Sexual assault has made it back to the forefront of the news lately. However, this does not mean that sexual assault stopped occurring; it just simply means that other incidents are not being reported. According to Statistics Canada, only 6 of every 100 instances of sexual assault are being reported https://www.sexassault.ca/statistics.htm..
The perpetrator of sexual assault could be a stranger, someone you trust, and in most cases someone in the position of power. Sexual assault could happen in the safety of your home, in your workplace, public transportation, and in other public places. The assault could happen at any time – during the day or at night.
The perpetrator, the location, and the time of the assault vary. However, the common theme that you hear from women and men who have been subjected to sexual assault are: feeling of guilt, shame, blame, and feeling alone. It is common knowledge that victims of sexual assault are hesitant of talking or reporting the incident to avoid being victimized all over again. Society treats victim of assault like it is their fault why they were assaulted. This needs to end.
The most current one that made the news, which everyone is talking about, is the case of an American mogul Harvey Weinstein. Harvey’s case is not surprising, as the history of sexual assault committed by a high profile individual is common. As to be expected, just like any other high profile cases, this incident generated a lot of media attention. Multitudes of well-known, high profile, and well-respected women are speaking up of their own experience. His wife left him since the news came out. These incidents did not happen overtime, which means that these women kept the incident a secret and suffered in silence. Whoever blew the whistle is brave and courageous amidst feeling scared and alone.
What happens now? How do we all put an end to shaming sexual assault victims? How do we maintain the momentum of the “Harvey Weinstein” effect? How do we continue to elevate and humanized the impact of sexual assault? SPEAK UP! TALK ABOUT IT!
- Author: Tesha Joy Plaza, BA (Hons) Psych., Intern Clinician