Choices for Youth
When the victim/survivor is under 16 (or under 19 if the person who perpetrated the violence is a parent/guardian) you must alert the local child protection agency, even if this information was told to you in confidence.
“Honour the ways we survive and seek justice. There is no ‘right’ way to survive sexual assault. A survivor can tell no one, tell themselves, call the police, tell a friend, heal on their own, with community, utilize transformative justice. We can feel okay some days, some months and other times we can feel different minute to minute.”
Farrah Khan, Five Ways to Support Sexual Violence Survivors During the Jian Ghomeshi Trial
Restoring Power and Control
There is no right or wrong way for a victim/survivor to deal with sexual violence. Only they know what they have been through and what is best for them. A victim/survivor may feel a range of emotions including shock, anger, sadness, powerlessness, confusion, guilt and/or shame.
They may experience none, some, all of these, or something entirely different. Anything they feel, or don’t feel, is okay.
It is critical that a victim/survivor of sexual violence has control over all decisions, big and small, related to their recovery.
What are some of the choices victims/survivors have?
- When, where, and who they disclose to.
- What language they use to describe the violence and the person who perpetrated it.
- Any decisions related to their safety, physical and mental health.
- If they wish to report to police.
- What kind of support they require.
How can you continue to support and empower a victim/survivor if they make a decision that is different than what you think they should (for example reporting or not reporting to police)? Add your thoughts to your notes using the button.
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