I think I've been raped/sexually assaulted/molested. What now?
Remember that nothing you did or said contributed to what happened; the person who chose to harm you is 100% responsible.
Nobody asks to be sexually assaulted.
There are many resources available if you want to access them, but any decisions you make from this point forward are completely up to you. Whatever you need to do to feel safe and heal is for you to decide.
- If you choose to seek medical attention, keep in mind that there is a 72-hour window in which to collect DNA. If you want to preserve evidence at this point, don’t bathe or change your clothes.
- For more information on what you can expect during your ongoing medical care, please view Heather Battle’s video on the Sheldon Chumir Centre’s process.
- If you choose to report the crime to the police, you may do so whenever you want.
- If you choose to seek counselling, when and if you are ready, you are entitled to 12 free sessions at CCASA, available for anyone over the age of 12. Children under 12 can be put in touch with the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all method for healing; it takes time and is a unique process for each survivor.
For more information, please contact us.
I was just sexually harassed at school/work…
Remember your rights:
- You have the right to feel safe
- You have the right to learn in a supportive/non-hostile environment
- You have the right to talk to a supervisor or principal about what is happening
- You have the right to have your situation handled appropriately and to know that you did nothing to deserve it
Someone just told me they've been sexually assaulted/abused. What do I do?
If someone chooses to tell you about their assault or abuse, it probably means they trust you or feel safe enough to tell you. It takes a lot of courage for someone to admit that they’ve been assaulted or abused, and the kind of reaction you have after they tell you should acknowledge & respect that courage.
When disclosing to you, survivors need to know two things:
- You believe them.
- The assault was not their fault.
Here are some things that you can do to be supportive.
- Listen to what the survivor has to say and let him or her lead the conversation.
- Avoid asking unnecessary questions that might lead to victim blaming.
So don’t ask things like, “Why were you in that situation to begin with?” or, “Why did you allow yourself to be alone with him or her?” Questions like this will only shame the survivor and are not helpful. Suspend any judgement you might have. You’re there to listen.
The offender is 100% responsible for making the choice to harm someone in this way, and nothing anybody does ever invites or justifies this kind of violence.
Remember that survivors, however they reacted at the time of their assault, did what they needed to do to make it out of a terrifying situation. Alive. The circumstances of what happened are irrelevant; what the survivor needs from you is support.
Also remember that people react differently to traumatic events, and no one way works for everyone. While some people might be visibly upset when they disclose, others may not appear to be upset at all.
When the victim is 18 years or older.
There are some important things you should know!
*If the victim was abused in the past, currently feels safe, and does not wish to disclose the violence, you should respect his/her wishes UNLESS the victim’s offender still has access to potential victims (especially minors). Then it is your obligation to disclose. Be sure to get in touch with us.
*If you think the victim might still be in a situation where he/she could be unsafe, DO NOT promise to keep the information to yourself. Talk to another trusted adult or contact us right away.
When the victim is under 18 years old.
*If you find out a victim under 18 has experienced sexual violence, it is your obligation to call Child and Family Services as soon as possible.
Contact us for more information.
My friend just told a rape joke. What now?
Without meaning to, your friend just reinforced that rape is somehow funny or trivial. Since we know that one in three girls and one in six boys experience sexual violence in their lifetimes; a survivor or peer of a survivor might have overheard the comment that makes light of their experience. These types of jokes re-victimize survivors and contribute to victim blaming.
Rape jokes and comments can normalize sexual violence for the people around you. They support an environment that nurtures dehumanizing beliefs which fuel entitlement, and demonstrate that sexual violence is not a serious issue.
If you find yourself in this situation, keep the following in mind:
- You are not alone in feeling uncomfortable when someone tells an offensive joke or makes an off colour comment about rape.
- Jokes can victimize you and others especially when you don’t have the information or feel safe enough to challenge them.
- You should challenge offensive jokes/ideas/thoughts —but only when you feel safe and comfortable speaking up. Not just physically, but also socially, psychologically, and emotionally safe.
Get in touch if you need more information.