For Facts and information about Sexual Assaults, see the Quebec provincial website on the subject.
Is there a difference between sexual assault and rape?
Rape is unwanted sexual intercourse. Under the law, sexual assault is any unwanted act of a sexual nature, including rape and any other unwanted fondling or touching.
Where does sexual assault happen?
Most people believe that sexual assault happens in “dangerous” places such as dark alleys or parking lots. More than half of all sexual assaults take place in homes or residence rooms.
Who commits sexual assault?
Sexual assault can happen to anyone at any time. Women are 11 times more likely than men to be a victim of sexual offences, and 3 times more likely to be the victim of criminal harassment (Stats Canada 2011).
Most assaults are committed by people known to the person: friends, dates, partners (including spouses), parents, doctors, caregivers, employers, teachers, and attendants. Unfortunately, many people who are assaulted by someone they know deny themselves the support they need or blame themselves for what happened, even though it was not their fault.
Who is responsible for sexual assault?
Regardless of what a person wears, where a person goes, what or how much a person drinks, sexual assault is not invited. Sexual assault is not the victim’s fault.
Do people lie about being sexually assaulted?
People rarely make false reports about sexual assault.
If a person isn’t crying or visibly upset, it probably wasn’t a serious sexual assault?
Every person responds to the trauma of sexual assault differently, including crying, anger, silence or calmness. Behaviour is not an indicator of the experience of trauma.
Is sexual assault usually committed by strangers?
More than 80% of sexual assaults that occur on university and college campuses are committed by someone the victim knows, and 50% occur on dates. Many of these assaults happen during the first eight weeks of classes. (Source: University of Alberta).
Is it sexual assault if physical violence or weapons are not used?
Sexual assault is any unwanted act of a sexual nature imposed by one person upon another.
Can people be sexually assaulted by their romantic partners?
By law people have the right to say no to any form of sex, even in a romantic relationship.
Does sexual assault only happen in heterosexual relationships?
No, sexual assault can also happen in same sex relationships.
If you are married, can your spouse sexually assault you?
Yes, marriage does not negate the fact that sexual activities must always be consensual. Being married does not give people the right to sexually touch their partners whenever they want to.
Can men be sexually assaulted?
10% of all reported victims are male.
Can people with disabilities be sexually assaulted?
Yes they can be. Women with disabilities are at a particularly higher risk, those who live with activity limitations are over two times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than those who are able-bodied.
How to prevent sexual assault?
(Borrowed from the University of Ohio)
There is a lot you can do to stop acquaintance rape; that means knowing what it is and making sure that you do not act in an assaultive or abusive manner, and teaching your friends to do the same. The key is to incorporate these ideas into your daily life and to make them a part of your normal behaviour.
- Understand that forcing sex against someone’s will is a crime;
- Understand that forcing sex harms another person;
- Accept the responsibility not to harm another person;
- Know that it is NEVER OKAY to force, no matter what;
- Stay in touch with your sexual desires and do not let them control your behaviour;
- STOP. ASK. CLARIFY. Do not assume you know what your partner wants. Find out by talking;
- Know that your partner’s desire for affection doesn’t always equal a desire for intercourse;
- Listen to your partner’s limits and respect those limits;
- Do not believe that a person ever owes you sex;
- Do not try to change your partner’s limits by coercion or manipulation (”I will break up with you if you don’t’ or “if you really love me…”);
- Assume “NO” means “NO”, if you are right you will be safe and if you are wrong, then your partner will have to initiate in order to get what he or she wants.
- Ask yourself if you really want to have sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with you? Are you willing to go to jail for it? If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.
- Do not have sex with someone who is intoxicated. Taking advantage of someone unable to give consent is an assault.