Self-isolation can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 but for those subjected to intimate partner or family violence, staying home can be unsafe. Self-isolation also increases our reliance on digital platforms, which may lead to cyber-bullying and harassment. Being part of the Xaverian community means we uphold the principle of mutual respect for the rights, responsibilities, dignity, and well-being of yourself and others. These expectations do not change as we transition to virtual spaces and classrooms. StFX does not tolerate violence, harassment or discrimination in any form.
Some strategies for safety and support during these difficult times can include:
- safety planning – a safety plan is a practical plan for staying safe while in or leaving a violent situation. You can learn more about safety planning here.
- practice self-care – these are stressful times for all of us, however, trying to cope with our new reality while experiencing violence can be overwhelming. Taking time for self-care can really influence how we feel. You can learn how to build in self-care while staying safe here.
- If you’re experiencing online harassment you can easily report abuse across social networks and find support from others who know what you’re going through here
- Reach out for help – stay connected to trusted friends and family as much as possible online or over the phone. Social distancing can feel very isolating, remember you are not alone, we are here to support you.
Members of the Xaverian community who feel they are the target of harassment and discrimination can contact the Human Rights and Equity Advisor. Human rights advising, early intervention and investigation services remain available. Services will be provided via email, telephone or other virtual system as appropriate. Should you have any concerns of discrimination and or harassment please contact email@example.com or 902-318-1586
Heather Blackburn, the Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Advocate is also available to provide information and support to anyone experiencing sexual, intimate partner or family violence. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 902-867-5601.
The Naomi Society – is available to provide services by phone from Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm at 902-863-3807
The Antigonish Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Services Association service and supports over the phone from Mon- Fri 9am-4pm at 902-863-6221
AWRCSASA has also created a zine, entitled "Bystander Intervention & Community Care During the Covid-19 Pandemic". The zine was written by Johannah Black, Women's Studies, and designed by StFX student Emma Kuzmyk
Transition Houses of NS 24/7 crisis line – 1-855-225-0220
For Indigenous Members of Our Community: A Message From Andrea Currie
Kwe, Tansi, everyone. As an Indigenous mental health practitioner offering services to Indigenous students, faculty and staff at St.FX, I would like to take this opportunity to share some of the ways our traditional teachings can guide us and help us cope during these challenging and stressful times. The mental health staff at Elsibogtog Health and Wellness Centre here in Mi’kmkai created this Medicine Wheel as a way of thinking about our self-care during the COVID19 pandemic, and they have given me permission to share it with you:
And I always go back to the Seven Sacred Teachings for solid teachings to help with any situation. They are always applicable, no matter what the circumstances.
In our current reality, LOVE is expressed in our compassion for ourselves and each other, and our commitment to take care of ourselves and do what is best for everyone in our communities. RESPECT can be shown by our adherence to the directions we’ve been given to self-isolate physically as much as we can (while staying connected with each other in other ways) and maintain social distancing when we are around other people. COURAGE, which is not the absence of fear, but our ability to step up and continue to move forward even if we are afraid, can be seen when we face and accept the ways things are now and for the time being, and do our best to stay hopeful and grateful for the blessings we can still enjoy every day. HUMILITY is evident when we acknowledge that we are all human and everyone is affected by this pandemic and accept that we all will need help from each other to get through this. It’s okay to reach out for help, including counselling (through telehealth options, for now); see information below. We honour the TRUTH of who we are, knowing that we are part of the Sacredness of all of Life, that we share in the suffering and the joys of All Our Relations, and that we are, and always have been, resilient and resourceful as Indigenous peoples who have survived incredible hardships for hundreds of years. We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors as we continue to do this now, expressing gratitude to the Creator for the gift of each new day. Our HONESTY is shown in the ways we interact with each other, both speaking and listening from our hearts to our family, friends, and colleagues, in that what we share with others is consistent with what is going on for us on the inside. And PATIENCE. Well, we are all going to need lots of this one. We can take a deep breath, think of Kitpu, and take the Eagle’s perspective, seeing the big picture, knowing that this will pass but that it will take time.
Keep taking good care of yourselves and each other. Stay well. All Our Relations.
Andrea Currie, RCT
Saulteaux Métis from the Red River territory
If anyone feels the need to meet with Andrea, please email: email@example.com to set up an appointment.
For Queer and Trans Members of Our Community
With the closure of St. FX due to the current pandemic, many 2SLGBTQIA+ students are self-isolating in environments that are unsupportive or unsafe. Please let this message serve as a reminder that, even though others may not like or understand who you are, your identity is valid and you are who you are.
For those seeking support;
- GSDA offering FREE video chat support sessions through Zoom - contact Claydon Goering at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a session.
- Call, text, or chat with LGBT Youthline; call: 1-800-268-9688, text: 647-694-4275.
- Create a list of affirmations and read them to yourself often.
- Reach out to friends and keep yourself connected.
- If it is possible, set boundaries with unsupportive family members by not talking to them or distancing yourself physically from them.
For more strategies for self-isolating in a non-LGBTQ+ affirming environment, check out this link from Them.
For People of African Descent in Our Community
To slow the spread of the coronavirus, people around the country are asked to stay home and practice physical distancing. As we are adjusting to the new realities of this pandemic, we know you will be facing various challenges during this stressful time. To help you cope through this difficult situation, we have included a few supports specifically for the Black community.
For those seeking support;
- The St. FX African Descent Student Affairs Office is offering video chat support sessions through Zoom. Please, contact Kelsey Jones at email@example.com to set-up a session.
- The Association of Black Social Workers is providing free support to help you navigate this challenging time. Please call the toll-free number 1-855-732-1253 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Regular office hours are: Mon-Fri: 8:30am to 4:30pm.
- The Black Lives Matter Solidarity Fund Nova Scotia raised over $21 000 to help members of the Black community of Nova Scotia to buy necessities like food and medication. Based on the application, they will be providing a one-time stipend of $100. To apply to the fund as a recipient, please access the application form for the Black Lives Matter Solidarity Fund for Nova Scotia here: https://forms.gle/dGQW2kNV7mG9xKjDA
- If you need help, please reach out to these supports, you do not have to go through this alone.