Today, Sport’Aide introduces Alain Fortier, who recently shared his story with us as a victim of sexual assault. Frank and direct, this father of two children who has had a career in financing for some twenty years, exposed us to the vision and path of a victim who has been able to give a whole other meaning to his assaults over the years.
Resilience fulfilling a mission
“Peppered with highs and lows, this was not an easy process by any means. At the same time, it allowed me to learn a great deal about myself and come out stronger,” states the founder of VASAM (victimes d’agressions sexuelles au masculin – TRADUCTION: male victims of sexual assault). Far from positioning himself as a victim, he took constructive action by giving himself the mission to help victims of sexual assault, protect them and bring their rights to the fore.
Questioned on his recipe that leads to resilience, Alain does not claim to have a magic formula. He still hopes that his experience, which he shares openly and courageously, will help other victims. “I hope that my testimony contributes to advancing rights and will provide better recognition of the rights and needs of the victims of sexual assaults,” he adds. In this respect, he does not hide his concern for male victims for whom there are still very strong taboos related to sexual assaults and a lack of assistance resources.
According to Alain, the path to resilience involves going through different steps. “Becoming aware of having been a victim and the consequences associated with traumatism; ceasing to blame yourself; deconstructing the feeling of shame; ignoring the judgement of others or possible reprisals; and learning to talk about one’s experience are the main things that I had to overcome during my personal, legal and social journey,” he outlines.
Even though the legal procedure was very long and tedious and did not always necessarily provide the expected results, Alain is categorical: “It was necessary and, in my case, life-saving… even though it took me 20 years before starting this final battle to get justice. Far beyond justice, I think that this step has to be taken for oneself since the challenge requires learning to make peace with yourself,” he explains.
One other aspect that Alain emphasizes is the importance of being surrounded and supported by loved ones in the most difficult times. “I have been lucky to be supported by my spouse, my family, my friends, but also resources such as the CALACS, the investigators, the psychologists and the social workers who are important and essential allies in order to facilitate the accusation and healing process.”
That said, the initial step always requires that you talk about it once, and then a second time and, indeed, a third time. “Each time that I could break the silence and tell my story to someone who believed me, I immediately felt lighter and relieved. Therefore, YOU HAVE to talk about it!” ended Alain, addressing all victims of sexual assault.
In short, regardless of the seriousness of the acts and their consequences and regardless of whether or not you want to officially accuse your aggressor, since it remains a personal choice that belongs to each victim, you must not isolate yourself with such a heavy and toxic secret. And this message is not only intended for victims! It is meant for all of us since to be able to talk, victims need a friendly ear that they can confide in. This means you have to be ready to listen attentively, seriously, without judgement and with the will to support the person who confides in you.
If this message speaks to you, do not hesitate to contact VASAM, founded by Mr. Fortier. This organization helps men who are victims of sexual assault. Sport’Aide is also there to listen to you and help you start your healing process which involves retaking control of your life… and developing resilience.
Thank you, Alain, for your contribution to the cause!
Note: To learn more about Alain Fortier’s story, path and observations, read his book titled « Agressé sexuellement : De victime à résilient ».
“I hope that my testimony contributes to advancing rights and will provide better recognition of the rights and needs of the victims of sexual assaults,”
– Alain Fortier