How the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre is here to help StFX women
For such a small town, Antigonish is jammed packed with some awesome amenities. From waffle grilled cheeses and the farmer’s market and the Christmas parade, there is never a shortage of places to go in the Nish. And let’s not forget that we’re only a quick drive to the ocean! As far as a university town goes, Antigonish may be small, but she is mighty when it comes to everything the town has to offer.
One of the lesser known amenities of Antigonish is the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre. This organization is designed to specifically cater the needs of any and all women in the Antigonish community, including StFX students. Not only do they offer crisis support, advocacy, and counselling, but the often initiate and stand up for local issues affecting women. The goal of the AWRC is to promote self-awareness, independence, and individual decision making for women in the community.
The Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre offers support for women in a variety of ways. The AWRC runs programs throughout the year that vary from weekly craft circles to emotional eating and anxiety seminars. There is also one on one support in the form of counselling available through the AWRC with highly trained professionals. Specifically, there are counsellors for issues such as: sexual assault, domestic violence, childhood trauma, anxiety, depression, poverty, stress management, and addictions. There is also assistance in finding employment, academic upgrading and training, as well as parenting courses. The Centre can also provide women in difficult situations with advocates to help them navigate the legal, medical or other confusing fields following trauma.
A large part of what the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre does is provide sexual assault resources for survivors. The AWRC offers three forms of sexual assault services in addition to counselling. The first is the Antigonish Sexual Assault Response Team, which works to help survivors who choose to press charges proceed through the criminal justice system. ASART works in partnership with the Antigonish Crown Attorney’s Office, Nova Scotia Department of Justice Provincial Victim Services Program, RCMP – Antigonish Detachment, St. Francis Xavier University Health and Counseling Centre, and St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Emergency Department by outlining each specific member’s role to ensure that the utmost care is given to the survivor. AWRC also offers a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner who is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to conduct a forensic examination of a victim of sexual assault. Finally, there are also support groups for adult survivors of sexual trauma that come in two phases: those just beginning the healing process and those further along in their recovery.
The Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre is located at 219 Main Street, and is open between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. The first AWRC event this school year is the Take Back the Night March, a walk through Antigonish in protest of sexualized violence and advocating for safer streets. The walk begins at 7 pm outside of the Angus L. MacDonald Library, on Thursday, September 27th, 2018.