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Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program for the Halifax area:
902-425-0122

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Sketch portrait of African male

If everyone around you is telling you it’s not a big deal

I just kind of wanted to highlight that we live in a system where, as a Black man, if you go to any authority figure, you already know that there's a good chance you might not be taken seriously. And then oftentimes, when you get there, you don't get taken seriously. So the only people that you feel might take you seriously is your own community. But, when your own community still doesn't take you seriously, then it goes back to what the participants have said before me, where you start to not take yourself seriously. If everyone around you is telling you that it's not a big deal and that it shouldn’t be anything, then you either have the confidence to say that, I'm right and everyone else is wrong, or you end up just accepting that abuse, which will probably lead to repeated behaviour.

Recommendations

  • When responding to a disclosure or report of sexual violence involving racially or ethnically marginalized students, provide these students with the choice to work with someone who shares their cultural or racial identity or someone who does not.

  • Engage in activities to develop anti-racism as it pertains to sexual violence prevention and response. Apply anti-racist practices in these areas.

  • Consider how a student's identities might affect their expectations and concerns when accessing supports following a sexual assault, or when involved in a sexual assault investigation.

  • Ensure all sexual violence prevention and response education and training opportunities actively deconstruct victim-blaming, rape myths and gender norms. Ensure these sessions take an intersectional approach to understanding sexual violence and supporting victim/survivors.

  • Be aware of damaging assumptions about Black and Middle Eastern male sexuality; consider problematizing this form of bias in education and awareness campaigns. In working with students from these demographics in relation to a disclosure or report, demonstrate awareness that such biases exist, and demonstrate intention not to be swayed by such assumptions.

  • In education and awareness campaigns, highlight the fact that a significant percentage of men have experienced sexual violence in their lives.

  • Seek ways to make healing practices that resonate with collectivist cultures and that are strength-based available to students, either through university services or through referrals to external programs.