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Anyone can be sexually assaulted

Young businesswoman warning male colleague while being sexually abused in office – Photo courtesy Stockphoto.com

 

In the midst of the media hype surrounding Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s passing in September 2017 to the demise of Miramax mogul Harvey Weinstein, more and more women are finding their voices to speak out against those who have sexually assaulted them. Of late is Summer Zervos reporting she was sexually assaulted by US President Donald Trump when he was running his former office on The Apprentice. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-served-a-subpoena-by-the-apprentice-contestant-who-alleged-sexual-assault/article/2637593

Anyone can be sexually assaulted. There is no label identifying one group as more susceptible than another. The difference in that is about which group is at a greater chance of coming forward and being believed. I find it sad that lower-class populations run this risk more than celebrities. Why? There is a less-likely chance of their case being followed up by authorities or even more so, being believed by family/friends and in more tragic cases, dismissed as acceptable.

First of all, I want to say that NO ONE chooses to be sexually assaulted or abused. No matter what the adult entertainment industry or any other dysfunctional element or being in society says. There is a considerable misconceptions surrounding sexual assault. The University of Michigan has posted this list on it’s website to assist to help clarify the myths and truths. https://sapac.umich.edu/article/52

These myths include that sexual assault is about sex, when it is about power and control. A misconception is that men cannot be sexually assault, when they most certainly can by women or men. If a woman or man is sexually assaulted that person would: a) report the assault immediately, or b) do something such as fight back. Well, here’s the hard truth – when sexually assault is committed out of power and control, the perpetrator counts on the individual assaulted to be too afraid to do something such as report the event to the authorities. This way the individual will not be caught and can continue to assault others. Additionally, the individual who is being assaulted (or was assaulted in the past) experience(s) a reaction called the fight-flight-or-freeze response. Fighting back can happen, so can fleeing, or running away. Many times the individual is too shocked or scared to do anything so the physiological response is that of freezing up. Animals do this to ‘play dead’ when attacked by a predator in the wild. Humans do it to when under attack.

If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted or abused, and is coming to you for help, do not judge that person. Listen. Be supportive. Be kind. Believe what is said is truth. There are rare cases when events of sexual assault are manufactured while the strong majority of real traumatic events that are being disclosed with great emotional strength and courage.

In the GTA you can call these numbers for support if you’ve been sexually assaulted and need an unbiased and supportive ear:

https://211ontario.ca/439-0_assaulted-women-s-helpline-assaulted-women-s-helpline-assaulted-women-s-helpline/

https://211ontario.ca/1014-0_women-s-college-hospital-sexual-assault-domestic-violence-care-centre/

https://211ontario.ca/126-0_hope-24-7-intervention-services-for-victims-of-sexual-assault-hope-24-7/

Our office also provides counselling for women and men who have been sexually assaulted or have been sexually abused as children. Please call us at 416-621-9949 to schedule a confidential first session where you will be heard, validated, and supported as you begin your journey to heal.