Hi Reddit, we're here to answer some questions about what goes on at a sexual assault centre. Saffron offers counselling services to those who have been affected by sexual violence, police and court support services for those who want to report, and public education on a variety of topics.

We service the area of Edmonton, AB, as well as nearby rural areas. Please be aware that my answers reflect the jurisdiction I'm in, I can only speak to the laws and procedures of the legal institutions I work with.

I am happy to refer to local resources that can answer more specific jurisdictional questions you may have.

Saffron's Website: https://www.saffroncentre.com/

Proof: https://www.instagram.com/p/CMh26ayBB8X/?igshid=ipakknrth8xg

Thanks for all of the great questions everyone! We had a really good time answering them, and it's really nice to see so many people interested in the subject matter.

A special thanks as well to those who disclosed personal experiences with sexual violence in their questions. It takes a lot of courage to be open about it, so thank you for your bravery.

We are leaving a list of resources in several countries for help finding local supports. These links should help you find organizations like Saffron in your area. If you have any more questions or need support please get in touch with them, they can help you.

Thanks again!

Ryan and Grace

Canada: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/sexual-abuse-other-places-to-get-help.aspx (Has resources for some other provinces) https://casac.ca/anti-violence-centres/

United States: https://www.rainn.org/national-resources-sexual-assault-survivors-and-their-loved-ones https://www.nsvrc.org/organizations?field_organizations_target_id=All&field_states_territories_target_id=All

Australia: https://au.reachout.com/articles/sexual-assault-support https://www.rape-dvservices.org.au/something-happened/somethings-happening-in-my-relationship-or-family/find-a-local-support-service

United Kingdom: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/abuse/sexual-abuse/ https://uksaysnomore.org/safespaces/ https://www.thesurvivorstrust.org/sarc

Comments: 300 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

JellyJellyFit103 karma

Why are so many rape kits unprocessed?

SaffronCentreLtd83 karma

Hi there, Ryan here, this is a fantastic question.

The first thing I'll say is that I am not an expert on Sexual Assault Examination Kits (SAEK's). If you want all of the right information check out the She Matters Silenced report on SAEK availability in Canada here https://www.shematters.ca/silencedreport.

One of the big problems is that SAEK availability is not what it should be, only so many hospitals have them and have the staff trained to do them.

Another thing is that a lot of the time they don't get processed because the survivor doesn't want them to be processed. In some parts of Alberta we have a 3rd option program that allows the survivor up to a year to have the kit processed.

I wish I had more information for you on this, but the Silenced report definitely talks about some of the institutional problems with SAEK's as it stands right now.

DaveTheRave198676 karma

What constitutes sexual assault? Is there a clear definition? For example, my workplace warns against 'unwanted or provocative looks'. Does the contact have to be physical? Does the individual have to be touched in a certain area? Are there any duration, frequency or intensity guidelines? At what point does it move from harassment to assault? Have the laws changed over time with the culture?

SaffronCentreLtd77 karma

Hi there, Ryan here, so this is a good question. I will start off by saying that yes the laws have changed over time, in Canada at least, though not to the point where they should have. They have come a long way in the last 50 years, but haven't caught up with the #MeToo movement. In Canada, sexual assault is define as an assault committed in circumstances of a sexual nature, such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. This is fancy legal speak from supreme court decisions, and the criminal code. Basically it follows the guidelines for assault, but applies them in a sexual context. It also relies pretty heavily on an understanding of consent, which is legally defined in the criminal code as well.

So realistically, it's a fairly broad legal definition. There isn't a requirement for duration, frequency, where the contact occurred, or physical contact at all. The important part to understand is that sexual assault is violation of consent. Consent cannot be obtained with threats, fear, force, lying, manipulation, coercion, incapacitation or unconsciousness. It has to be fully informed, and is only given by an enthusiastic and affirmative yes.

Sexual harassment is defined in the Alberta Human Rights Act as any unwelcome sexual behaviour that adversely affects or threatens to affect an individuals sense of safety. It's different in that it's more like bullying in a sexual context. Harassment would be things like sexually suggestive comments or jokes, displaying sexual imagery, leering/whistling.

Unfortunately, there is not one clear thing or definition for sexual assault. Unfortunate, because of myths and stereotypes a lot of people think of it as something that a stranger does in a back alley, but that is rarely the case. Most of the time it happens in someone's home, or a commercial building of some kind. And most of the time it's done by someone the survivor knows in some way. The problem with our legal definition is that it implies that physical force is required, but coercion and incapacitation are much more common tools. These myths and stereotypes make it very difficult for this crime to be prosecuted in the court system.

The most important thing to remember is consent, and what actually constitutes consent. Understanding that the enthusiastic and affirmative yes is required goes a long way towards recognizing what is and isn't appropriate.

Thanks for your question! Feel free to follow up.

