85% of the time when a young person is sexually assaulted or raped it is by someone he or she knows. It could be a date, a friend, a relative or even a member of their own family. It happens in a car, at a party, at someone’s house or even your own house. Let’s be clear about this. Sexual assault is never okay and it includes any kind of unwanted sexual touching—not just forcing sexual intercourse. There are three things you can do to reduce the chance of sexual assault and date rape:
If you have been sexually assaulted or raped you are the victim of a crime and you need to get help as soon as possible. For help you can call the RCMP, your community Health Centre or, in Yellowknife, you can go directly to the Emergency Department at the Stanton Territorial Hospital. Early medical treatment can help to prevent HIV infection or pregnancy. Early testing can also show if you have a “date rape drug” in your system. For support or counseling call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or talk to a parent, a friend, a teacher, a nurse or other adult you can trust. If you’ve been raped, it is not your fault. You’ll need support and patience. It can take a long time to recover physically and even longer to recover emotionally.
Labels like slut, player, stud, easy, dyke, fag, ho, skank or cock tease are just ways of hurting others. You can hear them all the time in school, from friends, in music and on TV. These labels don’t mean much to most people until they are directed at them. Then they hurt. They do a lot of damage. Labels are verbal violence and can lead to sexual or physical assault. When you stop using labels for other people you are helping to stop sexual violence. Girls who are labeled as sluts are often victims of assault and rape. It is assumed that if a girl is labeled as a slut she doesn’t really mean no when she says no. Sometimes people say that if a girl who is called a slut is assaulted or raped “she was just asking for it.” No one deserves to be assaulted. Then there are some labels that make it seem to be okay to be a jerk (oops there’s another label). When a guy gets the label “player” or “stud” his friend may look up to him as cool and in control of his relationships. He may brag about the number of partners he has had and what he has done. All his behaviour really shows is a lack of respect. It’s the same, and sometimes worse, when a person is labeled as a “fag” or a “dyke.” These are hurtful names to call people. No one deserves to be disrespected and harassed because of their relationships with people of the same sex. And, sometimes it goes beyond words and young people who are labeled as queers, fags or dykes are assaulted just because of the label.