Women self-reported 553,000 sexual assaults in 2014, according to Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey on Victimization.
Women were 10 times more likely than men to be victims of a police-reported sexual assault in 2008.
Although both men and women experience sexual assault, women accounted for 92% of victims of police-reported sexual assaults in 2008.
Certain groups of women face a higher risk of sexual assault:
Young Canadians are more likely to experience sexual assault. The rate of sexual assault for Canadians age 15 to 24 is 18 times higher than that of Canadians age 55 and older.
82% of all victims of sexual assault under the age of 18 are female, and girls under age 18 report a rate of sexual violence almost five times higher than boys under 18.
The stat is about 1 in 4 women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. I bet more when we add in harassment. And, certainly, me too.
Harassment is commonplace really. I can’t imagine anyone not having experienced that in some form or another.
I remember for this one job I got hired because I, I was told, pretty and thin, and he liked pretty girls up front. And the other girl, apparently, was not slim and wouldn’t fit the uniform, he didn’t think. I remember being pretty appalled by this and too stunned to think of anything to actually say. But I couldn’t believe he was actually saying that.
I have been persistently followed twice in my life by men who did not want the answer no. One time when I was 19 in university and changing my routine abruptly and soon after I had a boyfriend seemed to deter that. He was persistently following me to places I went and approaching me constantly. It was getting creepy. Blatantly apparent he had my routine down. And once when I was 16 and stopping my insomniac activities at the time deterred that. That time what had happened is a car was following me everywhere I went and so I tried to linger in a store, but that failed and he finally cornered me. I told him I wasn’t interested but that didn’t work. So finally I gave him a number where I didn’t live at the time, but not my name, assuming he wouldn’t call. He did but it didn’t go over well at all. And didn’t return to the area again. After that you sort of assume you can’t be out and about without other people around you. Which sucks because I loved walking and rollerblading at night. But apparently that is a risk factor.
Now, pretty much all the men I have worked with have been extremely respectful and awesome people. Never had a problem at all. Aside from that one employer. 90% of the men who have hit on me have also been very good men. Kind, good men. The other 10%, well, let’s not mention them, eh?
I have had 3 incidents in my life over the age of 12 and under the age of 17 that were worse than your general harassment. Which I won’t discuss in detail. But let’s just say I don’t think anyone should have to go though any of that. Even though I know some women have gone through much worse. Women and men have gone through much worse. Fact is, 3 incidents of very inappropriate behaviour before the age 17, isn’t good though, is it? I’m not going to lay all that out. Because it is private. And I dealt with it. And I did consider myself lucky in a way. As in, I felt that the situations could have been much, much worse. And it was pure happenchance they were not. And I pretty much blamed myself for all of them for some time. Which is ludicrous. I know that now, of course, but as a young woman I didn’t really. Actually, maybe I still do for 2 of them. A little bit. Hard to get rid of that entirely. I don’t feel ashamed. But a part of me blames myself for being in the context. And I am not sure I should, at all. Then like I said, I am like, thank god that didn’t turn out worse. Because it could have. And for years, I was pretty leery of certain situations. Because apparently being in the context is a risk factor. Just being there. Risk. So I was like, don’t do That. Make sure you are not alone in certain situations. Because I was so lucky before, right? Don’t want that to run out. And I’d get these nightmares of men that would appear to be normal and then would just turn on me into these raving lunatics, lunging at me. Because you couldn’t, ever, predict based on who someone was, what they could do. You just couldn’t trust a façade.
I don’t get those nightmares anymore. But it was likely up until I was about thirty something that I did. Partly my learned distrust of older men has faded… because those men are now my actual age. In fact, all the creepy men that hit on me when I was 12 and up… now in my age group, this is the ‘creepy man’ age. That is disturbing really. But distrust fading isn’t necessarily true. I trust them around me. Because I am not a child anymore. But do I really trust all men around young women and girls the age I was? Not sure about that. I know my experiences obviously affected me. I mean, how could they not? But I think the accumulation of the experiences a woman experiences in her life sort of add up really. And people really do wonder why feminism exists? Really. Really? REALLY? I think we could all write a novel on all the experiences we have had. I know I haven’t obviously gone into detail. And I clearly haven’t even scratched the surface of all the every day crap. Not saying I don’t deal with a lot of great guys, because I do, but over a lifetime, you deal with a lot of crap too. Some on a general level and some of it was on a darker level.
I do, often, think of the older men in my life that I Could depend on. They stood out in a very good way and reinforced that not all men are creepy douchenozzles. Thank goodness for that, eh? Everyone needs to know that when they are younger.
Is it weird that I think my experiences are Entirely normal? That I am Certain most women can completely relate in one way another with either similar or worse stories? That bothers me quite a bit, but maybe that isn’t true. I hope not.