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Hey readers!

  Welcome to the month of September, which happens to be Suicide Awareness Month.  There are many different triggers for people to just give up on life, most popular is deep depression.  We have recently lost an amazing comic and actor, Robin Williams because he couldn't live with his depression anymore.  The world was heart broken and shocked at the news, as he hid his suffering well.  The scary thing is, this could also apply to someone close to you without you even realizing it.

  Sexual assault has been a frequent topic in my city's newspaper lately, and it pisses me off that these guys are still running around freely, violating women.  I do not know if these violent poor excuses for lives have escaped a psych ward, or what, but I do hope their survivors will be okay, and seek the professional support they need, post-trauma.

   I have heard many sexual assault stories, but recently I spoke to a woman in her late 40's who I see almost on a daily basis who was molested by her step father every day from the time she was a toddler to the time she was 14.  She has been on anti-depressants for years.  You wouldn't expect that from such a vibrant woman who loves to laugh and crack jokes all the time, but people aren't generally putting their hearts on their sleeve with people they barely know.

  The reason why she broke down and opened up to me is that I was talking about this place I learned about this year called Chantel's Place (opened in November 1998), which is a safe haven for sexual assault survivors, (located in 40 hospitals of the Trillium Group of hospitals in Ontario) where they can call in, get tested for STDs, collect evidence for a Sexual Assault Kit (in which the results are on the survivor's medical records), you can get a shower and change of clothes if the assault was fresh (they would take the clothes the survivor was wearing during the assault for the evidence kit, if possible) get counseling at no cost (just bring your health card), and even file a police report.  I heard that one of the locations in my city takes in an average of 1 new patient every 36 hours- and those are only the people who are fortunate enough to find out about this place via a friend, family, crisis center, etc... and these are only the ones who recognize they have been sexually assaulted... most incidents go unreported, which can ultimately result in struggling emotionally throughout life.

  It is never too late to file a report.  Not too many people know this, but 70 years could pass and you could still file a report to the police.  If too much time has passed to collect vital evidence, you can still file a third-party report (anonymously) that would be on the predator's records forever, so if any similar reports have made on that individual, authorities would see the pattern, in turn, increases the chances of charges being laid on that individual.

  Now, if you live in Ontario, you're probably aware that sex offenders would get a max sentence of 10 years (in the worst case scenario), plus any additional charges, if necessary... that's for extreme cases though... to my opinion, no sexual assault case should be undermined, as it's all trauma.  It will all affect you, psychologically.  I'm not a lawyer or a cop or anything, but I think if more sexual assault survivors spoke up, the more the government may see that it's a serious problem and maybe give rapists more than just a slap on the wrist... maybe eventually they could go medieval on them and hang them by the balls while locked up in a tiny, airless prison cell (a girl could dream...).

  Obviously, seeking help sooner than later is ideal.  If you or anyone you know has been sexually assaulted, please visit the Chantel's Place website for contact information.  You can save yourself, or a loved one the trouble of going though PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), or more specifically RTS (Rape Trauma Syndrome), which are very difficult to live with and can cripple one's ability to live a mentally and emotionally stable life.

  Obviously, sexual assault survivors aren't limited to women- men are just less likely to file a report, or even utter the words, "I was raped" for that matter.  Remember: "No" means "No", regardless of gender.  Please, seek help if you notice things aren't right.

  I just googled images for "Suicide" and the results aren't pretty... if you get freaked out about the fact that a lot of these photos are real, can you imagine how your loved ones would feel if they found you like that??? Is that how you want your loved ones to remember seeing you last?? It's traumatizing.  This world is already super fucked, I know, but it doesn't mean we should needlessly lose a beautiful life, such as yours. You may not feel like you matter to anyone, or that you're worthy of being happy because of your traumatic experiences, or that you can ever trust anyone again, but you really do matter and there are plenty of people out there that are trustworthy.  Please choose life.  Life is an uphill battle as we get older, but the climb to the top is so worth it in the end, and will just make you stronger.  Believe me, you will be pleased that you chose to live.  

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