If you start to see #TrustYourself fly by when scrolling through your social media feed, it is part of an initiative from Island Health to encourage survivors of sexual assault to seek medical care.
The social media campaign is challenging the status quo – many people do not report sexual violence for a variety of reasons including stigma, fear of reprisal or the idea that drug or alcohol impairment could diminish their credibility.
Sexual assault is the most under-reported violent crime in Canada, with just one in every 20 sexual assaults reported to police, according to Statistics Canada, despite the number of cases reported increasing since the #MeToo movement went viral in October 2017.
|Reports of sexual assault in B.C. spike after #MeToo goes viral: Stats Canada
Forensic nurse examiners have specialized training and can help survivors up to seven days after an assault, providing medication and connecting survivors to counselling support.
Services are free, strictly confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Vancouver Island Crisis line at 1-888-494-3888.
According to Statistics Canada, 87 per cent of people who report sexual assaults are women and 13 per cent are men.
Support is available to people of all genders and with options to liaise with the legal system with a survivor’s consent and provide referrals for follow-up care.
The campaign also tackles domestic violence with the message, “But we’re together,” reinforcing that sexual and physical violence happens within relationships, and is considered a crime.
For more information on Island Health’s forensic nurse examiners, visit IslandHealth.ca/trustyourself.