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Sharlaine Glowatsky (she/they), the SVRC’s confidential intake & triage specialist on a couch in the Sexual Violence Resource Centre

Feel safe, seen and supported at the Sexual Violence Resource Centre

A conversation with Sharlaine Glowatsky, SVRC’s confidential intake & triage specialist

April 12, 2024 — 

In January 2020, the University of Manitoba launched the Sexual Violence Resource Centre (SVRC) with two staff members. Four years later, the office has expanded its capacity with new programming, three additional staff members and 21 student employees. Sharlaine Glowatsky (she/they), the SVRC’s confidential intake & triage specialist, answers some key questions about the centre and her role.

What is the Sexual Violence Resource Centre?

Sharlaine Glowatsky: The Sexual Violence Resource Centre provides support, resources, information and referral services for any student, faculty or staff member who has been affected by sexual violence. The SVRC is a trauma-informed and survivor-centered space, where the needs and goals of the person seeking support are centralized, and where survivors are never pressured to disclose anything they don’t want to.

What brings people to the SVRC?

SG: Folks come to the SVRC after experiencing sexual violence, whether that be assault, harassment or intimate partner or family violence. They may need help making sense of what has happened to them or need to feel safe again with themselves or with others. They may want information about their options, or just need someone to hear them out and acknowledge that what they went through was harmful. We also support UM community members who are assisting someone else through an experience of sexual violence. 

What is your role at the SVRC?

SG: My role as the confidential intake & triage specialist at the SVRC means that I’m often the first point of contact for folks. I respond to inquiries, and I meet with folks both in person and virtually to explore what’s happening to them, how they have been feeling and the impacts on their life. I provide information about available resources, such as academic accommodations, medical options, reporting options both on and off campus, counselling services and cultural supports, safety planning and identifying support systems. I’m also available to consult with staff and faculty who need clarification about policies or need support with getting a student connected with the SVRC.

Why is doing this work important to you?

SG: My intention in this role is to hold space for folks needing to feel safe, to feel heard, to feel supported and hopefully leave feeling empowered in the decisions that they make for themselves. This work is important because sexual violence can impact anyone and can leave a person feeling traumatized and alone in their situation. I want to remind people of their strengths and the choices they can make in moving towards healing.

What do you want people accessing your services to know?

SG: We know that coming forward with your experience of sexual violence can feel very scary and overwhelming.  We want students, staff and faculty to know that we offer a space where your story is respected, where support is available for you, and you can reach out to us by email, phone or in person — whatever way feels safest for you.

How else does the SVRC support the UM Community?

SG: We also have a sexual trauma specialist who can meet with staff, faculty and students who want to build skills for responding to their sexual violence experience.  For sexual violence prevention, we have an education and program officer who coordinates workshops for students, staff and faculty on healthy relationships and responding to disclosures. They also coordinate the Safer Social Event Team, which is a team of students who attend campus parties and assist other students if a situation of concern arises.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month—what do you think is the most important thing people should know about sexual violence?

SG: Sexual violence can happen to anyone: you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. The SVRC can help and be there for you when you need to talk or need more information to decide about how you want to move forward.

How can students, staff and faculty access support at the SVRC?

SG: Students, staff and faculty can make an appointment by calling 204-474-6562 or emailing svrc [at] umanitoba [dot] ca. Pre-arranged appointments can be held in-person on any UM campus or can be held by Zoom or phone. Appointments are also available during drop-in hours every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am-11am at 537 UMSU University Centre.

Visit the Sexual Violence Resource Centre website for more details.

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