‘Ensure Celebrations Are As Safe As Possible’

December 23, 2022

The Sexual Assault Response Team [SART] reminded the public about a number of safety tips, noting they ”want to ensure that your seasonal celebrations during this time, and throughout the year are as safe as possible.”

A spokesperson said, “This time of year, the holidays are a time for families, anticipated fun, laughter, and friends. Many of us reflect on the events of the past year and anticipate the upcoming 12 months. While most of the holidays are considered joyous, there are events that try to steal our joy. The mantra of giving can easily become a moment of pain and despair, and SART want to ensure that your seasonal celebrations during this time, and throughout the year are as safe as possible.

“The Sexual Assault Response Team [SART] are dedicated responders who are on call 24 hours a day to assist those who report an encounter of sexual assault. SART is a community-based collaborative response to all reported cases of sexual assault, providing immediate and follow-up medical, advocacy, and criminal justice services in an ethical and compassionate manner.

“This team consists of trained sexual assault Nurse Examiners, Bermuda Police Service, Department of Child, and Family Services, Centre Against Abuse, and Department of Ageing and Disability. One of the roles of SART are to provide a wraparound service for survivors.

“Gaynell Hayward Ceasar, Chairperson of SART, wishes to remind everyone to enjoy their holiday time and to also remember:

  • Trust your gut—If you don’t feel comfortable in a situation, leave and or get help
  • Be cautious inviting someone into your home or going to someone else’s home—3 out of 5 sexual assaults occur in the person’s home or the home of the perpetrator
  • Be aware of date rape drugs—don’t accept beverages in open containers, never leave your drink unattended and watch the bartender pour your drink
  • Don’t leave a friend—if you are out and your friend is intoxicated, make sure they get home safely
  • Keep an eye on your children – if people are in your home or you and your children are at someone’s home, never leave your children unattended

She went on to say, “Alcohol use during the holidays rises with the increase of parties and social gatherings. Alcohol is also the number one facilitator of date rape drugs, and victims are often under the influence when a sexual assault occurs as perpetrators take advantage of their diminished faculties. More than 90% of sexual assault survivors have reported the use of alcohol prior to being sexually assaulted. It is important that we all understand that victims are never at fault for a sexual assault. If a person does not or cannot consent, then it is a sexual assault.”

The spokesperson said, “Sexual assaults can be reported by calling 247-1624. On behalf of SART we encourage everyone to have a safe and an enjoyable Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

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