Take ‘I Ask’ seriously


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and the Central Australia Health Service, in collaboration with other community organisations, is drawing attention to the prevalence of sexual violence in our community.

This year SAAM’s theme is I Ask – a theme the focuses on everyday consent and the organisations involved want to empower people to have conversations around consent.

The services sector in Alice Springs would like to engage the public in addressing and preventing sexual violence.

“Central Australia is home to a lot of different cultural and languages groups and approaching the subject of sexual violence raises complexities, shame and lack of knowledge about consent, particularly in intimate partner relationships,”said Phynea Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, Central Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Unit.

“The language to describe sexual violence has been an ideological battlefield over the years and is complicated,” said Christa Bartjen-Westermann from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).

“Depending on the context people will use different words, language and terminology to circumscribe what has or is happening to them.

“In order to identify and support people experiencing sexual violence one needs to keep an open mind in relation to the language and terminology used to describe sexual violence. It is about listening to and clarifying what has been said.”

I Ask gives people the opportunity to come together to discuss sexual violence in a safe and supported way. Over the course of the month of April different activities will be happening, such as films, information sessions, and seminars aimed at addressing and preventing sexual violence.

  • 8 April there will be an open lunch session at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre on Railway Terrace.
  • 9-10 April there will be a seminar focussing on sexual violence and support systems, which is open to the cross sector and public.

If you are a survivor and this is creating stressful reactions for you, support is available through the nationwide 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) telephone number or by contacting your local Alice Springs SARC service on 08 8955 4500.

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