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Summer Social Media Educational Series – July 1st to 7th

Voice Found’s ultimate goal is to see an end to child sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation. In order to achieve this goal we know that education is a key factor and so over the summer we will be using our social media to dispel myths and provide information on these crimes. While you may be knowledgeable about this issue it is our hope you will share this information with others who may not.

July 1st – Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking is a crime that involves the exploitation of an individual for profit. The crime occurs when traffickers use human beings to provide labour or services, often sexual, by gaining full control of their movements and selling them as commodities. Although we may often think this is the type of crime to happen in foreign places, human trafficking is happening in Canada in both urban and rural settings.

 

 

July 2nd – Domestic Trafficking

All processes in domestic trafficking occur in one country without crossing international boarders. It does not matter if the person being exploited is a citizen, refugee, immigrant or international student. 93% of Canada’s trafficking victims come from Canada*…..they are not moved across an international boarder.

*RCMP human trafficking national coordination centre. Statistics, human trafficking in Canada, March 2014.

 

July 3rd – International Trafficking

International trafficking involves crossing at least one international border during the process of exploitation. The person is first exploited in the ‘source’ country and then transported to the ‘destination’ country. Whether they are crossing the border legally or illegally, it is the crossing of the international border that defines their case as international trafficking.

 

 

 

July 4th – Child Sex Abuse

Child sex abuse is essentially the act of sexual power one person inflicts onto a minor, or the act of sexual power/control between two minors. There are many forms of child sex abuse and it does not necessarily mean the act of sexual intercourse or even physical contact. Sex abuse can occur in the language someone uses, the way someone touches, the pictures someone sends or what they are exposing to a child. It can occur in person or online and it can be between an adult and a child or between a child and another child.

July 5th – Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

We hope today’s post will help you to understand the term ‘commercial sexual exploitation of children’ (CSEC).
CSEC occurs when individuals buy, trade or sell sexual acts with a child. This includes both contact and non-contact activities. CSEC also includes the recruitment, transporting, harbouring, obtaining or provisioning of a child for the purposes of a sexual act.
It is sex trafficking of children.

 

July 6th – Non-Contact Child Sex Abuse

Child sex abuse is both contact and non-contact. Today’s post is focused on non-contact abuse which is often a precursor to contact abuse.

Non-contact abuse includes the following:
-Being forced or invited to watch sex acts
-Exposure to sexually explicit material such as videos, photos, magazines. It can be both in person or via internet. 
-Listening to sex talk, comments of a sexual nature, obscene phone calls
-Sexually intrusive questions or comments whether in person, over phone or internet
-Deliberately exposing genitals to a child
-Inappropriately watching a child go to the bathroom or undress
-Taking photos of a child in sexual poses

Non-Contact abuse is child sex abuse. It is harmful to children and it is against the law

July 7th – Who Abuses Children?

Often we have an image of what an offender looks like and frequently that is a shifty looking man who probably drives a white van and hangs out at playgrounds. In addition – we often assign the term ‘pedophile’ to them.

While some abusers are pedophiles,male, look shifty and maybe even drive around in white vans – the reality is quite different.
More often than not children are abused by people known and trusted. They are teachers, coaches, neighbours, parents, step-parents, babysitters, clergy – anyone. And it is not just males who abuse children but females as well.

In our next few series of posts we will explore situational offenders vs pedophiles. These are important distinctions that will help you to protect children.

 

Annual Report Fiscal Year ending March 31, 2017

 

We’ve really grown in the past few years! An annual report is not something we have previously published and so we are quite excited to share our first one with you.

Thanks to our summer student, Jenna, our report is nice to look at as well as contains information that will give you a glimpse into our fiscal year that ended March 31st.

As always – your support of our work is so greatly appreciated!

Report can be found by clicking on the link below.

Voice Found Annual Report 2017

 

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Suicide – Reach Out

It’s the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day 2015. I’ve lost three family members to suicide – one of whom had been sexually abused as a child – so I know how horrible it feels to loose a loved one by suicide. I want people to know that they are not alone. That there are people who understand and who will help you and that YES – you just need to hold on..one more moment…

I myself have sat perched on the edge, ready to end the nothingness that takes over when the feelings I have are too much to handle. The depth of sadness, shame, unrelenting panic attacks and complete hopelessness weigh me down to the point where I no longer feel. That complete absence of feeling is just as horrible as the days filled with pain. That moment of nothingness finds it’s way back to fear. Fear that I have gone to that place. Again. And again. And again. It seduces me.

I’m one of the lucky ones. There’s always been just the smallest flicker of a spark deep inside that’s kept me from succumbing to the darkness that I’ve sometimes craved. Perhaps some of it is having experienced first-hand the utter devastation of those left behind that has kept me hanging on. Hang on…one moment, one step, another moment…until the light shines again. Which it does. It always does. It ALWAYS does.

I know how it feels to think you are the only person who feels this way. I know how lonely that place is. I know how it feels to be misunderstood – to be shunned and bullied because you are ‘different’. I know how it feels to have embarrassing and false lies spread. I know how it feels to have to ‘act’ your way through a day…a week…a month… To go to work and have to use every ounce of strength to appear ‘normal’…to go to your car at lunchtime and sit there crying your eyes out – pounding on the seat, screaming into loud music…anything to get the ‘frantic’ out. I know what it’s like to feel dead inside. To do just about anything to FEEL something and then to numb yourself again because the feelings are just to painful.

It is this intimate knowledge that compels me to do this work. When children are sexually abused and do not get help, or do not tell, or tell and are not believed – the possibility of suicide is a very real consequence of that abuse. (Childhood sexual abuse is a strong predictor of suicide in adolescence according to this study published in May 2013.)

