In Ontario’s Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan, Premier Wynne wrote, “We can, and must, do better.”
Sexual assault reaches beyond those who are directly involved and affects everyone in our community. In addition to the personal costs to the physical and emotional health of the victim, there are costs to our society. Assault can affect how a person performs at school, their effectiveness at work and how they participate in the community. Assault may also affect how people are able to interact in healthy ways in their relationships and in how they are able to parent.
Financial costs associated with health care, counseling services, police services and the justice system are astronomical. Emotional costs, in terms of suffering, are immeasurable.
We can all contribute to sexual assault prevention by learning about the issues and having those conversations that can be difficult or uncomfortable.
“At Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, we believe it is important not only to provide timely initial care to patients, but to also offer ongoing follow up services. Ensuring continuity of care is one of the ways we can support our patients, their families, and our community,” says Lisa Beck, Director of Critical Care and Emergency Services.
Our Hospital’s Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre is an individualized 24-hour service available to women, men and children who have experienced sexual assault. Ongoing follow-up care is available in the outpatient office by appointment.
“Survivors who come to our Hospital are offered the services of specially trained nurses who will provide one to one care,” said Melody McGregor, Follow-Up Outreach Nurse with the Treatment Centre. “All survivors are offered a variety of care options and are then supported in the choices they make for the treatment they feel is best for them. Sexual abuse survivors need us to listen and to be supportive. It is important to communicate in a way that does not imply judgment.”
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, it is important to remember that you are NOT to blame. There is nothing that makes it acceptable for one human being to sexually assault another. Clothing does not cause sexual assault. The time of day does not cause sexual assault. Alcohol does not cause sexual assault. Location does not cause sexual assault.
Experiencing an assault is a traumatic event that can be disruptive to your life. It is not unusual to feel isolated, helpless and angry, as well as fearful and out of control.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault and are looking for support or more information, please contact the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre at (807)684-6751 or visit http://www.tbrhsc.net/programs-services/emergency-critical-care-services/sexual-assault-domestic-violence-treatment-centre/.