Tanya Jusau says women might be afraid to tell people they’ve been sexually assaulted or raped.
“I think they’re mostly afraid of what will happen if they come out. You don’t know if you’re protected by the police,” the first-year Humber College student says.
Although she says getting lost and strangers talking to her are her biggest fears, she can understand the fear some women may have in Toronto.
She says women should always be aware of their surroundings and stay with someone they trust.
According to the Sex Assault statistics web page, a staggering, but possibly expected, 80 per cent of sex crime victims are women. An even more staggering number, and outright shocking figure is the following: out of every 100 sexual assaults, only six are reported to police.
Kristy Staltari, 31, is a mother of two daughters. She says so few women come forward about being sexually assaulted or raped because they feel ashamed.
“Girls aren’t really, I don’t know, we’re not really taught enough in school about sex,” she says.
Though she considers herself to be pretty tough, she says she will advise her daughters, three and ten, to not walk alone and to always be with someone they know and know someone before getting intimate.
Linda Hill, is a program co-ordinator at Humber College for the Social Service Worker program.
“We need to see a significant shift in social values and structures,” she says.
She says she thinks so few women come forward because of fear of all kinds – how they will be treated or perceived or anything else.
Hill says women dealing with the repercussions of being assaulted or raped should seek out professional support and counseling for post-trauma stress. She says young women’s lives can unravel due to post-traumatic stress due to things like assault and rape.
She says changes need to happen in the criminal justice system as well as rape crisis centres, along with women-centred community support programs in order to make sure women who are suffering have the help they need and report it.