: 911| Non-Emergency Calls: 780.423.4567 | TELUS Mobility: #377 | Rogers: *377 | TTY: 780.425.1231| Switchboard: 780.421.3333.

Edmonton Police Victim Service Unit (VSU), 9620 103A Avenue  NW | 780.421.2217 or Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association’s (APBVSA) website at

Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) offers a 24 Hour Crisis Line | 780. 423.4121 that provides support, referrals and information to individuals affected by sexual violence. Public education, diversity outreach and a war rape (compassionate witness) program are also services provided by SACE.

Sexual Assault Response Team of Edmonton (SART) is a group of registered nurses and doctors who have special training in caring for patients who have been sexually assaulted. This is a 24 hour service offered through emergency rooms of Alberta Health Services (AHS) hospitals. The team is activated when a victim informs the emergency room staff that they have been assaulted. SART offers people (14 years and older) who have been sexually assaulted compassionate, confidential and complete medical care without judgment.

Sexual Assault Centre (U of A), 2-705 Students’ Union Building (SUB) | 780.492.9771. The University of Alberta Sexual Assault Centre, as part of University Student Services, provides a safe place on campus where unconditional support, confidentiality, respect and advocacy are available for those affected by sexual assault. The U of A Sexual Assault Centre strives for a campus community free of sexual violence.

The Support Network is a safe place to call. | 211 | 780.482.HELP (4357) when life hurts. Help lines are free, anonymous, confidential and available every hour, every day.

Edmonton’s Zebra Child Protection Centre, the first centre of its kind in Canada, enables our community to respond to child abuse with a professional, compassionate and highly integrated program of healing and justice. Zebra gives all of us an opportunity to lend strength to abused children and create an exemplary model for compassion and justice in contending with child abuse. Contact | 780.421.2359 or

Little Warriors is a great Edmonton-based NPO that is doing what it can to ensure safety for our children. Toll Free: 1.888.440.1343 | Phone: 780.447.1343

Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) CEASE builds bridges over poverty and creates pathways out of exploitation. They provide tools for sexually exploited and trafficked persons to heal and renew their lives. Phone: 780.471.6143  Email:

Human trafficking resources (Edmonton and Alberta):

ACT Alberta coordinates services for victims of human trafficking, manages a Victims Assistance Fund, provides training and education to service providers, engages and educates the public, researches and collects data on human trafficking, helps develop policy provincially and nationally, and builds capacity for community-based responses to human trafficking. Visit to learn more about Action Coalition on Human Trafficking. Phone: 780.474.1104

Youth Stop Trafficking and Exploitation Project (YSTEP) We all have a role to prevent and end sexual exploitation, human trafficking and social injustice. You can be part of this important work in your school, among your friends, your community or the world. What you say and do matters. You can make a difference!

Human trafficking resources (national and international):

The Chrysalis Network is a GBLT friendly, non-abolitionist, humanitarian organization dedicated to supporting ALL workers involved in the adult industry. You do not need to identify as a trafficked person to be welcomed by our line. Languages spoken by Chrysalis counsellors include English, French, Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, Portuguese, and Afrikaans. 1.866.528.7109

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is taking leadership on trafficking with the launch of the Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada an initiative of Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Stop the Traffik

Community Resources compiled by SACE (note there are duplications).

Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park RCMP/Sherwood Park Victim Services
Business: 780.467.7741

SAFFRON Strathcona Sexual Assault Centre | Crisis: 780.449.0900 |

*Note this is a quick guide and is in no way a comprehensive guide to the resources and services that are available in the Greater Edmonton Region. (Last updated March 24, 2016.)

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Tillman Travesty

Re: Roughriders GM Tillman gets absolute discharge

I am appalled at this travesty. It matters not that Eric Tillman is “genuinely remorseful” nor that it was “out of character” for him. What matters is that Tillman was convicted but justice was not served. Tillman is an adult. Tillman was in a position of authority over the minor as he was her employer. (Note I do not believe that Eric Tillman is worthy of the designation Mr. so will not use it.)

It does not matter what Tillman’s intent was (or was not) or that he was “impaired” the only thing that matters is the effect and impact on the minor girl.

Furthermore, attempts to trivialize by using qualifiers like “brief” serve an even greater disservice to all survivors of any manner of sexual assault.

For shame Eric Tillman, for shame Judge Murray Hinds and for shame Saskatchewan Crown. The message that you all sent out today was that in Canada (or at least in Saskatchewan) there are no consequences to atrocious actions. A convicted Tillman was absolutely discharged meaning no criminal record, no jail time and no fine. Therefore, there was no penalty. Probation, a night (or two or more) in jail, a hefty fine with proceeds to go to the Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan to reflect societies demand for change would have been an attempt at right.

In Saskatchewan (which already has one of the highest sexual assault rates in Canada), an already grossly under-reported crime was further wronged by the sickening under-support and understanding that should have been unequivocal.

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