Rape is no longer a term that is used in the legal system of Canada anymore. Rape falls under sexual assault, however not all assaults are rape. We use the term rape in our story so there is no ambiguity regarding what happened.
In our facilitation, we don’t focus on specifics regarding what falls within sexual assault or not. Even if something wouldn’t hold up in the court of law as a sexual assault, if someone feels their body is violated, that is what is important to us. We want to help that individual feel like they have the tools to support themselves through this violation and trauma.
Ideally within 24 hours and before you’ve taken a shower. However, evidence can still be obtained up to 48/72 hours after. You can go for up to 7 days after the incident, but less evidence may be found. Just because you get a SAEK kit done does not mean you have to report it to the police. If there is a chance you may decide to go forward to the police in the future, having the documentation and evidence from a SAEK will be beneficial in a legal case.
Yes, even if there isn’t semen to collect from within you there may be other evidence that can be collected.
You can seek support for yourself to help deal with the pressure and weight of this secret without breaking your friends trust. You can seek a counsellor or even call a provincial support line (found in our resources). If a friend is in danger and in a situation where harm or assault can still occur, you do need to tell someone. If you try to tell a trusted adult, such as a parent, and are not met with support or compassion, seek out someone else. If assault has recently occurred for your friend (for example, within the last week) I highly recommend trying to get them to go to a hospital and getting a SAEK done. The hospital should step in and provide support and resources for your friend.
If they are not in danger of assault to continue occurring, oftentimes you can’t force someone to get help and have to trust in their timing. Be aware of changes in their lifestyle and behaviour, if it changes enough that you are worried about their safety and wellbeing, it may be that you need to step in and get them help. If not, continue loving and supporting them. It is common for someone to feel a wide range of emotions after experiencing an assault.
If they’re still in a situation where harm is continuing, you need to report. you try to tell a trusted adult, such as a parent, and are not met with support or compassion, seek out someone else. If assault has recently occurred for your friend (for example, within the last week) I highly recommend trying to get them to go to a hospital and getting a SAEK done. The hospital should step in and provide support and resources for your friend. If they are not in danger of a repeated offence, you may sometimes have to trust their timing, see answer to previous question above.
There isn’t a definite right or wrong answer in this situation. One, remove yourself from the situation. Two, vocalize to the person that you don’t feel comfortable with this and you want to stop. If this situation is continuing to happen and there are others around, speak to one of them outside of the situation and ask for them to be present, to help by speaking for you and being a buffer and a support.
There is power in numbers. This is why if you ever see something in public, you should speak up and say something. Even if you don’t want to confront the protagonist, speak to the victim. Let them know they are not alone, ask if they’re okay, ask how you can help, ask if they want to come sit with you, or leave the public space with you.
Depending on how vigorous and long the sex was, it is normal to feel tired. However, feeling emotionally drained and unenthusiastic may indicate dissociating and numbing. This may be a trauma response from a past experience. Sometimes in our head we want something, but our body holds onto the trauma and does not respond as we would like. This is an opportunity to seek out some help and heal. Trauma specific counselling would be a good option (EMDR), along with somatic (full body) work like breath work or tapping.
Try checking in with yourself and seeing how you feel before sex. Do you actually want to engage with this person sexually? Or do you feel obligated and/or coerced? Are you turned on before? If you have a history of assault you may want to in your mind, but your body may not be ready. Remember, trauma is stored in the body. In this instance you may need to really slow down your sexual experiences and find ways to help your body feel safe before engaging. Even ten deep breaths to drop into your body may help relax you or help give you clarity on what your body is experiencing and telling you.
That is the start of rape culture. The normalization of degrading women and perpetuating the idea that females have less value than men. These jokes start out innocently, and then at a certain age and within certain scenarios, these jokes are made about females in a sexual way, eventually normalizing sexual assault.
It is very common after someone experiences sexual assault to either become anxious and/or even avoidant of sexual scenarios. On the other side of the spectrum, some people become hyper-sexually active. Both are trauma responses.
Provide safety and validation. Verbally validate them, believe them and don't question or doubt them. Reassure them that what was done to them was not okay. Tell them it wasn’t their fault and that they didn’t deserve it. Don't ask them what they had drunk, what they were wearing or if they had led anyone on. Those things are not a valid reason to assault someone. Encourage them to reach out to other professional support and let them know that though they have 7 days to get a Sexual Assault Examination Kit done at a hospital, it is best done with 24-48 hours and before a shower. They may not be able to articulate what exactly they need, this is a trauma response, though you can still ask how best you can support them, what do they need. Continue to check in on them in the future and notice changes in their behaviour.
Six months after the assault, her biology teacher decided to include a bonus week about drugs and how they affect your body. She knew what happened was wrong, as under normal circumstances, she would not have engaged in sexual activities with her rapists. Her biology teacher described the side effects that drugs have on your body and how it presents itself. The description matched everything she had experienced. She was mentally present and conscious, however lost her ability for speech and her body felt numb without the strength or awareness to push them off or fight. While she could still physically move, her mind and body couldn’t make the connections needed to stop what was happening. She could walk, but mind - body didn’t connect to try and stop it.
She does remember who they are, their names and what they look like. However, she hasn't seen them since the year the assault took place and thankfully not present in her current life.