Sexual Assault Resources

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact within or outside a relationship

Sexual can include anything from unwanted sexual touching to forced sexual intercourse without a person’s consent, and also includes the threat of sexual contact without consent.

Sexual assault affects people of all ages, genders and sexual orientations

Most people know the person who assaulted them. They can be someone the survivor knows a little, such as a first date, or very well, such as a good friend or partner. Sexual assault can involve situations where sexual activity is obtained by someone abusing a position of trust, power or authority. Many people do not tell anyone of their assault, or even realize it was an assault, until months or years later.

Sexual assault is a crime and is never the fault of the survivor

Sexual assault is a crime, whatever the past or present relationship between the people involved (married, living together, dating, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, those who hold positions of authority, or strangers). No one has the right to threaten or force another person to have sexual contact. No one has the right to abuse a position of trust, power or authority to get another person to have sex.

Sexual assault is not the survivor’s fault and is a violent crime. What clothes a person wore, where they were, who they were with or whether they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their assault is irrelevant. The only person responsible for a sexual assault is the person who commits the crime.

Common reactions

Each survivor of sexual assault has their own personal experience, emotions and ways of coping. There is no right or wrong way for a survivor to feel or react following a sexual assault.

Sexual assault: A few common reactions

  • A change in how the survivor feels about themselves. For example, lowered self-esteem or confidence.
  • A change in how the survivor feels about their body. For example, feeling unclean, detached from their body or wanting to harm their body.
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach problems or eating and sleeping problems.
  • Emotional symptoms such as mood swings or feelings of loss, grief, anger, rage, irritability or depression.
  • Using alcohol, drugs, food or exercise to cope with intense feelings.
  • Lack of motivation and difficulty concentrating.
  • Problems with sexual intimacy, wanting less or more sex, a change in pleasure, or a change in emotional connection.

Responding to sexual assault and misconduct

If you have experienced sexual assault or any other form of sexual misconduct, have received a disclosure of sexual misconduct, witnessed sexual misconduct or are supporting someone who has experienced sexual misconduct, you can seek individualized information, advice and assistance through the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office.