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Program aims for healing after sexual violence


A group of local organizations is trying to increase and improve services for people who have been affected by sexual violence.

The Pictou County Support Network, a partnership between Family Services, Pictou County Sexual Health Centre, Tearmann Society, and Pictou County Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Centre, has launched an initiative titled MORPH, which stands for Mapping Our Road to Power and Healing.

“The truth of it is, it’s hard to talk about,” says navigator Katie Williams, who assists with implementing the goals of the project and helping connect people to services. “And then people aren’t getting the support they need. It’s really about shining a light on the darkness so that then people can move to where they need to be and that’s the place of healing.”

One of the aims of the initiative, funded through the province’s provincial strategy against sexual violence, is to offer inclusive support options that “reach people (who) may not have been reached,” Williams said, naming men as an example.

“Males often get left out when it comes to sexual violence (support) because people always think that sexual violence happens only to women, and young women, and that’s not the case.”

A support group for women is already underway, while a group for men is expected to start this spring.

They intend to offer six different groups, each trauma-informed.

“Each person experiences and responds to trauma differently. MORPH does not imply there is only one path to power and healing, nor does it suggest an appropriate path. That is for only the individual to decide,” information from MORPH says.

As part of the initiative, trauma-informed training was also provided in March for approximately 60 service providers in the county, intended to help with understanding the impacts of trauma.

Along with improving access to support, MORPH is trying to “change societal norms” and start more conversations about the complexity of sexual violence.

Among the ways the project is attempting to do that is through a sexual violence forum on April 28 at Summer Street Industries with keynote speaker Nakita Archibald, who will explore responses to trauma.

The support network is also offering weekly information sessions with two left: one on April 18 about the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program and the other on April 25 about consent. Both take place in Room A151 at NSCC at 6 p.m.

“So many people have experienced sexual violence and don’t realize that that’s what it is. And … it’s about naming it and knowing your rights and knowing what’s not acceptable.

Additional info

For more information about MORPH, visit morphpictoucounty.ca

For more information or to register for the sexual violence forum, call 902-755-4647 or email ed@womenscentre.ca

For information about the support groups, contact Nakita Archibald through the number listed above or facilitator@morphpictoucounty.ca

For more information about MORPH, contact navigator@morphpictoucounty.ca  

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