Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Table of Contents
- What is sexual assault?
- Who is sexually assaulted?
- Where does it happen?
- What can I do if I've been sexually assaulted?
- What to do if someone I know is sexually assaulted?
- How does the Law define sexual assault?
- What is sexual harassment?
- What should you do if you are harassed?
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is defined here as any unwanted act of a sexual nature (i.e. kissing, fondling, oral or anal sex, intercourse or other forms of penetration) that is imposed on another person.
Sexual assault of any kind is a crime, even in a marriage of a dating relationship.
Statistics show that nearly all sexual assaults are committed by men against women or girls. A very small percentage of sexual assault victims are men.
The majority are committed by men the victim knows, not by strangers.
Fear of sexual assault affects all women.
Who is sexually assaulted?
All kinds of women are sexually assaulted - women from every walk of life. They can be of every racial and ethnic background; rich or poor; homemakers or women who work outside the home.
Women of all ages and physical types are sexually assaulted, including elderly and disabled women.
It doesn't happen to any certain "type" of woman. Any woman can be sexually assaulted. 1 in 3 Canadian women is sexually assaulted at some point in her life. 1 in 17 women will have forced intercourse (rape). 1 woman in 12 who has endured forced intercourse becomes pregnant as a result of the assault..]
Where Does it Happen
Most people believe that sexual assault happens in "dangerous" places such as dark alleys or parking lots. But more than half of all sexual assaults take place in private homes.
What can I do if I've been sexually assaulted?
Call the police immediately if you are in danger.
Call the Sexual Assault Survivors' Centre crisis line which operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week at 337-3320. (County residents call collect).
Preserve all evidence. DO NOT shower, bathe, douche, brush teeth, comb hair, use the toilet or change clothing. Do not clean or disturb crime scene, as all evidence is important.
Seek medical attention immediately. The Sexual Assault Treatment Centre at Sarnia General Hospital, 220 Mitton St., Sarnia, provides medical treatment for victims 24 hours a day.
What to do if someone you know is sexually assaulted?
- Believe her
- Let her know you willingness to listen, but do not pressure her to talk about the assault.
- Ask how you may be of most help to
- Help her to make her own decisions
- The woman who has been assaulted needs your unconditional support.
How does the law define sexual assault?
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. Under the law, women have the right to say no to any form of sex or sexual touching, even in marriage or when dating. No means no- whatever the situation.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is any behaviour, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature that could be considered objectionable or offensive. Sexual harassment is a form of sexual violence against women.
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, sexual harassment includes: repeated sexual remarks that are demeaning or physical contact that is degrading; sexual advances or invitations made by a person who is in a position to grant or deny a benefit to another; and threats or reprisals against the person who rejected the sexual advance. Almost exclusively, it is men who sexually harass women
Sexual harassment occurs not only in the workplace, but also on the street, at home, and in the classroom. The sexual harasser may be a supervisor, a co-worker, a landlord, a client, a customer, an acquaintance, a neighbor, a professional i.e. lawyer, clergy, doctor, etc., or a stranger.
What Should You Do if You are Harassed?
Try to make it clear to the harasser that his or her behavior is not welcome. And if the harassment persists, report it. Your situation will not improve if no one in authority knows about it. Remember that you do not have to tolerate the harassment.
Check the harassment policy at your place of employment, school etc.
You can take your complaint to:
- Your Employer. The organization should have a policy and procedures set up for dealing with harassment complaints, and these should include the name of a contact person.
- Your Union. There may well be union or company grievance procedures for dealing with harassment complaints.
- The Public Service Commission. If you work for the Federal Government, you can file a personal harassment compliant with the Public Service Commission.
- The Provider of Goods or Services. You can complain to the management of the organization that is responsible for the harasser(s).
- The Canadian Human Rights Commission. You have a legal right to file a human rights complaint. You can get more information about how to do this by calling the regional office of the CHRC nearest you or: (416) 973-5527/TDD (416) 973-8912.