With You We Can is a victim-led network bridging gaps between victims of sexual assault and the police and legal processes, with the goal of demystifying the process of reporting sexual violence while we work to improve it. Uniquely informed by both sector and lived expertise, we want victims for whom it is safe to report to be empowered to do so.
Perpetrators have a reasonable expectation that they will not be held accountable. They hope that victims will feel shamed into silence. Then, even if they wanted to speak up, victims are fearful of the judicial process. And with good reason…
The police and legal processes can be entirely re-traumatising – not just because they involve recounting assault in detail, but because they take away a victim’s agency, just like it was taken during their assault, just as they have chosen to reclaim it.
Victims feel in the dark, out of control and alone as a witness in the state’s case against the perpetrator. Support is limited, impersonal and conflicting. Those tasked with providing answers often don’t have them. Beyond systemic flaws are cultural deficits, where men’s violence against women has been normalised and archaic misconceptions worsen an already isolating process. These problems are amplified for Indigenous peoples, people of culturally diverse backgrounds, people with disabilities and the LGBTQIA+ communities
But our answer is not to wait for societal overhaul; we need change now. Advocates are pushing from both ends, ground up sex education and top down law reform, all of which will prevent a proportion of sexual assaults in the future. While we join the push, With You We Can is creating understanding of the police and legal processes to help victims now, by diminishing two of the most significant barriers to reporting – a lack of support and a lack of information. The flow-on effects of doing so help more than the individual victim.