All of us at Second Story Women’s Centre (SSWC) are devastated by the horrific events in Nova Scotia on April 18/19 that left 22 innocent people dead. Our hearts go out to all of those affected and struggling to cope. We are angered by the continued increase in domestic and intimate partner violence we have seen since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the ensuing isolation. Our vision of ‘gender equity and safe healthy relationships on the South Shore’, has once again been tested by these tragedies. The problem however as we all know, is bigger than these isolated incidents, and in their wake we are left questioning: where are we failing as a community and a society?
We know that our communities and the individuals within them need more support. For over 35 years in Lunenburg and Queens Counties, SSWC has been supporting women, girls and gender-oppressed people as they navigate challenges in their lives. We offer trauma-informed support in safer spaces. Our work and recent events continue to highlight the need for interventions and support to begin earlier. We believe happy, supported, and mentally healthy children have better opportunities for resilience and to grow into kind, caring, contributing members of society.
We are concerned that our youth are being raised in a society that regularly dismisses violence, narcissism, sexism, racism, and stereotypical attitudes toward gender. These views may affect how we behave as individuals or groups of people and ultimately what we come to expect from ourselves and others. The murderous incidents that have taken place in our province over the last several weeks (1 domestic homicide in HRM and 22 in Colchester County) demonstrate once again what can happen when gendered violence goes unchecked and when we succumb to stereotypical notions of gender that society continues to teach and model.
What are we at Second Story Women’s Centre doing to combat these issues? We provide programming and support for youth. Our Girl Talk, Express Yourself and Girls’ Loft programs counter stereotypical narratives of what it means to identity as female. We support and administer the Healthy Relationships for Youth program in South Shore high schools. This peer-led, violence prevention program addresses underlying issues of sexism, racism, stereotypes, homophobia, power and violence. Just as social distancing measures of COVID-19 were implemented, we were on the cusp of implementing our first ever boys-only program. The goal of this camp was to counter narratives of what it means to identify as male, break down negative and harmful gender stereotypes, emphasize self-appreciation and healthy emotional expression, and encourage mental health support: it’s ok to ask for help when we are struggling.
A hope for our community is that we:
We are living in unprecedented times and have been given an opportunity to pause, step back and take a look at what influences our beliefs and actions. As a community we can change direction for the better.
Please feel free to reach out to us at Second Story Women’s Centre. Please check out our website for more information and to sign up for our newsletter. We are here for you and we continue to offer support virtually during this time that our office is closed to visitors.
Please contact us at:
E – info@SecondStory.ca P – 902-640-3044 FB - @secstory
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As we are learning to cope with a new way of life with social distancing and isolation, tragedy strikes our province and rattles us to the core. We are left shaken, heartbroken, lost and grasping for understanding. We may not notice the impact this is having on our nervous system and we MUST take time to stay grounded. Our tendency might be to ignore the signs in our body or go on caring for others and not ourselves. We encourage you to take time for yourself even when it might not feel necessary. In these times of great fear and uncertainty, placing our focus on one thing that is certain...flowers coming up, birds singing...can offer some peace. Now more than ever we must be kind to ourselves and each other. We continue to answer emails & phone messages - email@example.com (902) 540-3044
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"WOW, this COVID-19 Crisis is quite the ride; as an individual, a community, a country, and around the world. We are being forced to travel a path that we definitely were not expecting! The path has bumps, can feel uphill, has ugly bits, has beauty, can feel lonely, and we are unable to see the end which could be far away or just around the courner. The journey along the path will be easier for some than it is for others. Everything is new and we are all learning along the way. It is important to be kind to yourself, do what you can and that is enough. Please, help others along the way when and if you are able to. While the path for each of us will look different, we must be kind and understanding to one another and most importantly to ourselves. Stay on your path, take your time, and do only what you can.
A big part of what we do here at Second Story Women's Centre is advocacy. We are looking for your help...access to Sexual Violence Therapists is Missing and Needed in Lunenburg and Queens Counties! Sexualized violence is a grim reality for many Nova Scotians. People in Lunenburg and Queens deserve the support of Specialized Trauma Informed Therapeutic Counsellors. If you feel inspired to support our efforts to insist on government support on this issue; it is easy - drop by the centre and sign the back of an advocacy card that we will deliver to the Minister of Health and Wellness. For more information stop by or contact Rhonda at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are strengthening our message to the community on all of the wonderful work we do for women and gender oppressed individuals in our community. Part of this process includes an updated logo and website. We believe that if we all work together we can lift each other up and reach for the stars! We have also updated our website and hope it is easier to navigate and find the information you are looking for on resources, programs, events, our staff team, donation opportunities, and volunteer opportunities. It is a work in progress, please be patient with us and we iron out the finer details.