Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: A Young Woman Reaches Out
The following is an excerpt of a message written and presented to all Grade 9 students by a Grade 11 student who participated in one of COPA’s prevention programs and wanted to give back:
When I was 8 years old, something happened to me… I was sexually assaulted. Being sexually assaulted changes peoples’ lives dramatically…(It will) make your life worse if you move on with the situation or don’t tell anyone about the problem…
Everyone deserves their own privacy, your own comfort and your personal space. You don’t deserve to be trapped or unloved. Because even though that one person out there is hurting you, a million could be loving you. There’s help everywhere, and you can get it if you need, ask or want it.
Now I’ll tell you about my story. After being assaulted, I waited two weeks to tell two people. After I struggled to explain what was going on, they didn’t believe me. It made me feel terrible. After a little, I explained more of the story to one of them, and got her to trust me… I made her swear to never tell anyone. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I was scared, very scared…
…I began High School. Then my class started (receiving) COPA (workshops). COPA changed my life. They made me feel comfortable and open so I could explain my issues to them, without being terrified. Ever since COPA has helped me, I have been a much happier person.
If you know of someone being physically, mentally or sexually assaulted, please give them the help they deserve.
If you are harming, or have harmed someone, please stop it. You don’t know the pain they go through.
And if you have or are being harmed, please know that people are here to help.
You and your safety is important and that’s one thing that should never be taken away from you.
COPA’s ALLY AWARD was presented to this student at a ceremony in December 2012, in recognition of her remarkable contribution and in honour of her courage and decision to tell her story publicly, and to her peers, encouraging them to reach out and stop hurting others, or find help.