Tue, October 5, 2004
THE ONTARIO Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres has launched a postcard campaign, hoping to raise Premier Dalton McGuinty's awareness about date rape. Coalition president Marilyn Oladimeji said the province has announced funding for domestic violence programs, but "this is only one form of violence that women face.
"The time to take action is now," said Oladimeji, a counsellor at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre.
Additional funding is needed for Ontario's rape crisis centres, where women seeking help can face waiting lists of up to six weeks for counselling, Oladimeji said.
Services for immigrant and aboriginal women are lacking.
PUBLIC EDUCATION NEEDED
Public education programs about date rape, including those in schools, are also needed, she said. Women aged 16-25 years old are most at risk for date rape and in one-third of all sexual assaults, women know their attacker.
Community Services Minister Sandra Pupatello praised the coalition's awareness campaign for highlighting the issue of date rape.
Pupatello said the province will announce next month its domestic violence action plan, which, despite its name, will target all forms of violence against women. Included in the plan is a massive four-year, $5-million public education campaign.
"We have to start with the prevention, otherwise the numbers will never change," said Pupatello, who is also the minister responsible for women's issues.