Author: Naomi Fox
Naomi Fox is a summer placement student working with the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Teen Healthy Relationship Program. She is currently in the Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor and Advocate program at George Brown College and hopes to pursue a career in working to end gender based violence and helping to empower and educate youth. In her spare time she enjoys cuddling with her dog, Crouton, and making terrible puns.
When someone tells you about their experience of sexual assault, it can be difficult to know how to react. You may struggle to know what to say or worry about saying the wrong thing. You may want to help and be supportive, but not know how.
It’s important to understand that when someone shares their experience with you, the best thing you can do is listen to their feelings, thoughts and needs, and to support them in their healing process, whatever that may be. Everyone who experiences sexual assault will have different ways to handle the situation and to heal.
Although cat calling and other unwanted sexual or invasive comments are a form of sexual harassment, they are often not treated as seriously as other forms of violence against women. For many women, street harassment is a stressful day-to-day occurrence that begins in childhood.
It’s common to underestimate the impact of harassment, after all how much could a simple comment really affect someone? The reality is street harassment often results in fear, dehumanization and feelings of powerlessness. Many individuals who have been the target of unwanted comments or touching on the street experience severe and long lasting impacts.