Lisa Clarke on the Future of Peterborough

‘I would like us to build a more compassionate community’

Peterborough has an opportunity to better-support victims of trauma and help build resiliency by recognizing the signs early on, says Lisa Clarke.

Lisa, executive director (ED) of Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre (KSAC) in Peterborough, is hopeful trauma can be given more consideration for the role it plays in some of the current issues the city faces, including homelessness and substance use.

She sees a chance to build increased awareness and, in turn, create a better community for survivors of trauma and sexual violence.

The executive director shares with Electric City Magazine what she’d like to see for the future in Peterborough.

Electric City Magazine is engaging in conversations about the kind of city, and the kind of future, we want to build. There are many challenges facing this city right now, many ideas about directions the city could go, and many opportunities to build towards those futures.

We are speaking with local community organizers, thought-leaders, advocates, activists and citizens about their visions for the Future of Peterborough. We will be publishing these interviews over the next weeks and months.

Here’s a snapshot of our conversation with Lisa:




What is the problem or possibility in Peterborough that is most alive for you right now?

This is an opportunity to look at successes in other communities and hear innovative ideas to solve these very complicated and complex issues in our community.

As a part of (KSAC), what I am seeing in our community is an opportunity for community members to better understand the impact of trauma, especially trauma in childhood.

Understanding the health effects of trauma helps us to build empathy and connection with people whose lives we might not understand or sympathize with initially.

Through the current landscape of our community, including our conversations around homelessness, substance use and violence, we have this opportunity to look at all of those issues through the lenses of colonization and trauma and different systems of harm.


What commitment do you hold that makes this important to you?

For myself, I would like us to build a more compassionate community so that we can truly address these issues and not raise another generation of people who have been impacted by interpersonal violence and systemic violence.

Our centre works towards educating and addressing those issues with our clients and with the community.


What do you think needs to happen or what would you like to see next?

An offering at the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre.

This centre is very committed to partnerships and collaboration.

Not one person or organization can do this immense work on their own and together we are strongest.

This is an opportunity to look at successes in other communities and hear innovative ideas to solve these very complicated and complex issues in our community.

I love our community and believe that together we can have the compassion and have the skills to address these issues together.


What steps are you able to take in that direction?

Our centre is working to build understanding with professionals in our community, front-line services and with schools to better-understand the effects of adverse childhood experiences, trauma and violence-informed care, and building resilience.


If there was anything you would like, want, or need from the community what would it be?

It’s important for the community to understand that issues like homelessness and increased community violence directly are associated with gender-based violence and an increase in sexual violence and intimate partner violence. If we continue to disenfranchise people or don’t address these issues at their root causes, we are complicit in increasing gender-based violence in this community.

To learn more and connect with the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, click here.

Photos by Yvonne Hollandy.


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