AnonymousMSI-IV20 karma

So if I don’t give permission for an ex, or someone i shared a night with once, to tell people the size of my endowment and I find out they did it anyway, that violates the definition of sexual assault or harassment? I don’t feel safe or comfortable with them disclosing that information.. and I certainly didn’t give them enthusiastic permission to that small detail about my life. Would you suggest I file a police report?

Another thing that happened was she told me she was on oral contraception, and that I didn’t need a condom. However, she told me right after she ran out a week ago, and doesn’t believe in plan b because it’s against her religion. Then she asked what I thought about marriage. What should I do?

SaffronCentreLtd17 karma

Hi there, sorry for the delay in answering. Ryan here.

In answer to the first part, I would say that sounds a lot like harassment. As for a police report, it's hard to say based. Based on your jurisdiction the law might vary around that. The behaviour is absolutely inappropriate and wrong.

As for the issue with contraception, that is something that I would say constitute a sexual assault. It's very easy to understand when we flip the gender narrative, think about if a man poked a whole in a condom before having sex with someone, we would absolutely classify that as a sexual assault, and so lying about any other form of contraception should classify the same way.

If you feel comfortable and feel like it's the right path for you. I would suggest seeking out local support services about making a police report. I want to emphasize that you are under no obligation to do that, please don't feel pressure to report if you are not ready to. We never want someone to do something they aren't ready for. I will be posting a few lists to find support services local to you at the end of the AMA.

par_texx-6 karma

So realistically, it's a fairly broad legal definition. There isn't a requirement for duration, frequency, where the contact occurred, or physical contact at all. The important part to understand is that sexual assault is violation of consent. Consent cannot be obtained with threats, fear, force, lying, manipulation, coercion, incapacitation or unconsciousness. It has to be fully informed, and is only given by an enthusiastic and affirmative yes.

Doesn't that run the risk of diluting sexual assault to the point that it's meaningless?

I don't know a single person above the age of 20 that hasn't has their ass slapped at least once, or had their kilt checked for "authenticity", or had a breast brush happen, or a crotch grope happen, all happening at a club. (I say 20 because clubs have been closed for a while now.) Because of that definition being so broad, having a 100% sexual assault rate in the general population basically makes it a useless stat.

Shitty-Coriolis28 karma

Those all sound like sexual assault to me. The fact that they happen commonly doesn't make them not assault. It just means that sexual assault is far more common than people may realize.

SaffronCentreLtd10 karma

Thank you for the response, we just wanted to say that this answer is a good reflection of our position. Sexual violence is much more common than people realize. It's very important for people to broaden their understanding of what constitutes sexual assault.

craftor70835 karma

What is your advice for men who have been sexually assaulted and are looking for support? Where would you suggest they go?

Does your Centre share the attitude that leads to this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Silverman

SaffronCentreLtd35 karma

Ryan here!

So I just want to clarify that the attitude you are referring to is turning men away because some people take their abuse less seriously.

If that is the case, we absolutely do not take that attitude. The reality is that anyone can be sexually assaulted, and who you are doesn't determine your worthiness to receive support.

Saffron doesn't turn people way based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or any other part of someone's identity.

If men are looking for support, they can absolutely seek out services like the Saffron Centre. We are a member of the Alberta Association of Sexual Assault Services, and I don't believe any of the other member organizations have requirements about identity either.

I understand though that it can be difficult for men to seek out services, because of all of the socialization they get about being stoic, and the attitudes you mentioned. I would encourage men to seek support service despite this, or if it would be more comfortable seek out a support group. There are groups specifically for men to talk about things like this such as Men Mentoring Men (M3) which is based in New Jersey, but has an online presence.

Saffron is specialized in trauma therapy for survivors of sexual violence, but if coming to a centre like us is uncomfortable, men could also seek out services from a private practice therapist.

Ultimately, men should not feel like they can't ask for help and they need to know that they are equally deserving of support.

DerButtMeister18 karma

Thank you for taking this seriously.

As a man who has been repeatedly assaulted (never penetrated) as a teen and even young adult how would you suggest becoming a better advocate for men without reducing impact on others?

SaffronCentreLtd7 karma

Thanks for asking, Ryan here. Sorry about what happened to you. Sorry it's taken us a bit to respond, we have a lot of questions today.

I think the best way to be an advocate is to encourage talking openly about this stuff. Demonstrating empathy and compassion won't go astray with anyone. If you are comfortable talking about your experience you can do that, but you could also just encourage talking about feelings and experiences in general.

Groups like Men Mentoring Men (M3) are providing spaces for men to talk about their experiences in a supportive and judgement free way. Their one rule is that no man judges another man, for anything. It's important to normalize that approach.

So I think that's the best thing you can do, demonstrate empathy and compassion and encourage talking openly.

craftor70816 karma

So, this is going to sound like trolling and nitpicking, but please bear with me because your response is one of the most empathetic and least dismissive responses I've ever gotten to this question from a sexual violence organization.

