April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
This year’s theme focuses on building safer online spaces.
If you’ve experienced sexualized violence know that it is not your fault. We encourage you to talk to a trusted adult. This could be a family member. someone at your school or a phone line. Manitoba has a special phone line, the Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line, with counsellors specially trained to support survivors. It is always free to call and open 24/7
Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line: 204-786-8631 or 1-888-292-7565
Sexualized violence represents a range and may include:
- Rape or sexual assault
- Sexual harassment including catcalling
- Sexual abuse
- Unwanted sexual contact/touching
- Sexual exploitation and trafficking
- Exposing one’s genitals or a naked body to others without consent
- Nonconsensual image sharing including sexting, revenge porn and zoom bombing
- Words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and without their consent
If you’ve experienced sexualized violence know that it is not your fault.
We Can Build Safer Online Spaces
The internet can be a place to connect with romantic partners, friends and family, co-workers, and strangers alike. From dating apps, virtual classrooms, chats, video calls, and social media, a lot of communication takes place through screens.
As technology has evolved to become a part of our everyday lives so have new forms of violence and harassment. We all have a responsibility to use technology with respect. It’s never ok to share someone’s photos, send unwanted messages, post something without consent or bully someone online. If someone is harming you online tell a trusted adult. If intimate photos end up online, remember this was not your fault. You did nothing wrong. There is a service, needhelpnow.ca which may be able to help you navigate removing images.
Sexualized Violence is a Men’s Problem
People of all genders can and do experience sexualized violence, and people of all genders can and do commit violence. But it’s also important to acknowledge that this is a gender-based issue. Women and trans folks experience higher rates of sexualized violence than men. Men are also more likely to commit sexualized violence. This makes it a men’s problem. It is up to boys and men to address violence with other boys and men by engaging in conversations and education.
If you are a guy and you hear a friend make a sexist comment or joke, pull them aside and talk about it. If you see them harassing someone, have a conversation and make it clear that behaviour is not ok. If you see them trying to take advantage of or hurt someone, stop it. Get involved with community groups that take on this work, like the White Ribbon Project, to build a healthier world for all of us