May 27, 2016
Surrey Women's Centre Gives a #ShoutOut4Survivors!
In commemoration of National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week (May 29 - June 4), we asked survivors of sexual assault: “Who was the first person you told? And why?”
“Part of my healing was telling someone what happened, even though it was really hard to do,” explains Anna, “I felt a lot of shame and confusion because the rapist was someone I was dating at the time.”
Anna waited to tell someone what happened. Her rapist was not a stranger lurking in the shadows. He was someone she knew and cared about. Anna eventually told her best friend, and her healing process began.
Gillian’s experience was much different. She told someone she trusted right away. Because she had so much support from the people she told, she wanted to create that for other women who have no one to turn too. Now, she is raising awareness about sexual assault on her university campus. Gillian found this to be a large part of her healing process. “When I knew that what happened to me was not right, I had to do something,” says Gillian, “This is my form of justice.”
In recent cases like the Ghomeshi trial, victims who come forward often become villains and are often accused of being “liars”, “attention seekers” or “scorned lovers.”Sexual assault is not sex – it is assault,” says Sonya Boyce, Executive Director of Surrey Women’s Centre. “Survivors of sexual assault should be able to tell their stories without being discredited just because they are women or because they are speaking out against men.Rape is not a metaphor for sex.”
This re-victimization of the women who do come forward is dangerous. It can lead to other women not getting the help they need because they are too afraid to speak out.
Anna, Gillian, and other survivors of sexual assault share their stories in this year’s Faces of Courage campaign, running May 30 to June 30. They hope their stories will counter the myths that have been perpetuated by recent media coverage around sexual assault and consent, and help other survivors begin their healing.
Surrey Women’s Centre encourages you to show your support for Anna, Gillian and other survivors who have come forward by giving a shout out on social media, using the hashtag #ShoutOut4Survivors.
To read Anna and Gillian’s full stories and other stories of sexual assault survivors, go to www.facesofcourage.ca/stories.
We would like to say a special thank you to the Department of Justice Canada for making this campaign possible.