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Community / Sexual violence charity embarks on rebrand to become more accessible

SHETLAND Rape Crisis’s Lerwick base is set to get a rebrand as part of this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign.

The building, next to the old swimming pool car park, is now formally called the Compass Centre in a bid to become more inclusive and accessible.

There was a recognition that the name Shetland Rape Crisis may have been off putting to some seeking support.

The Compass Centre name will also be used for the work the charity does.

Service manager Lisa Ward said: “We chose The Compass Centre as the name for our centre and the work we do with survivors because the compass is symbolic of journey and direction and the work we do helps survivors to navigate their own way forward after trauma.”

A private ribbon-cutting ceremony will be led at the centre by Shetland Islands Council chief executive Maggie Sandison.

Ward said: “This year for the 16 days we are exploring the theme of women in leadership and so we invited Maggie to join us both as a friend and ally of the service and as an inspiring local woman leader.”

During the opening ceremony Sandison will spend some time with the charity’s youth activism volunteers, BEE (Bold, Equal, Empowered), discussing their aspirations for a future free from sexual violence.

The 16 Days of Activism campaign is taking place from 25 November to 10 December.

Also planned is a collaboration between Shetland Rape Crisis, Shetland Arts and Shetland Women’s Aid to present Fragmented – a one-act play performed by Islesburgh Drama Group and written, directed and produced by Stephanie Pagulayan.

Exploring the impact and trauma of childhood sexual abuse in adult life, the play shows how an adult survivor, Evelyn, copes with her conflicting inner identity and outer persona as she comes to terms with what happened to her as a child.

The live performance at the Garrison Theatre on 26 November will be followed by a Q&A with local support organisations.

As well as the annual light up of local buildings in orange, to shine a light on violence against women and as a beacon of hope for survivors, the Pride flag will be flying over Lerwick Town Hall on some days during the campaign.

The Compass Centre will also be launching a survey to gather the views and experiences of LGBTI+ people as part of their work towards achieving the LGBT Youth Chartermark.

Access and inclusion worker Emilie Smith said: “We believe it’s important that LGBTI+ survivors don’t feel silenced about what’s happened to them or what support they need, as well as seeing their identities, experiences and issues reflected in information about sexual violence.”

Other activities taking place during the campaign include public displays celebrating women in leadership and exploring the theme of sex education, which can be seen at Market House and Clickimin Leisure Centre, and an online social media campaign including a takeover event by local youth activists.

Ward added: “This campaign is a massive team effort by our staff and volunteers, and demonstrates their commitment and dedication to raising awareness to eradicate gender inequality and gender-based violence.”