Island-wide – Island Health is launching a social media campaign to encourage people who have been the victim of a sexual assault to seek medical care from a Forensic Nurse Examiner, at all Emergency Departments or through a primary health care provider. According to Statistics Canada sexual assault is the most underreported violent crime in Canada*. Regardless of whether people choose to report the crime, they should still receive confidential medical help.
TrustYourself urges people to get medical help if something feels wrong or if they suspect they have been sexually assaulted. “If you don’t know – go.” Seeking health and care doesn’t mean police will be involved. Forensic Nurse Examiners have specialized training and they help survivors up to 7 days after the assault.
Many people do not report sexual violence because they do not want their family to know, they don’t want to get into trouble themselves, they fear reprisals or they believe alcohol or drug impairment will diminish their credibility. Some victims have no recollection of the attack.
#TrustYourself reminds everyone that “It is still not okay” if drugs or alcohol were consumed before the sexual assault. The campaign also tackles domestic violence with “But we’re together” reinforcing the crime of sexual and physical violence happens within relationships.
“It happens to guys, too.” Statistics Canada reports 87% of people who report sexual assaults are women, 13% are men*. #TrustYourself lets men know, the same confidential medical services are available to them.
Island Health’s Forensic Nurse Examiners can provide medication and help connect survivors to counselling supports. Please share #TrustYourself on social media and let women and men know “I believe you” and there is medical help for sexual assault survivors.
Island Health employs more than 60 Forensic Nurse Examiners from Port Hardy to Victoria and from Salt Spring Island to Tofino.
For more on Island Health’s Forensic Nurse Examiners, please see www.islandhealth.ca/trustyourself
24-hour support is also available through the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-494-3888.
Central/North Island media inquiries
Cowichan/South Island media inquiries:
*Statistics Canada: Police reported sexual assaults in Canada 2009-2014