Behind the Badge & Beyond the Streets.

Raising Awareness

Addressing the Re-Traumatization of Sex Workers: A Multi-Dimensional Challenge"

Inside the welcoming precincts of Ontario's police stations, a concern too important to ignore was unfolding. According to Victim Support Europe (VSE), sex workers often face a second wave of trauma when reporting crimes. The data paints a harsh reality: a mere 15% of sexual assault cases involving sex workers actually get reported to the police. This glaring issue forces us to re-examine how our social systems can better protect those most vulnerable.

Officers find themselves in an unenviable situation: their job is difficult, mentally taxing, and emotionally draining. Coupled with this is a pervasive social sentiment that further isolates them. Missed family events, little time off, and an unforgiving public scrutiny create a challenging work environment that can affect their performance, including their interactions with the community and victims.

In order to shift the perception police officers may have of victims being just another case to seeing them as a human beings with a complex background, it was crucial to delve deep into their story.

The faceless victims, frequently reduced to mere case numbers in police files, have untold stories that extend far beyond law enforcement records. Take Grace, for instance—an Indigenous teen ensnared in a system that perpetually lets her down. She is not merely another statistic, another face in a crowd of victims, but a young individual whose ambitions, hopes, and very existence have been subsumed in a relentless cycle of exploitation and abuse.

Elastik crafted a poignant two-part animated video series spotlighting the contrasting, yet intersecting worlds of a police officer and a sex worker. These heartfelt narratives provide a raw glimpse into the private struggles and challenges each face, breaking down stereotypes and fostering a deeper understanding. The first video navigates the taxing life of Eric, an officer battling the demands of duty and personal sacrifices. The second delves into Grace's world, an Indigenous teen trapped in a vicious cycle of exploitation. Through this initiative, our goal was to humanize both roles, encouraging empathy, dialogue, and positive change in societal perceptions. The animation serves as a testament to the unspoken trials faced by countless individuals and the pressing need for awareness and intervention.

The video series struck a chord. Officers felt authentically represented and the issue of re-traumatization among sex workers received the spotlight it deserved. The conversation has begun, and it is one that we cannot afford to let fade.

 

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Behind the Badge & Beyond the Streets.