Local artists developing program to help with sexual trauma

According to data posted online by Statistics Canada, more than one-third of Canadians reported experiencing childhood physical or sexual abuse in a 2014 study.

Jenesa MacMullin listens while her partner Alexander speaks on Dec. 13 about their in development sexual assault awareness program. Alexander is a survivor himself, something the pair says shaped their desire to give back. Photo by Evan J. Pretzer Rep/Ex Staff

Share Adjust Comment Print

Jenesa and Alexander MacMullin sing, perform and entertain often in their lives as professional musicians. But now, they want to work in a new way.

The pair is currently developing a program to educate people about sexual abuse. With Alexander being a childhood survivor and Jenesa being passionate about it, they knew a program was an ideal to make.

“We met at university,” Alexander said. “I shared my experience of being abused for almost a decade, we went through the whole process with my family and really this has given us a chance to help people, that is what we want to do.”

Right now the overall format is still in development. The MacMullin’s want it to be a little over an hour long talk where they will share their story and perform as well as talk about what kids need to know alongside statistics.

For Jenesa, they want people to learn, and feel inspired.

“We want to talk about living past childhood trauma and educate kids about what is not OK,” she said.

“A lot of times there is not education on what is appropriate. We are going to create hope. When people see someone like Alexander who went through so much trauma, we hope it inspires them.”

In Canada right now, incidents of abuse for minors are relatively common. According to data posted online by Statistics Canada, more than one-third of Canadians reported experiencing childhood physical or sexual abuse in a 2014 study. The MacMullin’s want to lower this number, but also think it is higher.

“The numbers are not representative,” Jenesa said. “They do not deal with people who have never disclosed and we know the numbers are higher, especially for males. There is more stigma there and it has not been addressed fully.”

Other reports from Statistics Canada back the notion. A 2004 study found men were involved in 15 per cent of sexual assaults and a study from 1998 found between five and 10 per cent of men are assaulted in their lifetimes. Alexander is one and, with time, he says it has gotten easier to talk about.

“It is difficult every time, but the more we share the easier it is to talk about,” he said. “I’ve found a lot of healing and it is kind of like #MeToo, people talk about what happened, it inspires others and it gets easier the more knowledge people have.”

Jenesia hopes to begin their program soon and has been in conversation with various schools over the last three months. Nothing is set at this time. If you would like to help out, the pair can be contacted at jenesiamusic.com

epretzer@postmedia.com

Comments