Let’s Talk About It (What is sexual violence?)

The year 2014, may be the year where more Canadians were talking about sexual violence than ever before. This is the year that a very well known national radio broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi was charged with sexual assault with eight women coming forward to tell their story of being assaulted by Ghomeshi. (None has been proven in court.)

What has come out of this story however were more and more people starting to talk about why women don’t come forward, why they don’t report to police and how it can happen anywhere to anybody?

Statistically one in three Canadian women has experienced sexual assault in their lifetime. Ten percent of these report to police/press charges and only 1 percent continue with trial (from statscan report).

The reasons women do not report are varied: they feel they won’t be believed, they have been threatened or their families threatened with harm or death if they go to the police or tell anyone, they feel ashamed, believing that somehow they could have stopped it or that it was their fault. These are just some of the more common reasons women do not report.

Sexual violence can be placed on a continuum from sexist jokes to harassment to stalking to rape. The condoning and supporting of these contributes to rape culture in our society.