Project manager Nancy O’Regan is seen here during Strait Area Community Response to Sexual Violence Network’s launch of the “Every Door is the Right Door” campaign.

ANTIGONISH: Community partners received federal funding for a project trying to end gender-based violence.

On October 13, Central Nova MP Sean Fraser announced $395,000 in federal funding for the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association (AWRCSASA). Fraser made the announcement, which was part of a community discussion on sexual violence, on behalf of Maryam Monsef, Minister of the Status of Women.

A release from Status of Women Canada stated the money will go toward a three-year project designed to prevent sexual violence against women and girls. The release goes on to state that the AWRCSASA is partnering with Paq’tnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, St. Francis Xavier University, and the Strait regional school board “to work towards systemic change to better recognize and address sexual violence. Community stakeholders will be engaged and will develop and implement action plans to sexual violence against women and girls.”

Fraser said the money will go towards helping develop policies and a framework to end gender-based violence that can be applied across the country.

“After the announcement, we had a really valuable panel with representatives from each of the partners to discuss some of the issues that are really preventing gender-based violence from coming to an end in the short term,” said Fraser.

“One hundred and fifty female leaders have been chosen with 55 organizations across Canada, three of which are local to Antigonish, to help this advancing gender equality program. What they’re going to be doing is helping facilitate… the development of policies that will apply to every school in the Strait regional school board to help the implementation of a new sexual violence policy that the university has adapted and to help engage in the community with Paq’tnkek First Nation so they can work with both survivors of gender-based violence and help with prevention by engaging with communities that might be more likely to be perpetrators of gender-based violence.”

Lucille Harper, executive director with AWRCSASA, stated in the press release that sexualized violence is an issue affecting people across Nova Scotia.

“The Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, Strait regional school board, St. Francis Xavier University and Paq’tnkek Mi’kmaw Nation have all been working on improving responses to and on preventing sexualized violence,” stated Harper. “We are learning together and from each other about promising approaches as we make our communities safer and more responsive.”