Sexual assault is any act of sexual contact on one person by another; without mutual consent, or with the inability of the individual to give consent.
- Sexual assault can happen to anyone of any gender at any age
- Sexual assault may or may not include penetration
- Sexual assault is not about saying no, it’s about having the chance to say yes.
- Sexual assault is a crime regardless of how many bruises, cuts or scrapes you can or cannot see.
What is Consent?
- Consent is voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activities.
- Consent is NOT possible if you are sleeping or intoxicated.
- Consent is NOT present if you are pressured, coerced or threatened.
- Consent is NOT present where someone is in a position of power, trust or authority over you
Who are the Victims of Sexual Assault?
- Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault.
- Victims can be any age and come from diverse backgrounds.
- Women are 11 times more likely than men to be sexually assaulted.
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
- Women with disabilities, Indigenous women, transgender women, women of colour, and survival sex trade workers are victimized at significantly higher rates.
Who is responsible for sexual assault?
- You are never responsible for the sexual assault.
- People who have been sexually assaulted often blame themselves. Regardless of who you are, where you were or what you were doing, the person who sexually assaulted you is 100% responsible.
- Only 1 in 4 sexual assaults are perpetrated by a stranger. Most people are sexually assaulted by someone that is known to them. This could be a friend, casual acquaintance, someone you are dating, co-worker, partner/spouse, relative or someone providing a professional service to you.
How Do People Respond to Sexual Assault?
All survivors suffer trauma in varying degrees and your reactions to sexual assault may change over time. Some common reactions include shock, denial, self-blame, flashbacks, fear, nightmares, embarrassment, shame, anger, anxiety, mood swings, self-harm, suicide thoughts, changes in eating and sleeping, changes in relationships.
A Note on Language:
We have chosen to use both “survivor” and “victim”. Some people who have experienced sexual assault use neither of these terms. The choice is yours and we will do our best to honour that choice.