Does the reasoning that male victims are not receiving help as a product of their own behaviors count as victim blaming?

or do you legitimately believe these victims are avoiding seeking help due to their internal ego state as opposed to external influences/pressures/stigmas/repercussions/consequences

SaffronCentreLtd22 karma

Thanks for your reply, I'm glad I can be empathetic.

So we don't see it as victim blaming because the fact that men don't seek help isn't related to the incident of sexual assault itself.

What I mean is that in general, men are raised and trained to be self sufficient and not need help from anyone. This translate into men not seeking help when they experience something like sexual violence. It's not necessarily to do with their ego state, it has everything to do with stereotypes, and social learning. Everything you mentioned at the end there (external influences, pressures, stigmas, repercussions, and consequences) all play into this as well and reinforce the stereotype.

It is absolutely not the survivor's fault when they are sexual assaulted by someone. The fault lies with the perpetrator alone.

lilice_obr32 karma

What do you see as the path to prevent sexual assault from happening in the first place? Basically what laws and mesures should be put in place to change society instead of working on a case by case basis.

SaffronCentreLtd37 karma

Ryan here, great question!

I like that you said case by case basis, because you're right, as it stands that is how we deal with sexual assault: when they come up. Whether someone goes and gets counselling for their experience, or if they engage with the legal system, we are only able to provide support once it has already happened.

So prevention is super important. The best way to prevent this from happening is through education. Consent education is the most proximal solution because we can directly get at the issue in question. However more distal things like boundaries and healthy relationships are also really important for people to learn. As well as communication skills, conflict resolution skills, bystander intervention, and more. These things may not seem to be related, but when people have effective skills in all of these areas, it prevents a lot of the circumstances that allow sexual violence to take place.

It's especially important to address this with children and young people, and get these lessons taught early. Especially boys, who suffer from some very harsh socialization growing up which teaches them to be dominant and forceful, and this contributes to why over 95% of perpetrators of sexual assault are men. Of course, this isn't a general rule, but it's a very important factor.

As far as laws go, it's very hard to mandate some of these things. One thing that would be helpful is changing the way sexual assault is defined in the criminal code, and teaching it better than we currently do. Moreover, it's important for these lessons to be made a part of the school curriculum so that we can guarantee that people are getting these lessons.

Thanks for the question!

FaustusC31 karma

Why aren't there adequate resources for men? Most assault centers use grossly gendered language that consistently belittles any men that attempt to seek assistance.

SaffronCentreLtd21 karma

Hi there, Ryan here, really good question.

What's unfortunate is that because most survivors of sexual assault are women, there is a hugely pervasive stereotype that exists that says men can't be sexually assaulted or abused. Which is flatly false, men can and are survivors of these things.

A lot of services have been tailored to the population that makes up the majority of the people who might be looking for services, not thinking about those that are less likely to become clients.

However, in recent years a lot of changes have been made that reduces the gendered divide in support services. many people are realizing that this problem is not just a women's issue, it can affect anyone.

Another aspect of this issue is the way men are raised and socialized to be stoic and not ask for help. This plays into why men don't seek out services and support nearly as much as other populations.

What we need to do is eliminate a lot of stereotypes, the ones that say that men can't or aren't survivors of this, and also the ones that say men can't get help.

je9730 karma

Hello,

Full disclosure: I am a male rape victim and this is something of a pet issue of mine. At least in the area I live in, sexual assault counselling services are extremely female-centric to the point that they can be almost inaccessible to male survivors as well as to male-appearing trans women. With the rates of report among male victims already extremely low, what do you think can be done to spread awareness within the sector about making services easier for male victims to access and do you believe that there is a certain code of practice that services ought to follow to ensure nobody feels unwelcome?

SaffronCentreLtd25 karma

Hi there, firstly I'm really sorry about what happened to you.

There have been a few questions about this sort of thing today. Because of stereotypes generated from certain statistics, a lot of services are tailored towards women. But it is getting better.

What needs to be done is that people need to understand that men and boys can be survivors like anyone else. It can happen to anyone.

The use of gender neutral language is also really important. Using the 'she' is really common, but 'they' is a much better word to use, and I try and use it as much as possible.

Another thing that needs to happen is that we need to eliminate stereotypes about men in general. There is a lot of socialization that teaches that men must be stoic, and can't ask for help. But that is not true, men should seek out supports when they feel like the need them, just like anyone else.

Saffron doesn't turn anyone away based on gender, ethnicity, or any other component of someone's identity, and the same should go for any support service looking to help survivors.

craftor70815 karma

What type of help can a male victim expect from your center?

You mention socialization, and i think it would be helpful for men here to see how the process would work, what they can expect, to challenge the narratives that their claims will be dismissed, ignored, or shoved aside in favor of female victims, from someone on the inside of the process.

We won't know what organizations are behaving badly until we know how a good one works and how it will help. There are some where i live that funnel males into services meant for abusers learning to stop their abuse, and i think you can see how that would lead to poor outcomes.

