In an office building not far from the bleak industrial wharves in the northern Ontario town of Thunder Bay, social worker Karen Slomke is clicking through a curious set of Powerpoint slides.
Her audience sees photos of zebras being chased by lions, cartoon illustrations of the human brain, and lots of flowcharts with coloured arrows. Though some of her slides are lighthearted, most are deadly serious. This presentation is designed to save lives.
Karen works for Children’s Centre Thunder Bay and her audience is primarily Aboriginal girls in their early teens. All have experienced physical or sexual abuse, or both. Karen recently worked with Sherry, a young teen who has been sexually assaulted four different times by four different adult men. The first assault happened when she was 12.