By: Nicole Krysa, Meds '22
Current data suggests that in Canada 1 in 3 women and 1 in 8 men will be subject to unwanted sexual behaviour at some point in their adult lives. It is thought that this population might be even larger than is currently estimated, as the nature of the psychological sequelae following sexual trauma, as well as the stigma associated with being a “victim” means that many are reluctant to report or even acknowledge what they have endured. The implication of these striking figures for us as one-day physicians is that nearly all of us will encounter individuals who have suffered sexual violence in our medical practices. While many of these patients might want to discuss their current or historic trauma, they may perceive a barrier, assuming that their physician will not be understanding or receptive to what they have to say.
In recognizing all of this, a universal symbol was created for physicians to display which signals to those who have been subject to sexual violence that they can make disclosures in a safe, trauma-informed environment. The current plan is to print this symbol on window stickers and pins, and to distribute it to physicians across Canada. In the meantime, we encourage physicians and other healthcare workers to employ it at their leisure, and to make others aware of it as well. Our hope is that it will be adopted and utilized universally. Thank you in advance for being an advocate against sexual violence and for supporting those in need.
Logo Design Credit:
Olivia Kotarba (www.okkdesign.com)
Cotter, A., & Savage, L. (2019, December 5). Gender-based violence and unwanted sexual behaviour in Canada, 2018: Initial findings from the Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2019001/article/00017-eng.htm
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