SaffronCentreLtd4 karma

This is a great question. So when someone inquire with Saffron about services we will start by doing an intake with them. This involves some basic questions about them and what they are experiencing. We don't get into too much detail about the incident here, but we ask demographic questions, questions about the effects of the incident, medical history (including mental health), and then some basic treatment planning questions. This normally takes about an hour.

For police and court support services, much less detail is required. We still need all of the demographic information, but beyond that we really just need to know what part of the criminal justice process they are in. Do they need help reporting or have they already reported and now need support with court and documentation.

CalibanTaylor29 karma

Hello!

The main page and mission statement on your site uses non-gendered language. Has it always been that way? How can we push for our own local centers to be more inclusive in their own language?

What is the best place to start when seeking support in recovery from a past sexual assault? Getting into therapy can take weeks or months and, unfortunately, not all therapists are up to that kind of task.

SaffronCentreLtd9 karma

Hello, Grace here. Thank you for your question and for your patience!

As far as we know, that was not always the case. In the 1990s, Saffron started off as SafeTalk, which branched off from a local women's shelter. Our goal at the time was to offer counselling to women in shelter who experienced violence. Through the later 90s, the demand from women who weren't in shelter was so high we opened the Strathcona County Sexual Assault Centre. We later rebranded as the Saffron Centre to provide clients with some anonymity if they wished, e.g. bills/receipts from the Saffron Centre aren't as conspicuous. Since around 2000, we've been operating at a non-profit sexual assault centre which is probably when our non-gendered language started.

We encourage you to contact centres in your area, through letter-writing, emails, social media, even phone calls, asking them to use more inclusive language! Voicing your concerns is the best way to let them know about the issue.

In reference to seeking support, you're absolutely right in that getting into therapy can be quite time-consuming. First, I would encourage survivors to seek out specialized services so they can ensure that the therapists are properly trained. I also encourage trying to get on waitlists at as many centres as possible to try and speed up the process. In the meantime, looking for general mental health services or phone lines can be a good way to gain more information or find alternative supports. It can also be helpful, if the survivor is up to it, to share their experience or ask for support from a trusted friend or family member.

Also, Ryan will be sharing more international resources at the end of the AMA!

Claaappy23 karma

Are there any noticeable trends when it comes to different genders?, cultures?, etc?

SaffronCentreLtd29 karma

Ryan here, great question! So yes there are really significant trends when it comes to victimization as well as reporting.

Most people who experience sexual assault are women, I'm sure that doesn't come as a surprise. Women account for roughly 87% of sexual assault survivors in Canada. And if you look more closely, indigenous people are overrepresented in this population as well.

On the reporting side, most sexual assaults in general are never reported, however, the likelihood of a sexual assault being reported get lower depending on the population you belong to. Once again, indigenous people and other minority groups are less likely to report sexual violence than other groups. Furthermore, vulnerable populations like the homeless, or those that work in the sex trade are also less likely to report. Men who are sexually assault are also far less likely to report.

I can go into more detail if you like, or if you want to ask about a specific trend let me know.

Thanks!

SAthrowaway12345678919 karma

Do you think that people who have committed sexual assault/rape can be redeemed or rehabilitated (even if they have never been arrested or reported) if they are sincerely remorseful for their past actions?

If so, what steps would they need to take and how could they go about it?

SaffronCentreLtd19 karma

Grace here, and thank you for your question!

Yes, at Saffron we think it's important to acknowledge that perpetrators can be rehabilitated. Especially considering that many perpetrators are repeat offenders, rehabilitating these individuals is a huge help in reducing rates of sexual assault in the community. To quote from Counseling Sex Offenders and the Importance of Counselor Self-Care by Courtney T. Evans, Courtney Ward and Heng Choon (Oliver) Chan, "a meta-analysis by Hanson, Gordon, and Harris (2002) reveals a significant different between recidivism rates for sex offenders who were treated (9.9%) versus those who were not (17.3%). Such research backs up that modern treatment (i.e. professional counselling) lowers recidivism rates."

There are different avenues to take regarding this, but the first step is to acknowledge that they have caused harm, and like you mentioned, that they feel remorse for their actions. This attitude is extremely important when it comes to seeking help!

One option is to attend counselling designed for perpetrators of sexual assault. One issue is that it is more difficult to find specialized services for perpetrators than it is for victims. There are options that exist, for example, our centre has a list of private practices that are trained in perpetrator counselling. However there is still a gap that exists in services and ideally one that will be filled, i.e. creation of centres specific to perpetrator counselling.

