– une femme dans la trentaine, a grandi en Algérie
J'avais dix ans. Il y avait un seul magasin dans le village. Puis, lui il offre toujours aux petites filles des bonbons gratuits. Je sais pas, son visage je l'aimais pas... Une fois je suis arrivée, il dit : « Rentre, je vais te donner des bonbons ! » Je dis : « Non, c'est bon je prends plus de bonbon. » Après, il m'a convaincue, je suis rentrée quand même dans le magasin. Puis là, il s'est mis derrière moi. Là il me dit : « Il faut que tu me donnes une bise comme ça au lieu que tu me payes ». Je dis : « Qu'est-ce que tu veux me faire ?» Il m'a pris de force parce qu'il voulait m'embrasser. J'avais peur, j'arrive pas à l'oublier. Une bouteille était là sur la table. Il m'a embrassée quand même, je l'ai mordu. Puis, j'ai cassé la bouteille, j'ai dis « SI TU T'APPROCHES DE MOI !.. » Je suis partie en criant, en choc, je criais dans la rue, « LE VIOLEUR, LE VIOLEUR ! » Mon père a été hors de lui : « Plus aucune fille, pas une enfant ne rentre chez lui ! » Et c'est fini! D'ailleurs il n’a pas tardé à fermer sa boutique.
Laila's instincts were very strong, and she didn't feel safe with the storeowner. She asked questions, bit the aggressor, used a weapon at hand, and made a scene, all of which combined led to her being safe, and prevented the aggressor from hurting other children in her village.
– is a white, Anglophone Quebecer in her forties.
When I was 5 years old, I woke up and there was someone I didn't know coming into the room, and the light was off. And I always slept with the light on. The person started touching me and I was like, “OK that's weird”. It took me a second to get my wits together, but then I started yelling and the person ran away. And I ran after them, out of the house, like all the way down the hall. And they ran out the front door and then I stood at the door, yelling, and trying to see the person who ran away. And my mom woke up, my dad woke up, and everybody woke up, and they were like, “What's going on?” so I said that I wanted to talk to my mom, and I tried to explain to her what had happened.
Sarah made a loud noise by yelling and chased away her aggressor. Studies show that making a loud noise is one of the best ways to prevent an assault.
– is a white Anglophone Quebecer in her forties. She was sexually abused by her brother as a child.
For me it was after school, that was when I would be alone with him, so I would go to a friend's house or get a friend to come to my place. So by the time I was seven, I was never ever alone with him. After that I had tools, I had a friend. Turns out that the girl was also assaulted by her brothers and father, so it worked well for both of us. That was a turning point, for both of us, that's when things stopped. One time she protected me. I didn't know she was being assaulted, because I was 8. But one time I was sleeping at her house, and her dad came into the room. And she said, “No dad, not her!” And for years I didn't know what that meant, I had no clue at all, all I knew was we were all awake in the room and it didn't feel very good.
Sometimes we protect ourselves by avoiding the situation or the person, and by finding an ally. The other girl set her limits and gave her father an order.
– is a white, bilingual Quebecer.
My mom sat on me, and when she sat on me, as an asthmatic, you know, a grown woman sitting on a tiny little girl's chest, I knew it was dangerous. So, I'd laugh, I'd make jokes, I'd do all kinds of things to get her to stop but when I was about 11, at one point we had this huge fight and I pushed my dresser against the door because I really needed to be safe, and she was so mad that she managed to push the door open and push the dresser. And she came into my room and I took my wooden shoe, and I hit her in the stomach. And that was it; she was never physical with me again.
Often when abuse goes on for a long time, there is a moment when we draw the line and set our limits. Monique used a weapon at hand to defend herself.
– is an Asian woman who grew up in Asia and North America. At the time of the story she was seven years old.
When I think about it, I think I was rude but I was right. I must have said something that really irked my uncle, because I could see that he was going to get his little cane. He came up to me, and he gave me a whack, and as he did this I grabbed the stick from him, and I took it away from him. And I said, “You'll never use this stick on me again!” and I broke it. And I buried it. And he looked at me. This was a man, you know, and a huge extended family, and my mother wasn't around. And she came back and I was standing behind the door, and they told her how horrible I was. But he never used the cane again.
Jane gave an order. And in case it wasn't clear, Jane backed up her verbal self-defense by burying the cane!