Sexual assault is any unwanted or forced sexual activity. This can include forced or unwanted kissing, touching and sex. It is sexual assault even if, for example, you have engaged in sexual activity with this person in the past, the person is someone you know or you are in a relationship with this person. You have a right to say no at any point during sexual activity and to have that no respected.
All sexual activity requires consent by law. To learn more about consent, click here.
There is a lot of stigma about sexual assault and we tend to think of it as a rare and committed by strangers. However, sexual assault is far too common and 80% of perpetrators are known to the victim. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual assault. Most sexual assaults (57%) happen on dates and the majority of date and acquaintance sexual assaults are committed against women aged 16-24.
There are many myths about sexual assault including the idea that women lie about their assaults. In reality, less than 10% of sexual assaults are reported to the police. There are many reasons why people do not report including not recognizing their experience as sexual assault, feeling responsible for the assault, fear of not being believed, fear of their abuser, as well as fear of the legal process.
Many survivors are blamed for their experience of sexual assault. This is referred to as victim-blaming. Survivors hear that they should have made different choices to avoid the assault.
The victim/survivor is NEVER to blame. Appearance and behaviour do not justify sexual assault. We all have the right to say no to sexual activity. The idea that someone “asked for it” shifts the blame away from the person who committed the assault.
Take a minute to watch this video by Laci Green which talks about victim-blaming.
If you have experienced sexual assault, you deserve support. Remember that you can contact SAVIS. Our 24 hour crisis support line is 905-875-1555 and is free and confidential!