Another option is restorative justice, which when done properly, can be healing for offenders and survivors. To quote from Restorative Justice Responses to Sexual Assault by Mary Koss and Mary Achilles, "The term restorative justice applies to programs that view crime as a violation of people and relationships, causing harm for which offenders and communities are accountable and have an obligation to repair (Umbreit, Vos, Coates, & Lightfoot, 2006) [and] whereas judicial processes and incarceration primarily aim for deterrence and punishment of the offender, restorative justice can be both responsive to survivor needs for validation, empowerment, and repair of harm and preventative of future sexual assault." Restorative justice would need the attendance and approval of the survivor and perpetrator, as well as the service existing in general to be effective, but if it is presented as an option and all parties are willing, it can be very effective. Attending counselling can be easier in that the perpetrator can make the decision to do that entirely on their own.

SaffronCentreLtd4 karma

Here's another resource I was given by our Director of Counselling, https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/findhealth/service.aspx?Id=1905

pants678919 karma

Vague question, I know, but for sexual assault how often do you find victimizers were once victims? Is there any substantial correlation?

SaffronCentreLtd18 karma

Grace here, thanks for your question and for your patience. This thread is getting a lot more questions than we expected! This question in particular involved some extra research on our part.

I looked up a couple of different studies on the victim-to-victimizer cycle, and the general consensus seems to be reflected in the quote that "the data support the notion of a victim-to-victimiser cycle in a minority of male perpetrators." In the study this quote is from, they found that "35% of the perpetrators reported themselves as victims (79 of 225)." (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/cycle-of-child-sexual-abuse-links-between-being-a-victim-and-becoming-a-perpetrator/A98434C25DB8619FB8F1E8654B651A88)

Other studies report similar findings:

- "Roughly one in 10 (10%) male victims of child sex abuse in a U.K. study later went on to abuse children as adults." (The study is reported in the Feb. 8 issue of The Lancet.)

- "Bentovim and colleagues from London's Institute of Child Health identified 224 adult male victims of child sexual abuse whose childhood medical and social service records were available for review . . . Twenty-six of the 224 sex abuse victims (12%) later committed sexual offenses, and in almost all cases their victims were also children."

There are other risk factors that can contribute to individuals becoming offenders. "Family history of violence, sexual abuse by a female, maternal neglect, and lack of supervision were all associated with a threefold-increased risk that the abused would become an abuser." I think this quote summarizes it well, "the message here is that sexual victimization alone is not sufficient to suggest a boy is likely to grow up to become a sex offender . . . but our study does show that abused boys who grow up in families where they are exposed to a great deal of violence or neglect are at particular risk." These quotes are from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20030206/do-sexually-abused-kids-become-abusers

I also found that most research around this cycle is focused on men. I could only find one mention of research into the victim-to-victimizer cycle for women, and they found that "while 41 (43%) of female subjects were previous victims of sexual abuse, only one of the victims became a perpetrator of sexual abuse (2%)." This is from the Cambridge study.

I'm afraid I can't answer this question specifically about clients we see at Saffron, due to confidentiality agreements. Hopefully the studies I shared helped to answer your question!

HappierWhenAsleep15 karma

Is it understandable to report or ask for help years after one's assault or did I already missed my chance?

(Context: happened when I was a child but didnt know it at that time)

SaffronCentreLtd22 karma

Hi there, Ryan here, this is a good question. Firstly, I'm sorry about what happened to you when you were a child.

In Canada there is no limitation for when you can report a sexual assault. Other crimes have legal limits on how many years after you can report, but sexual assault is not one of them.

We have client's who have reported things that happened 20 or 30 years ago. So if you are thinking about reporting or going to get support services, you have not missed your chance.

If it is something you are thinking about, understand that the healing process looks different for everyone too. Our brains have a whole bunch of processes that help us do this. If you feel like you need help with any of this, definitely check out some support services near you. I'll be posting a list of different services across several countries at the end of the AMA.

ApocolypseBot13 karma

How common are false reports?

Asking cause I've had a mentally ill friend (no longer acquainted, she's in prison now) falsely report once and it stuck with me that it's within the realm of possibility. Still creeps in my mind when I hear someone accused in the media now.

I feel bad for those feelings, but that was an experience unique to me as I was heavily involved and it was downright traumatic for ME to have had to been so heavily involved in something that she later admitted was a lie. Especially since I am an actual survivor (that never talks about it).

Edit: Actually second question. I am a survivor that never talks about it or thinks about it. I basically just ignore it happened. Is that a common thing. Am I hurting myself at all? I don't even have to TRY to not think about it I just DON"T think about it. Or talk about it. It just happened and I went on.

SaffronCentreLtd23 karma

Ryan here, I just want to start by saying that I'm really sorry that something happened to you.

The reality is that most people don't lie about sexual assault. The ratio of false statements is roughly the same as it is for any other crime like robbery or assault.

When someone makes a report it's important that it be investigated by police like they would for any other crime.

ApocolypseBot13 karma

It sucks that anyone WOULD do that, but comforting to hear it's not too common. Thanks Ryan have a good day. Thanks for yalls work too.

