Wednesday, 25 April 2012 16:24

Swift Current's Southwest Crisis Services fundraiser will also raise awareness

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By Jessi Gowan — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Following the success of their V-Day performance of The Vagina Monologues, a group of Swift Current women will take to the stage again to present A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer: Writings to End Violence Against Women and Girls.

 

 

 

The event will be a fundraiser for Southwest Crisis Services, who provide important programs to help those dealing with abusive situations.

“The Vagina Monologues was also presented to raise awareness against violence against women, but this takes it one step further,” explained organizer Christine Ciona. “This piece was written by a number of profound international playwrights, including men, who write about their experiences with violence. It’s not just about women getting hurt — men get hurt, too.”

Ciona hopes not only will people come out to enjoy the performance, but they will stay afterwards to participate in a community dialogue about violence, to hopefully inspire social change within the southwest.

“I hope that this experience will challenge us, stimulate us,” she said. “I don’t want people to leave after and think ‘wow, that was a great show’. I want people to leave and think that they heard some really incredible stories, and they want to do something about it right here in Swift Current.”

Teresa Cole, executive director with Southwest Crisis Services, noted the Safe Shelter at SWCS typically sees between 60 to 100 clients pass through each year, but many other families in the southwest who are experiencing domestic violence seek support through other programs, as well.

“Some families choose not to come, or they find their own arrangements,” she noted. “We do have a number of services available for people dealing with an abusive situation, but the specific purpose of the shelter is to provide a refuge for women, families, and kids who are leaving situations of domestic violence, and that’s really important.”

As a private practice counsellor and social worker within the community, Ciona also works with people who face abusive situations every day.

She has also seen the affects of domestic violence in her own circle of friends, and is motivated to do whatever she can to encourage more people to stand up against that sort of abuse.

“Unfortunately, domestic violence is happening everywhere,” she admitted. “Since a lot of people in the southwest are rural, they can sometimes feel isolated and think that services and resources are not available to them. We are hoping to change that, to help people believe that they can make a difference. Everyone has a responsibility. My hope is that people will come here and feel motivated, supported, and wanting to be a part of a profound global phenomenon to end violence.”

Cole is also hopeful the event will encourage people to discuss their own experiences with violence, and share ideas about how to prevent it. She is grateful to have an event like this to bring awareness to the issue.

“I think every time we have an opportunity to talk about issues surrounding abuse, it’s another opportunity to educate the public that it really does happen in our corner of the world, and we have the power to make changes to help those experiencing violence and abuse right now,” she explained.

“This is a collective group of people who are creating a sense of action and coming up with constructive ideas to help us work together to reduce situations of abuse.”

The performance will take place at 3 p.m. April 29, at Kiva in Swift Current, and admission is $10 at the door.

All proceeds will be going to support programming at Southwest Crisis Services, who rely heavily on the support of the community.

“Each year, 20 per cent of our budget has to come from sources other than provincial funding,” said Cole. “We are always so grateful to groups like this who set up fundraisers for us, to ensure that we can continue to offer a wide spectrum of services for those who need them.”

 

Read 1608 times Last modified on Friday, 27 April 2012 12:36

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