'I can go on with my life'; Prince Albert crisis unit sees more clients with #metoo
SASKATOON -- Shannen Fisher says the #metoo movement empowered her to face the sexual assaults she says she suffered.
She finally disclosed her story in confidentiality to a counselor at the Prince Albert Mobile Crisis Unit.
From there, they helped her with sexual assault counsellors and reporting her story to police.
“It brought up a lot of memories. I realized the first time I was sexually assaulted it was at eight-years-old and it was by a babysitter,” Fisher said.
Fisher said she is publically sharing her story to help others process their trauma in a healthy way or seek resolution.
“I didn't realize you could report a historical sexual assault. I thought maybe there was a 10-year rule or something. I also thought, ‘who would believe me,’” said Fisher.
This is just one example of the work mobile crisis does. The executive director of the unit, Vicki Stewart, said trauma and crisis are different for everyone. The unit has seen an increase in the number of people coming forward to disclose sexual abuse, she said.
“Our agency has actually grown based on the stats, so it’s the amount of calls we get. There’s been a need for that in the community. I think one of the factors is for sure is the #metoo campaign. People are understanding that they can come forward and we are an agency that can help them,” Stewart said.
The Prince Albert Mobile Crisis also provides information and education on the topic of sexual abuse in the community.
Stewart said people experience crisis from things like accidents, floods, fires, crime, abuse or violence. Sometimes circumstances that are beyond their control can leave people devastated.
“If the concern is addiction, we deal with immediate crisis and then we connect with ongoing services in the city. We always want to makes use that people are engaged in services and know where they are,” said Stewart.
The agency also gets referrals from place like schools and police. The Prince Albert Mobile Crisis unit also provides an help and counselling services for sexual assault victims.
Fisher said the support and resources she accessed through mobile were a life saver.
“It helped me to heal from those things, regardless of whether the individuals come forward or are punished. That's a separate issue but I can go on with my life.”
Mobile Crisis units are a resource for the public that's open after hours.
Stewart said their staff are trained and prepared to help people deal emotional trauma from any circumstance.
The three agencies, located in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert, will take calls from people located anywhere in the province.