What is sexual assault?
This is a term used to refer to all incidents of unwanted sexual activity, including sexualized violence and sexual touching.
What is criminal harassment/stalking?
Criminal harassment, more commonly known as stalking, can be defined as harassing behaviour including repeatedly following, communicating with or watching over one’s home. This sort of behaviour is against the law. It is not a sign of love; it is about power and abuse.
I have decided to report to the RCMP…what do I do next?
If you want to report your sexualized assault to the police, it is important to report as soon as possible. Delay might mean that evidence is lost or destroyed. The police will also want you to tell them about what happened while all the details are still fresh in your mind.
You may really want to wash or shower. However, having a bath, changing your clothes, combing your hair or even brushing your teeth might destroy important evidence of what happened. If you can, wait until after the medical examination before washing or going to the washroom.
You do not have to call the police before you go for the medical examination. You can go to the hospital right away and ask someone at the hospital to contact the police or you can call the police and ask them to come and take you to the hospital.
You can ask for a friend or family member to go with you to the hospital and to be with you through the police investigation. You might want to call them first to be sure they will be there when the police arrive.
What if I don’t want to report to the RCMP?
Deciding not to report your sexualized assault to the police doesn’t mean that you have to cope with it on your own. Here are some things you might want to do:
Call KSACC: Contact the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre at 250-372-0179 or the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Response Team (DV/SART) at 1-888-974-7278. We can provide one-to-one counselling, and information and referrals to other community resources.
See a doctor: Whether or not you want to report the sexualized assault to the police, it is very important to get a doctor to give you a checkup. You may not have any injuries that you can see, but you should get checked just in case. Your own doctor or a hospital emergency room will do this for you. They will also check for STI or HIV/AIDS and should offer you treatment to prevent any STI and possible pregnancy.
Talk to friends and family: You can talk to your friends and family about it. Their support may be very helpful to you at this time.
Can I be sexually assaulted by my boyfriend, girlfriend, friend or acquaintance?
Yes, the definition is the same regardless of who the perpetrator is – if there was no consent, there is sexual assault. Contrary to popular belief, you are more likely to be assaulted by someone you know than by a stranger lurking in the bushes. 83% of women who have been sexually assaulted are assaulted by someone they know and 80% of sexual assaults occur in a private home. For child sexualized abuse, 85% of the time the offender is someone the child knows, such as a close family friend, relative or neighbour.
What is consent?
Consent must be clearly given every time people engage in sexual contact. A woman has the legal right to change her mind about having sex at any point of sexual contact. If her partner does not stop at the time she changes her mind, this is sexual assault. This law is popularly know as the “NO MEANS NO” law.
The law says that you are the only person who can give permission for yourself. Your boyfriend, father, husband, employer, etc. cannot give permission on your behalf. The law says you have the right to stop the activity at any time and just because you agreed to one activity, (i.e. kissing) does not mean you agree to the next thing (i.e. taking your clothes off). The law also says that you can indicate your non-agreement by what you do (your conduct). This means that a woman doesn’t have to say “NO” in order to have communicated non-consent.
I read about people being drugged and then sexually assaulted. How do I prevent this?
There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself against drug related sexual assault. The most important thing is to understand that it can happen to anyone, anywhere. Always watch your drink and follow these safety tips:
- Always keep an eye on your drink even if it means taking it with you while you dance or go to the washroom.
- At a bar or club, accept drinks only from a bartender or server.
- At social gatherings, (including house parties) do not accept drinks that have already been opened or were made by someone else.
- Pay attention to your friends. If after a couple (small amount) of drinks your friend suddenly appears extremely intoxicated, confused, or experiences symptoms of dizziness or extreme drowsiness…go to a hospital emergency room immediately. Try to keep a sample of the drink for testing.
- Remember, the drugs used are often odourless, colourless, tasteless, and difficult to detect in any type of drink.
Does sexualized violence only occur in heterosexual relationships?
No. Sexualized violence can occur in any relationship. Sexualized violence does not discriminate.