LYNNE LUND: Preventing sexual violence is everyone’s responsibility

It’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week, and this is an important time for conversations on how preventing sexual violence is everyone’s responsibility.

It’s well known that sexual violence is widely under reported, and a big piece of that is the very real fear survivors have of not being believed. There is necessary work at virtually every level of society.

We must ensure survivors feel safe and supported to come forward after a sexual assault, to improve their experiences in the justice system, and to do whatever is necessary to eliminate the culture that makes these assaults all too common in the first place.

I’m committed to doing my part in that work.

This fall, I’ll be tabling legislation to ensure survivors are no longer silenced with gag orders. Non disclosure agreements (NDAs) have become all too common when settling workplace sexual assaults, and that’s problematic for a number of reasons.

  • Survivors deserve support and should never be forced to hide what happened to them. NDAs have been abused to prevent people from talking about what happened with their therapist, doctor, or even the police. The long term implications of never being able to be properly supported are devastating.
  • NDAs mute conversations about sexual violence. These clauses make it next to impossible for anyone wishing to speak up about abuse in the workplace. They can prevent concerned individuals from warning potential future victims of danger.
  • NDAs perpetuate the problem in workplaces and institutions. They allow a person who has behaved abusively and possibly criminally to continue on, undetected in a position of power.

For more information on the legislation I am working on, please visit: https://peigreencaucus.ca/2021/09/non-disclosure-agreements-act/.

Everyone has a role to play. This week, in particular, I thank all the various organization and individuals dedicated to raising awareness on sexual violence, supporting survivors, and to ending the culture that makes sexual violence all too common.

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexualized violence, please reach out for help. If you are in danger, call 911 or your local police.

You can also receive support from the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre at https://www.peirsac.org/ or by calling 1-888-566-1865.

To find additional supports you can call 211 or the Island Helpline 1-800-218-2885.