For the last few weeks, our Facebook auction - "Photo for a Cause Online Auction" - has been making its rounds on social media. I'm sure many recognize this graphic as the main image for our event, as well as the image of the canvas itself, that was on display at Elevation.
For those who missed out on all the excitement, the auction was created to help support an important cause and a cause that is quite often not discussed.
Traditionally discussions on sexual abuse, assault or rape are murmured in hushed tones, with those who have felt and suffered the unforgettable effects left to feel as outsiders. The stigmas attached to sexual abuse only amplify why a survivor would keep the event to themselves. It's well documented in medical and public health resources, that by not opening up and discussing the abuse the survivor can suffer other adverse health issues. These health issues, or unwanted side effects of the sexual abuse, are often felt for much longer than anyone deserves.
Unfortunately, without seeking help, the cycle of hurt and pain only continues. Friends and loved ones, who were not victimized in the assault, often grapple at ways to help the survivor. As a society, we struggle to understand how such a horrendous act can even happen, and how to assist in the healing process. With many members of society at a loss for what they can do to help, we strongly need to continue working with organizations such as the Lloydminster Sexual Assault Information Centre (LSAIC).
Without organizations such as LSAIC, and proactive discussions - both online and offline - survivors stories aren't heard. Being a communications professional and a photographer, I wanted to find a way to help continue these discussions, thus the creation of "Photo for a Cause Online Auction".
The auction was a week long event, that started on Feb 14th, Valentine's Day, and ran until 11:59am on Feb 21st, with the opening bid posted at $50. Throughout the auction, and prior, attendees were encouraged to have dialogue and educate themselves on sexual abuse, through the use of infographics and simple memes/ads. Between dialogue and personal interest, the auction took off on a great start. Within less than 15 minutes the bid jumped by $15!
Throughout the week, it was a heated bid off, with the closing bid showing as $350 - all proceeds going direct to LSAIC. However, there comes a plot twist during wrap up.
As I finalized the organization of the event and delivered the canvas to the winner - Shawn Jacula of RE/MAX Prairie Realty - I was in for a genuine surprise. As I dropped off the canvas with Shawn, he causally mentioned he'd rounded up the closing bid. Curious as to how much he rounded up, I took a peek into the envelop to see he'd rounded to $1000.00! I was both floored and thrilled to realize that this auction, created as a conversation starter, was able to make that much of an impact!
When we consider all of the negative effects; mentally, physically, emotionally & spiritually, that a survivor of sexual abuse often faces, events such as this auction, remind us that there are supportive people looking for ways to help survivors heal.
I would personally like to thank everyone involved in the auction, and most specifically Tannis from Elevation, Shaw from RE/MAX and LSIAC for being part of B.C.P.hoto's first ever charity auction.
"A camera is a tool to teach you how to see without a camera."