SaffronCentreLtd13 karma

No worries, in answer to you second question in the edit there. That is definitely not uncommon, people process these things in all sorts of different ways. Trauma affects our brain in a really profound way, so this reaction of yours is part of that trauma response. it's your brain's way of keeping you safe.

I honestly can't tell you if you are hurting yourself or not, if you aren't ready to talk about it, you aren't ready to talk about it. You shouldn't force yourself to if you aren't comfortable yet, and you should feel pressure to talk about it if you don't want to. The only person that can make that decision is you.

If at some point you feel like you do want or need to talk about it therapy or some kind of counselling is a great tool, and there are a lot of different types so you could find one that suits you.

CaptainObvious_-10 karma

What can you say about sexual assault on men? Many don't take it seriously and men themselves try to shrug it off because it might make them look week.

I myself was assaulted in a public toilet by two transvestites. I always tell it like a joke to my friends. (Probabily because it's easier menatlly to tell it that way)

"Oh yea i went into the bathroom and there were two chicks there, when i went in the toilet they knocked, and a very deep voice wanted me to open, when i did i saw the two girls that had actually beards. I ran for my life but they did manage to grope me during my... tactical retreat. (Running away in panic)

I always tell it like a joke but i do feel somewhat miserable thinking about it. I am not a small guy and could've even fought them off but They could've easily put a knife or gun on me. And i can't think about all the people that maybe are smaller or weaker and they overpowered them.

Idk what are your thoughts on this matter?

Edit: I saw in other comments you actually did talk about this. Sorry lol.

SaffronCentreLtd4 karma

Hi there, Ryan here, thanks for your questions. I'm sorry about what happened to you.

I think you are right, men often don't take it seriously enough themselves for exactly that reason. There is a lot of messaging and socialization that tells men it's not okay to talk about your feelings and to ask for help. What's more, is that men are often taught that they should welcome any kind of physical attention even if they aren't comfortable with it.

And then it gets minimized as a joke or something that shouldn't be taken seriously. It's important for people to step outside of the stereotypes and broaden their understanding of what is and isn't appropriate. Anyone can be sexually assaulted, and men and boys are no exception. It can and does happen to them too.

parahacker10 karma

so, it's been an hour, and there are a few really good questions here, especially regarding gender and male victims... is this AMA still going to happen?

::taps mic:: is this thing on?

SaffronCentreLtd12 karma

Grace here, thanks for the question!

This AMA is in progress! We are getting so many thoughtful and thought-provoking questions that we are making sure to take an appropriate amount of time before responding. Our responses might be a little slow because of this! But Ryan and I will be here answering questions until 4PM MST so if you have any, please ask away. :)

human_cannonball7 karma

How do you handle cases where both the victim and the perpetrator are children?

SaffronCentreLtd6 karma

Ryan here, really good question. We don't often get active cases where both the survivor and perpetrator are children. Part of the reason is because Saffron is not a child advocacy centre, so whenever possible we try to refer cases like that to the Zebra Centre who specializes in it.

To be clear too, a lot of what we do is counselling, and we don't see perpetrators, so we would only see the survivor for counselling in that case.

For police and court support, we don't really get involved in the matter itself, we just provide support to the survivor.

That being said, a lot of times perpetrating behaviours present in children and because they are so young can be dealt with relatively easily with therapy. Saffron does not provide that kind of therapy, but we will provide referrals.

Stevet1597 karma

I support you, think your organization serves a nobel goal. It's awesome.

It states in your mission that one of your goals is to end sexaul violence by the next generation. This is below a congratulatory message about your 20 years of service. Thank you BTW, but 20 years is also known as a generation.

Is your mission realistically achievable? If not how are people supposed to believe in you as an organization if you can't achieve your mission?

SaffronCentreLtd7 karma

Grace and Ryan here, and thank you for your question!

We hope that our vision is an achievable one, but the reality is that while this is our centre's vision, it takes much more than just our work to end sexual violence. It's an issue that exists in all levels of society, and changes must be made in the legal system, education, counselling practices, government, workplaces, hospitals, etc. for this to become a reality. Part of this work also includes making spaces more accessible for all genders, sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural background, ability level, etc. We hope that our vision inspires others to work with us to end sexual violence, because it is something that we are all capable of working towards.

craftor7086 karma

Does your center consider infant genital mutilation to be a sexual assault? And is it included in any of your statistics?

And if not, why not?

SaffronCentreLtd6 karma

Grace here, thanks for the question and your patience.

Our centre does not consider infant genital mutilation to be a sexual assault. This is simply because it does not fall under the Canadian Criminal Code definition of sexual assault. However, infant genital mutilation can fall under the definition of aggravated assault under the Criminal Code: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-46/section-268.html

craftor7085 karma

Does FGM fall under that same Canadian Criminal Code definition of sexual assault, or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

SaffronCentreLtd3 karma

FGM falls under the Canadian Criminal Code section on aggravated assault. "In May 1997, the federal government amended the Criminal Code and included the performance of FGM as aggravated assault under section 268(3).[31]" It's included in the link from the first answer!

spiattalo4 karma

Wha do you think of the idea that data on sexual assault may be doctored to push a misandrist agenda?