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Let’s each of us consider what we can do to help our fellow (wo)man to feel healthy, whole and accepted. Let’s consider how we might be able to protect children from sexual abuse and save them from the devastating consequences. Let’s consider how we react to another’s sadness or change in behaviour in the workplace. Will we stand by and judge without trying to understand what may be the cause? Or will we act with compassion? Will we lend a helping hand or will we assume they have the help they need? Is someone you know mourning the loss of a loved one to suicide? Honour the person who has died. They are more – so much more – than the manner in which they died.

Canada’s theme this year is ‘Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives’. We encourage you to take some time and look at the Mental Health Commission of Canada website and learn more about the issue of suicide including a toolkit for those who are have lost a loved one to suicide.

You are NOT alone.

If you are in crisis – PLEASE call the nearest Distress/Crisis Centre. If you are in an emergency situation call 911.

Post written by Cynthia Bland, Founder of Voice Found.

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Conspiracy of Hope

It’s often said that certain people come into your life for a reason. Sometimes you’re not sure why you’re so drawn to them, but you are, and you are forever grateful that you’ve met. For me, Suzanne Sagmeister is one such person.

October 8. 2011

October 8. 2011

5 years ago I started seeing photographs of people that were taking my breath away. Often these were engagement or wedding photos. The capture of personalities, the edgy and unique setting, the moods – really just everything about these photos spoke to me. When my eldest son announced he was getting married, I knew what my wedding gift would be. I contacted my future daughter-in-law, asked her to look at Suzanne’s work and on October 8, 2011 the wedding day was beautifully captured by Suzanne.

Last year I discovered that Suzanne had started Conspiracy of Hope – a grassroots photographic movement to create conversation about suicide, inspire hope and save lives. I was drawn to the organization for so many reason – many of which she did not know about when she was in Ottawa to shoot my son’s wedding. She did not know there were survivors in attendance – people whose lives had been forever changed by the loss of loved ones to suicide. I believe she knew about the work I was doing with Voice Found but it was not a conversation we had during the course of wedding festivities. And we certainly never spoke about my personal struggles and the fact that child sexual abuse is a significant risk factor for suicidal behaviour.

Suzanne is now preparing to embark on a cross Canada tour to photograph survivors of suicide for a book to be titled ‘Life After Dark’. Called ‘Architects of Hope’, these survivors are people who have lost a loved one to suicide or have survived an attempt. When I learned of this project, I knew I needed to help in whatever way I could. After all, it is by talking and sharing that we can best help save lives. People need to know they are not alone and that suicide – like child sex abuse – is largely preventable.

My contribution to this project is serving as the Ambassador for Ontario. As such I am looking for people in the Thunder Bay and Ottawa areas who are interested in sharing their stories as ‘Architects of Hope’. If you are interested in participating, please contact me cynthia at voicefound.ca. Dates for ThunderBay are around June 23rd/24th and in Ottawa June 27th/28th.

Suzanne is a beautiful person embarking on a powerful journey. I know why we met – and I am forever grateful that we did. Down to earth, sincere, super creative and beautiful inside and out – I know you will love her as much as I do!

Contact me today if you would like to be a part of this book. Your story WILL save a life. Your courage will inspire others. Your pain will have purpose.

Shaping the Future Together

The crime of child sexual abuse affects every single one of us. The financial and societal costs are huge and yet it is a crime that can mostly be prevented!

During National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, we are leveraging the theme of ‘Shaping the Future Together’ and doing just that. Here are some ways you can actively participate in shaping a future that sees a reduction in the incidents of child sex abuse and more support for survivors!

SURVEY – April 19th to 25th – CANADA – Have Your Say

We’re getting ready to deliver more services and programs but before we do that, we want your feedback. This is your opportunity to provide us with some insight into what would be valuable for you. Let’s work together to shape a safe and happy future for children and survivors.
This anonymous survey will take you about 5 minutes to complete.

April 18th – Saint John, NB – Stewards of Children

2 hour child sex abuse prevention training that provides you with tools and confidence to prevent, recognize or respond to child sexual abuse. Register today!

April 23rd – Ottawa, ON – Share YOUR Story

Survivor, friend, law enforcement, health care provider, partner, spouse, colleague, neighbour, parent. You are invited to share your story from your unique perspective. Share a poem, make a statement, share your story or part of it. We will be video taping what you share. Ultimately, we will create one video masterpiece that uses YOUR voice and YOUR story to tell a powerful story.
Please use the registration form at the bottom of this page. Registration is required and must be received no later than noon April 22nd.

April 24th – Ottawa, ON – Facilitator Training

We are training facilitators to deliver Stewards of Children training. People from Nunavut, New Brunswick and Ontario have already signed up to join us. These individuals will be helping to shape the future by becoming authorized facilitators who can then train adults in their communities on how to prevent, recognize or respond to child sexual abuse. Registration is limited with only 2 spots left. We must have your registration in no later than April 17th.

Look for Facebook posts and tweets from us throughout the week. We’ll share prevention tips and much more!

REGISTER FOR APRIL 23RD – SHARE YOUR STORY

You are a Gift

We are all precious gifts to the world. Together we learn and we teach.

“While it may be tempting to focus on how awful it is to be abused, it’s important to not lose sight of the reality that survivors are full human beings with many gifts and talents to offer the world. Some of the most sensitive, intuitive, deep, profound, creative, and hopeful people I’ve known are incest/child sexual abuse survivors. They were able to be that way by not losing touch with their humanity–their soulfulness–in the face of others’ inhumanity. We can all learn a great deal from survivors.”

Kali Munro, M.Ed.

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