This is the first step to stopping sexual violence – M & S
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This is the first step to stopping sexual violence

Brock Turner BuzzFeed Health rape sexual assault victim

RAPE IS A F*CKING CRIME, SO SIGN THIS. **”I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it.” -the brave Emily Doe’ **I signed this petition. It’s god damn simple-I am a human being. Sexual assault can happen to anyone, even you. Any adverse feelings on this issue; believing a 6 month sentence for this heinous crime is appropriate? Just delusional. I know exactly what its like to have those same thoughts while, for hours, curled up in a ball under similar streams of water. **MANIACAL – Judge Aaron Persky has sent out such a horrifyingly dangerous message – rape is excusable. I don’t believe everyone grasps that this is a bigger issue – anyone can be raped, even you. **PLEASE SIGN PETITION FOR PERSKY’S REMOVAL. **LINK TO SIGN –> #rapeculture #rapeisacrime #emilydoe #stanfordrapecase #sexualassaultawareness #nsvrc #rainn #thejhf #herwellwisher #verahouse #speakyourtruth #107seconds #advocate #aftersilence #webelieveyou #survivor #survivorstrong #womenslaw #endsexualviolence #underthewater #noonecanhearmycries #survivorsofsexualassault #sexaulassaultprevention #brockturner #removepersky

A photo posted by LTF (@ltfusch) on

Thanks to social media, we are talking more and more about sexual abuse. This is a good thing because silence is the enemy. In the case of the Stanford Rape trial, it helped the 23-year-old female victim tell her assailant, and the public, what sexual assault really feels like. Shared on Buzzfeed, her incredibly powerful victim impact statement is being read by millions of people.

The case goes like this: In January 2015, late at night, two men were cycling when they spotted a 22-year-old woman—who was unconscious—being sexually assaulted. They chased and tackled the man, who was 20-year-old Brock Turner, an aspiring Olympian and a Stanford student. Just last week Judge Aaron Persky didn’t give him the expected sentence of 14 years (some thought maybe he’d get six years), but rather six months of jail time, three years’ probation, plus being registered as a sex offender.

Despite the devastatingly unfair sentence, we hope the victim knows that her words have impacted us all. By giving a voice to victims of sexual assault, hopefully women (and men) will begin to realize that their story is worth telling. According to Statistics Canada, only 1 in 10 sexual assaults are reported, and the majority of victims said they kept silent because they didn’t think the incident was important enough. And, sadly, when you see what the victim went through in the aforementioned case, you can begin to understand why some people think it is senseless to speak out. How can a sexual assailant be protected? A lot of discussion surrounding the Stanford trial boils this down to rape culture, and how Turner, in particular, was protected in a way—the judge was concerned about the impact that a long jail sentence would have on him (because the aspiring Olympian who was expelled from the school following the rape had already suffered such grave consequences). Because the victim was intoxicated at the time of the assault, it’s almost as if she was taken less seriously, as if her opinion didn’t matter—as in many cases of rape in college and elsewhere.

It’s not helpless, though. There are a few things you can do: You could join the over 350,000 others in signing a petition on, which aims to have Judge Aaron Persky removed from the bench. Then, you can educate yourself about what to do in the case of sexual assault. Finally, talk about it with friends, family and more. Eradicating the stigma that surrounds rape might, one day, help alleviate the unjustified shame that victims feel. As the victim says in her statement: “You are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you.”

Some tips on what you should know about sexual assault and rape:

Seek medical help
This is a tough one for many people, as there is a lot of confusion and unnecessary shame that comes with sexual assault. Visiting a hospital or sexual assault clinic can be the first step in connecting you with people you may need, such as doctors, counsellors and legal advisors (call a helpline to find the closest one to you). There, you can get a rape kit done. “The nurses [at the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre] take a forensic kit,” says Bobbie McMurrich, associate executive director of the Victim Services Toronto. “So they take all of the physical evidence, and they will do that if the victim requests and store it for them if they’re not ready to go forward to the police. That’s a really important piece.”

If you are considering speaking to the police, you might want to think about preserving evidence. According to the Rape Treatment Center of the UCLA Medical Center: “Do not shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, wash your hands, or brush your teeth until after you have had a medical examination. Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag. Do not use plastic bags. Do not clean or disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred.” (Though this sounds daunting, and is likely not always possible.)

Call the Police
This can be extremely intimidating for many victims, and for some people it might take time to be able to make the call. “It’s not necessarily everybody’s first reaction,” says McMurrich. “It really depends on the circumstances and if the danger is continuing and imminent. One of the things that’s important is that people understand what to expect from the system, so they can go in knowing that it’s not going to be easy. If they go to court it will be adversarial and they’ll be made to feel that they’re on trial.” If possible, have a close friend or family member with you for support.

Seek Legal Representation
In the emotional aftermath of an assault, figuring out one’s rights can be overwhelming. “[Victims] are not required to have a lawyer, but they have really very little voice in the criminal justice system,” says McMurrich. “In Toronto, the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is amazing.” Though hiring a lawyer is out of reach for many financially, there are free and lower cost services for victims, like the Independent Legal Advice for Sexual Assault Survivors Pilot Program.

Get Counselling
No matter how much time has passed since an assault, you can always seek counselling to help you deal with the lasting emotional implications. Most helplines, including that of Victim Services Toronto, will connect victims with counsellors and/or therapists. This can help in the decision-making process following an assault. “We will support whatever decision our clients make—they might decide one day this is the route they want to take and it may change the following day, and that’s fine,” says McMurrich.

Helplines across Canada:

Victim Services Toronto
(416) 808-7066

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (listing of multiple helplines)

Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre
1 (866) 956-1099

Klinic Community Health Sexual Assault Crisis Line (24/7)
In Winnipeg: (204) 786-8631
Toll Free in Manitoba: 1-888-292-7565

Women Against Violence Against Women
24-Hour Crisis Line: (604) 255-6344 or toll-free 1 (877) 392-7583

Quebec Coaliton of Sexual Assault Centers
Provincial helpline 1 (888) 933-9007

Sexual Asssault Services of Saskatchewan
24 HOUR Sexual Assault Phone lines
Saskatoon (306) 244-2224
Regina (306) 352-0434

Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre
(506) 454-0437

Prince Edward Island Rape and Sexual Assault Centre
(902) 368-8055

The post This is the first step to stopping sexual violence appeared first on FASHION Magazine.

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