Into the Sunshine: Offering hope to the trafficked and exploited.
Envision Counselling and Support Centre is a leading organization within the province dealing with issues of sexual exploitation and cyberviolence. Envision was the successful recipient of a five year grant from the Ministry of Justice Canada that focuses on assisting exploited and trafficked individuals in the Southeast. The grant, named Into the Sunshine, is an extension of the Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Program and is based primarily out of the Carlyle office. Envision also recently completed a two year project, funded by the Status of Women Canada, on the prevention and elimination of cyberviolence among young women and girls in Southeast Saskatchewan.
Envision staff possess knowledge and training regarding exploitation and violence and offer support to individuals and communities in the Southeast. Envision would like to take this time to acknowledge that instances of exploitation are not always easy to identify and many individuals may be impacted.
What to Expect From Counselling
- Knowledge and understanding about the issue.
- Learn coping strategies and your strengths.
- Practical information, resources, and tools to help with the issue at hand.
- Discussions of all your options, exploring your goals, and assistance developing an action plan.
- Referrals to specialized agencies if needed to better support you.
- A plan for ongoing support, after counselling has ended.
For further assistance, please call any one of our four offices or click on the Ask a Counsellor button located on this page. Help is available for you or someone you know.
What is Sexual Exploitation?
Sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse that involves individuals, often youth, being manipulated into exchanging a sexual act for money, drugs, food, shelter, transportation, love, acceptance or any other consideration. Sexual exploitation can happen to anyone, regardless of their age, ability, gender, ethnicity, religion, family income, class or sexual orientation. Victims of exploitation are often lured and groomed for a long time. The exploiter may use manipulation, guilt or threats to ensure the victim stays in the relationship.
Luring involves communication, often through technology, in order to facilitate sexual exploitation. This often involves information collection, boundary and vulnerability testing and assessing if the individual is open to engagement. Successful luring evolves into the exploiter grooming the victim by using promises, gifts or intimacy, among other tactics, to build trust. By this point, the victim often feels committed to the relationship and the exploiter can now coerce and manipulate them to engage in abusive activities.
Consent from all parties is required in legal sexual relationships. Consent refers to permission, approval or agreement to engage in a certain activity. The age of consent in Canada is 16 years of age, but Canadian Law clearly states that a youth CANNOT consent to ANY sexual activity with someone in a position of power or trust, such as a coach, teacher or boss.
Complexities surrounding sexual exploitation and the lack of understanding of what is involved creates an environment of victim blaming. There are many myths in our society that support victim blaming, which is a devaluing act that occurs when the victim(s) of a crime or an accident is held responsible — in whole or in part — for the crimes that have been committed against them. This blame can appear in the form of negative social responses from legal, medical, and mental health professionals, as well as from the media and immediate family members and other acquaintances or even strangers. Often the responses toward victims of crime are based on misunderstandings. These misunderstanding may lead them to believe that the individual deserved what happened to them, or that they have low self-esteem and seek out violence. As a result, it can be very difficult for victims to cope when they are blamed for what has happened to them.
You are never to blame if you are the victim of sexual exploitation or other crimes. The fault lies with the perpetrator. Envision Counselling and Support Centre provides support throughout the Southeast with offices in Estevan, Weyburn, Carlyle and Oxbow and also maintains a 24 Hour Abuse/Sexual Assault Support Line at 1-800-214-7083.