Canadian 'tech startup meets non-profit' spearheads innovative work to combat sexual violence.
Here's the BOLT Safety Society story.
As per UN Women, 1 in 3 women globally experience some form of sexual violence. There are 525,600 minutes in a given calendar year. The University of Ottawa reported that on an annual basis, 460,000 cases of sexual assault are reported in Canada. This means an assault occurs every 1.14 minute. The Government of Canada reports that 107,810 people experienced domestic violence in 2019, of which 79% were women. Furthermore, women are five times more likely than men have a traumatic sexual assault experience, as reported by Statistics Canada. Other vulnerable populations, such as the young, the 2SLGTBQIA+, and Indigenous communities are reported to similarly be at greater risk of experiencing violence.
With such alarming numbers, there proves to be a need to improve the status quo in the current society. BOLT Safety Society strongly believes that with community-based programming directed at both providing tangible support and educating the community, we will be able to ameliorate safety conditions across the globe.
As a Canadian non-profit organisation that was incorporated federally in 2020, we have been advocating for survivors of sexual violence, domestic abuse, and harassment through our numerous initiatives. Our work has been recognized nationally by the L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth program, and we have advocated for gender equity at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. We have been featured in prominent Canadian media publications, including CBC News, CTV News, and Global News.
Our co-founders pioneered our novel tech-based entry into the non-profit world when they developed and launched our Digital Platform, which is available on the WIX mobile app or any web browser, providing a database of resources for survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse. Since then, we have carried out various large-scale initiatives including Project LyghtNyng, a series of educational workshops aimed at improving awareness on consent and personal safety. To date, the project has served over 475 participants across Canada, Kenya, and India. Additionally, with our Safe Hubs program, we partner with businesses to provide victims of abuse a safe space - there are 39 Safe Hubs spanning across 16 cities in BC and Ontario. Our Safe Buddies program operated a national hotline, providing both phone and in-person accompaniment to people feeling unsafe, later evolving into an event-coverage model. Safe Buddies have reached over 10,400 people through event coverage. Overall, our organization has had an impact on 24,300+ people with 93,100+ impressions across our platforms.
BOLT Safety Society’s current project, “Sexual Violence: A Global Pandemic,” is a research and documentary project that sheds light on the present conditions of sexual violence in Canada and other parts of the world. This project serves to spread awareness on existing support systems and conduct a comprehensive needs assessment for future interventions aiming to respond to this human rights crisis. Moreover, we are expanding our network of Safe Hubs and survivor-centric resource database on our Digital Platform, which can be accessed via a mobile app or any web browser.