SaffronCentreLtd-2 karma

Ryan here, thanks for the question. To put some things plain here, we have used statistics today in answering other questions from Statistics Canada. for example, the 87% of survivors of sexual assault being women and 95% of perpetrators being men. We have also used our own internal client statistics. What we use to rationalize these statistics comes from a variety of peer reviewed sources. We make sure to carefully look at the information we use before including it in our practice. For example, when we talk about the socialization of men, the reality of this has been well documented and well researched over the years. I will refer to the American Psychological Associations Guidelines for Treating Men and Boys here: https://www.apa.org/about/policy/boys-men-practice-guidelines.pdf

Given all of these factors, where all of this data comes from, I find it difficult to believe that there is a misandrist agenda involved in hundreds of peer reviewed studies and grey literature from government agencies. Not to say that misandry is completely non-existent, I'm sure that it exists in many places, but not institutionally at Statistics Canada or in the APA.

These are the facts, and we know this as a result of a lot of hard work over many years. The reality is, the issues we've talked about today affect real people, and we have to deal with that. We have to look at those facts and figure out what we can do to change them. Whatever the reality about who is more victimized or what the definition of sexual assault is, I think most people would agree that it needs to stop regardless of who is affected.

7elucinations4 karma

I am in the interview process to work for an organization that helps survivors of SA and DV but also is LGBT, polyamorous, and kink affirming. While I am a survivor myself, my previous background is in education. However many of my students had complex traumas as they migrated from Central America. What kind of person does it take to do this work? Is someone with my background qualified? What is the best way to administer peer support to a survivor? Thanks so much!

SaffronCentreLtd5 karma

Hi there, Ryan here, thanks for the question. I'm sorry about your past experience.

Yes, someone with your background is absolutely qualified! We have people from all different backgrounds, I am from human ecology, we have people from criminology, political science, etc.

What it really takes to do this work is passion for it. Everything else we do can be taught. A background in education is great, as a lot of what we do is education. But if you are enthusiastic about it and care about it you can do this.

The best way to administer peer support is to be empathetic and use active listening skills. Validate what you hear from people, and let them know that you can support them.

Thanks for your question and good luck in your interview.

Outsiderx113 karma

What % of people who were raped report the crime ? And what are the differing reasons that are at play for men and women to report later or not report at all ?

SaffronCentreLtd3 karma

Hi, Ryan here, great question.

So according to the General Social Survey that statistics Canada does, about 83% of sexual assaults are not reported.

As for why, the reasons can vary a lot. There is often a lot of shame around something like this, and a fear that the survivor did something wrong or could have stopped it in some way. That can be reinforced by other people saying victim blaming things. There is also a lot of fear around not being believed, especially by police and the court system.

It also can take people a lot of time to process what happened to them, and so they don't talk about it for years, if they ever talk about it.

As for the gender differences, a lot of the reasons are consistent across the board by gender, but men are less likely to come forward. This has as much to do with fear and shame as it does with socialization. Men are trained to believe that they shouldn't ask for help, and there are stereotypes that men can't be sexually assaulted. This isn't true, but it contributes to why a lot of men never talk about what happened to them, they may not even realize that what happened was wrong.

Iwilleaturnuggetsuwu3 karma

How many male victims do you get on average?

SaffronCentreLtd11 karma

Ryan here, thanks for the question.

At Saffron in 2020 roughly 10-15% of our clients are male identifying. This changes over time, but it's pretty steadily in that range.

Level_Grapes3 karma

How do you ease the fear?

SaffronCentreLtd4 karma

Hi there, Ryan here, thanks for the question. I'm going to take that to mean the fear of reporting/coming forward to talk about something that's happened to you.

This is definitely not an easy thing to do, there are a lot of reasons why people don't talk about this, and those fears are totally legitimate.

What we at Saffron try to do to help is be empathetic, and try to validate the experience. We can help prepare people for what to expect, and give them as much information as possible, but the fear won't go away completely, and that's okay.

PhillyTaco2 karma

In a hypothetical scenario, a man and woman are about to engage in sexual relations. The woman has had two drinks within a one hour time span. She says she is fine and with clear, enthusiastic consent, says to the man she would like to have intercourse. She gives verbal affirmations of enthusiastic consent throughout the event. Afterwards she says to the man she enjoyed the experience.

Was she able to give consent despite her alcohol intake? Was the man right in determining her ability to consent? If a woman shows signs of drunkenness but still gives verbal, enthusiastic consent, is the integrity of her ability to consent ultimately the judgement of the man? Or should the man trust the woman's autonomy? At what level of intoxication does given consent become negated?

