How to teach Sexual Abuse to our Young people?

Hello dedicated Frontliners,

This week was quite draining. We had a couple of facilitators come over to one of the communities and educate young people on sexual abuse.

It was a huge reflection for me personally because in the south I had the privilege to teach about sexual harassment/ abuse to young people as well. I also realized that as an observer this time, I thought more about: “What were these young people thinking?” For those know what I am talking about, teaching young people about hard topics may have some implications to consider:

  1. Rehashing Traumatic Events for the victim
  2.  The inner conflict of whether I should disclose or not? and if they do what does look like for the rest of my family and community?
  3. “Can I handle listening to a topic where I am the abuser?”

That being said, how do we allow the victim to feel empowered while getting the perpetrator to acknowledge their actions and work on repairing the harm. It is such a touch question.

I am positive that it is a possible outcome?….hmmm..

There is one experience that I had as a Child and Youth Worker about 2 years ago. I was presenting on Dating Violence to a grade 12 class down south. After, going through the power point and getting some intense discussions from the grade 12s, I had one male in particular come up to me after the workshop.

Hey….Marleigh…I want to talk to you…

“Ummm…well…after seeing this, I realized I have been the abuser to my girlfriend for about a year now. ”

“I need help”

** Wow…I felt like I was prepared for anything that could happen, but this was definitely a shock for me” 

Sometimes, we hear and say from a distance that the abuser should face X, Y, and Z….but here I am face to face with one. Again, another moment in my career where I had to pull back my triggers and biases.

Asking for help is never easy but I really commended him for his honesty and his discovery. Its that moment that I began to think…what if we did not teach these young people about these hard topics? Would the abuse continued? Would this young person still be in denial?

I believe the number 1 rule for facilitators teaching hard topics is to provide a safe and none judgmental environment for everyone. 

I hope he is getting the help he needs…

Thanks for reading:)

Marleigh

**Happy Remembrance Day and JBQNA in the North** 

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