1 in 4 Canadian women have been or will be sexually assaulted or harassed in their lifetime. Only 6 of every 100 sexual assault cases are reported to the authorities.
Both of these statistics are horrifying in their own ways, but that doesn’t make them any less real.
While in a perfect world, we would eliminate any form of sexual harassment all together, that is, unfortunately, not necessarily the case. However, we can bring light to what the best course of action is if you have been victimized by a sexual predator. Below we’ve outlined the most important steps to take if you’ve been sexually harassed.
These steps won’t negate what has happened to you, but they can help you begin to heal, help prevent any future incidents, and may bring justice to the individual who wronged you.
This is highly dependent on the severity of the situation, but in a lot of cases, speaking up can be a huge factor in eliminating any further harassment, and may save other women from going through the same thing.
Often in cases such as sexual harassment in the work place, where you may be experiencing inappropriate comments, jokes, or touches, it can help to speak up and make clear that the attention is unwanted and inappropriate.
While ignorance is not an excuse, it is quite common that the conveyor of these actions simply does not realize how inappropriate their actions or words are, and that they are making you uncomfortable.
If, however, you do not feel safe confronting your harasser face to face, there are other ways of dealing with these unwanted actions.
Confide In Someone
Whether it is a family member, friend, medical personnel, police officer, coworker/manager, or an assault hotline, there will always be someone safe for you to confide in.
Going through any form of sexual harassment or assault and keeping it to yourself will only cause more stress or anxiety, and will not aid in making you feel better or reducing the problem.
Seek Medical Help (If Necessary)
This step is necessary in two different scenarios resulting from sexual assault. First, if you are planning on reporting the assault to the police, it is important not to change clothes or clean yourself before you are able to get a forensic examination done. This will aid in gathering the DNA of the assaulter.
Next, if you were assaulted, including any injuries or rape, it is important to get a medical examination done to ensure any injuries are looked after, preventative measures are taken in regards to pregnancy and certain sexually transmitted diseases, and that any risk of infection is combatted.
The sad reality is that most men and women who are sexually assaulted do not report it, and those that do often see no recourse from doing so.
However, this does not mean you should be discouraged from doing so if you are in this situation. There are many law officers, as well as lawyers, who will be on your side.
If you have been sexually harassed or assaulted, there are law services available that can aid you in ensuring your report does not go unnoticed. These experts will not only help you in convicting your attacker/harasser, but will also be there to support you and provide any counsel you may need during an overwhelming experience.