You could say never have sex with a someone who has been drinking, but what does that mean? If a person had a drink at 12:01 in the morning, and then engages in sex at 11:59 later that day, is that not having sex with someone who had earlier been drinking?

Thank you.

SaffronCentreLtd8 karma

Grace here, thanks for the question!

It's always difficult to respond to questions around hypothetical scenarios, but I'll do my best. And it's always tricky when alcohol consumption is involved, so I really appreciate that you asked about it!

In that scenario, from what you described, it sounds as though the woman was able to give consent despite her alcohol intake. Your scenario mentions her ability to give verbal consent, and continue giving it throughout the sexual experience. From that description, it sounds as if she is not incapacitated.

If someone has been drinking, it doesn't mean that they are unable to have consensual sex. The problem arises if someone has been drinking to the point of incapacitation. That is when given consent can become negated. For example, if someone has been drinking and they are slurring their words, can't keep their eyes open, and are stumbling while trying to walk, they could verbally give consent to sex, but under the Criminal Code it would not count as consent because they have been drinking to the point of incapacitation.

Trying to find the 'level of intoxication' where consent is no longer applicable can be tricky. People handle liquor very differently based on many factors. The best rule of thumb to follow is essentially that if you question, even for a moment, their ability to give consent (e.g. thinking "I'm not sure about this, they seem pretty drunk/high") then you should not engage in sexual activity with that person.

It's important to use your best judgment in these scenarios, kind of how a bartender would determine whether or not to continue serving someone alcohol (as an example).

As a sexually active person, one does have the responsibility to ensure that sexual partners are fully able to consent to any sexual activity.

AtlanAtlana2 karma

So... Are your services exclusive for Canada, or are you also supporting people abroad? Is it affordable? Do you help people who have been assaulted as kids, but are now adults?

SaffronCentreLtd3 karma

We service our local area in Edmonton and the surrounding rural communities. There are other sexual assault centres that service other parts of Alberta.

We don't offer service abroad because a lot of our services require the in person aspect (with modifications because of Covid).

At the end of the AMA I will be posting some lists to direct to services in other countries though, so take a look at that if you are not located in our area.

And yes, we help people who have historical experience with sexual violence as well. There isn't a time limit to access our services.

FusilliCraig1 karma

What foundations, companies, charities or otherwise within Canada are forwarding sexual health, knowledge, discussion and progressivism in Canada in your opinion?

As someone who would like to help our Country start talking about sex, sex work and sexuality I'm a bit lost at where to offer my time or money.

SaffronCentreLtd2 karma

Hi there, Ryan here, good question.

If you are looking for somewhere to volunteer your time, then any sexual assault centre is a great place to start. There are around a dozen here in Alberta, and 3 just in the Edmonton area, including us. We often rely on volunteers to get some of our work done, and having more can never hurt.

She Matters is an organization in Ontario that is doing some great work around this issue, they released a report about the availability of sexual assault examination kit's recently.

The Canadian Red Cross has a great healthy relationships curriculum for youth. The Fourth R also has a really good one.

If you google around a bit I'm sure you can find some local organizations that are doing this work. Like the Compass Sexual Health Centre here in Edmonton.

Edit: Found this link as well! https://www.actioncanadashr.org/srhweek

FlowMorphiaSlow1 karma

I was recently a participant on a thread on Reddit, where a Redditor claimed to be a prosecutor for child sexual abuse cases in US. However, she refused to call it sexual abuses, and insisted on calling it 'kiddie sex' and that it was normal as part of her role due to what she's witnessed.

Is language like this common with people who work in the area? Would this not undermine any court case of a prosecutor is referring to the case as 'kiddie sex' and not sexual abuse as abuse implies lack of consent where as sex is something you have and agree to?

SaffronCentreLtd8 karma

Hi there, Ryan here, thanks for the question.

I don't know this other redditor, and I can't say for sure whether they are a prosecutor or not. However, I have never heard a lawyer, police officer, victim's services worker, counsellor, or advocate use the term you described. That is very abnormal to me, and I would characterize it as wholly inappropriate.

There are legal terms for things like that, and prosecutors are much more likely to use them than anything else. Specifically around child sexual abuse, there is a big push in recent years to stop using language that implies consent, because it is not consensual. For example instead of 'child pornography' people should be saying 'child sexual abuse material.'

Good for you for noticing this discrepancy.

DaDacheBack0 karma

Favorite movie?

SaffronCentreLtd0 karma

Ryan here,

Saffron's favourite movie, is The Mask You Live In, a documentary about the socialization of men and boys, and how it can be really harmful for them and others when they aren't taught to be full humans.

Me personally, Lord of the Rings.

nurturingtrapdoor-5 karma

What is the office life like? Do people microwave fish or do anything like that?

SaffronCentreLtd16 karma

Hi, the office life is quiet right now due to COVID restrictions but we put a huge emphasis on team building and self care. We microwave many things, but we like to keep our fish in the tank.