Sexual Violence Support Around the Clock | CASASC 24 Hour Text, Webchat, and Phone Help Line
It’s dark. It’s 4 am. The messages keep coming.
“I thought I blocked him,” thinks Eve. “How did he find me on snap again? He must have created another account.”
“I can’t take this anymore, after what he did to me. I don’t want anyone to find out, especially my parents.”
She covers her face with her blankets, burrowing deeper into her bed to escape. Her phone partially covered by her pillow flashes again. Another message from someone who hurt her.
Eve feels like she’s alone. Flashbulb memories appear from the worst night of her life. She would just really like to forget what happened.
“Can I report this?” she wonders. “I want him to stop this and not hurt someone else.”
Outside her bedroom, her house, a storm is swirling, much like the storm in her brain.
“Snapchat was my place, something fun to do,” Eve thinks. “He took that away from me. Now he’s back, messaging me to meet up again, like I would want to.”
She remembers a number a friend gave her a few weeks ago. She told Eve “text whenever.” Eve picks up her phone, still under her blankets and types in the number and a simple “hello.”
Within seconds a volunteer has responded. They chat back and forth a little. The volunteer, an individual specially trained to talk about sexual violence, listens and provides support. They are a reassuring presence for Eve, letting her know through clicks of the keyboard that she is not alone. She is believed. It is not her fault.
At the end of the chat about thirty minutes later, Eve feels supported and relieved, especially because she was able to share what happened and how it has affected her. She has her next steps in mind and will take them when she’s ready.
The above scenario is an example of an experience someone may have when they reach out to the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centres’ (CASASC) 24 Hour Sexual Violence Text, Webchat, and Phone Help Line.
For over 35 years, CASASC has provided a range of sexual violence supports in central Alberta including counselling, play therapy, police and court support, crisis support, and education.
CASASC began operating a phone crisis line in 1985 to respond to the needs in the community. In May 2016, the 24 hour text and webchat help line was launched as an additional safe and accessible option. It was the first sexual violence text/webchat-based helpline in Canada.
When COVID-19 brought Alberta to a standstill in March of 2020, survivors turned to the CASASC help line with increased need. The help line is a simple driver to weather the ongoing storm; It helps support those who have been affected by sexual violence in Alberta.
“For any feelings that come up, the questions that you have, our caring compassionate, trained volunteers are here 24 hours for you,” says Erin Willmer, CASASC Interim Volunteer Team Lead. “Information, referrals, and resources are provided in real time.”
“Whether you’ve recently experienced sexual violence, you are a friend of someone who has is the past, or you are a support person who has a question, our volunteers are there to support and listen,” says Erin. “We are here to connect with you wherever you are and empower you to your next steps towards healing.”
The CASASC helpline provides anonymous, confidential support when you need it. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to all Albertans.
Text or call anytime at 1-866-956-1099. Webchat can be accessed at www.casasc.ca.