Not Reported


Anonymous


Earlier this year, my sister was cheated on by her boyfriend. A few days after she found out, she was at her stage at a sexual assault support clinic and was sexually assaulted by a man who worked there volunteering with children.

She told her supervisor and her teacher at school. They said they could get her assaulter fired from his job if she were to make a police report. My sister is in Social Services and knows about all the support systems out there for survivors. She knows about programs, people and institutions that would back her on this and would get her justice; and she still said no. My sister said she was too scared to face him again and that even though he could be held responsible for what he did, she didn’t want to make a big deal of it.

Nothing really came out of it after that. The supervisor at the stage recommended counseling so that she can learn how to say no and be more assertive. He texted her for weeks after the incident. My parents were upset with her and kept harassing her to make a police report for days.

I was angry with my sister too. After experiencing my own sexual assault and just not being given the option to report it, I was harbouring a lot of hard feelings. I was upset that she was given the option I never had and that she was squandering it. She had the opportunity to make him face what he did and to make sure he never did it again, but she didn’t because she was scared. I remember feeling a lot of fear after my own experience and I could sympathize with that, but it wasn’t enough to calm me down.

It was hard to forgive my sister for never filing a police report but I understood her reasoning. We don’t live in a society that supports survivors of sexual assault. We live in a world where people doubt you, question you, antagonize you and blame you. Her supervisor said she shouldn’t have gone out for coffee with him and then gotten into his car. Our parents said she should have come straight home. Everyone was asking what he specifically did to her since she wasn’t calling it “rape”.

I think what I learned from my sister’s experience is that people heal in different ways. My abuser was someone I was dating, but I don’t think they realized they were hurting me the way they were. My sister’s abuser was a guy she just met who heard her say no and kept going. I think I needed to hold my abuser accountable because I needed them to realize they hurt me. Her aggressor knew, and I don’t think she needed to remind him to make herself feel better. My sister and I went through similar things but definitely needed different things to heal. She ended up needing a shoulder to cry on and people to lean on when she would have moments of doubt or fear. I needed counseling and new friends.

We’ve both managed to grow and move on despite what happened to us and it has actually brought us closer. In the end, one thing that everyone needs is support; and that can come in many ways. Though she didn’t choose judicial support, she still got the help she needed from the people around her who validated her story and believed in her. She still gets nervous when she goes to her stage and she’s still scared about meeting new people, but she won’t let this stop her. My sister is a very strong person and her choice to not report her sexual assault in no way makes her weak. It actually shows her strength that she is able to identify what she really needs to move on and heal.