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Many survivors do not talk about their experiences for years. The effects of sexual violence and violence in intimate relationships include shame, fear, self-blame and a profound sense of helplessness. Statistically, violence is most often perpetrated by someone who is known to the victim. This may be a person the victim has lived with for many years, cooperated with, or with whom she has developed a life and attachment to. In addition, many women – especially those with small children, no independent income, and recent newcomers to Canada – remain in volatile situations because they have no money and no place to go.
Many survivors don’t identify their experiences as sexual assault. Many do not know that it’s against the law. A woman or man chooses what they will disclose – and to whom – based on whom they feels safest with.
You may be:
- A religious leader
- A community or social service worker
- An interpreter
- A lawyer or community legal worker
- A medical professional
- A teacher
- An Ontario Works worker
If you have any helping or leadership role in a community, chances are fair that at some time, a person who has experienced violence will disclose to you.
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