Monthly Archives: April 2016

Steps to Freedom from Sexual Exploitation


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The first step is becoming aware.

On Monday, the City of Edmonton lit the High Level bridge orange, and all week Edmontonians have been wearing orange clothing and orange ribbons. Why? Because it’s Sexual Exploitation Week of Awareness, and wearing orange shows support for the prevention and elimination of sexual exploitation. Orange is also the colour of freedom, and groups like DECSA, CEASE, and SEWG work with people who have histories of sexual exploitation to find growth and freedom.


What is sexual exploitation?

Sexual exploitation is the sexual abuse of a person through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for drugs, food, shelter, protection, other basics of life, and/or money.

Have you been sexually exploited?

Have you:

  • Been exposed to a sexual environment where you felt pressured?
  • Worked as an escort, erotic masseuse, or phone sex operator?
  • Sold or traded yourself for basic needs to survive?
  • Been forced to perform sex or sexual acts in person or online for money, drugs, or alcohol?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then you have been sexually exploited.

Whether sexual exploitation is part of your past or present, and whether you’re male or female, including transgendered individuals, DECSA can help. For more information, contact us at 780-474-2500.

The second step is making the call.

Art Turns Lives Around: Story of Art Instructor at DECSA

Who knew that pencil crayons could turn your life around?

EmmaIf you told Emma a year ago that today she’d be a thriving artist and the instructor of Try Angles – an art class under the umbrella of the Community Linking Programs, Wellness Network – she wouldn’t have believed you. She wasn’t an artist, she was a business woman, and drawing and painting weren’t even on her list of things to do for fun.

It was through some dark times that her inner artist began to emerge about a year ago. Struggling in an abusive relationship and facing overwhelming depression, Emma attempted to take her own life. When she woke up in the hospital, getting a box of pencil crayons was the first step to a complete life change for Emma. She’d never done much art before, and she found that it was exactly what she needed. “It was therapy for me, and it was amazing,” she says. “Art is so relaxing! It doesn’t let my mind wander into the past or future. I am in the moment – now. Yesterday I can’t control. Tomorrow hasn’t come. Now is the only time I can control.”

Art became a doorway into good mental health for Emma, and she started attending Try Angles, an art class for adults living with mental health or addictions. She soaked up every class and even started creating art at home.

Now, a year later, she is teaching two Try Angles classes and creating all sorts of beautiful artworks in her free time. “I am very, very happy for the first time,” she says. “My life is good. I never thought I’d stay that, but it is.”

Emma is now bringing the Try Angles art class to DECSA on Tuesdays from 1:30 until 3:30, and you are welcome to join us. Come with two dollars for supplies and all your artistic enthusiasm!

The Try Angles art class is under the umbrella of the Community Linking Programs, Wellness Network. These programs are available on a drop-in, non-referred basis for adults living with mental health and addictions. Please contact Cathy at 780-342-7765 or visit for more information.