Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy
Statement from the President
We are privileged to live in a country that places great value on rights and freedoms, respecting and celebrating every person’s dignity and equality. Yet too often there are incidents of sexual violence against members of our community that cause not just individual harm, but also have the potential to create a hostile environment felt by all.
Sexual violence is an attack on Seneca’s values, and we will not tolerate it.
Seneca is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe learning, living, social, recreational and working environment for everyone – students, employees and visitors. We are committed to campuses free of discrimination and harassment, and we strive to foster an atmosphere of healthy attitudes and behaviours towards sexuality, sex and gender roles.
This policy expresses Seneca’s promise to support those who experience sexual violence, and we are working hard with our partners inside and outside the College on sexual violence programs, policies and resources, including prevention and education.
With rights come responsibilities. We are an institution of higher learning, providing great teaching and learning opportunities for thousands of students who come to us from the neighbourhood next door, from every part of our region and province, and from around the world. It is our collective responsibility to help ensure Seneca is a safe and positive space for them, and for every member of our community. I know I can count on your support.
Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy
Effective Date: January 1, 2017
To be reviewed prior to January 1, 2019
This Policy applies to all members of the Seneca community including: all employees, governors, students, contractors, suppliers of services, individuals who are directly connected to any Seneca initiatives, volunteers, and visitors.
Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence
Sexual assault: A criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of the victim and involves a range of behaviours from any unwanted touching to penetration. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, threatened, or that is carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely agreed, consented to, or is incapable of giving consent.
Sexual violence: Any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, and sexual exploitation.
Consent: The voluntary and explicit agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. It is the act of willingly agreeing to engage in specific sexual behaviour, and requires that a person is able to freely choose between two options: yes and no. This means that there must be an understandable exchange of affirmative words, which indicates a willingness to participate in a mutually agreed upon sexual activity. It is also imperative that everyone understands the following:
- silence or non-communication must never be interpreted as consent and a person in a state of diminished judgment cannot consent;
- a person is incapable of giving consent if they are asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate;
- a person who has been threatened or coerced (i.e. is not agreeing voluntarily) into engaging in the sexual activity is not consenting to it;
- a person who is drugged is unable to consent;
- a person is usually unable to give consent when under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs;
- a person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability preventing them from fully understanding the sexual acts;
- the fact that consent was given in the past to a sexual or dating relationship does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity;
- a person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter;
- a person is incapable of giving consent to a person in a position of trust, power or authority, such as, a faculty member initiating a relationship with a student who they teach, an administrator in a relationship with anyone who reports to that position;
- consent cannot be given on behalf of another person.
It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual activity to ensure clear and affirmative responses are communicated at all stages of sexual engagement. It is also the initiator’s responsibility to know if the person they are engaging with sexually is a minor.
Note: For information purposes only, the Criminal Code defines “consent” as follows:
Consent: The voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. No consent is obtained where:
- the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant;
- the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity;
- the accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority;
- the complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity; or
- the complainant, having consented to engage in sexual activity, expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity.
Other Relevant Terms
Acquaintance sexual assault: Sexual contact that is forced, manipulated, or coerced by a partner, friend or acquaintance.
Age of consent for sexual activity: The age at which a person can legally consent to sexual activity. In Canada, children under 12 can never legally consent to sexual acts. Sixteen is the legal age of consent for sexual acts. There are variations on the age of consent for adolescents who are close in age between the ages of 12 and 16. Twelve and 13 year-olds can consent to have sex with other youth who are less than 2 years older than themselves. Youth who are 14 and 15 years old may consent to sexual involvement that is mutual with a person who is less than 5 years older. Youths 16 and 17 years old may legally consent to sexual acts with someone who is not in a position of trust or authority.
Coercion: In the context of sexual violence, coercion is unreasonable and persistent pressure for sexual activity. Coercion is the use of emotional manipulation, blackmail, threats to family or friends, or the promise of rewards or special treatment to persuade someone to do something they do not wish to do, such as being sexual or performing particular sexual acts.
Drug-facilitated sexual assault: The use of alcohol and/or drugs (prescription or non-prescription) by a perpetrator to control, overpower or subdue a victim for purposes of sexual assault.
Indecent exposure: The exposure of the private or intimate parts of the body in a lewd manner, when the perpetrator may be readily observed.
Stalking: A form of criminal harassment prohibited by the Criminal Code of Canada. It involves behaviours that occur on more than one occasion and which collectively instill fear in the victim/target or threaten the victim/target’s safety or mental health. Stalking can also include threats of harm to the victim/target’s friends and/or family. These behaviours include, but are not limited to, non-consensual communications (face to face, phone, email, social media); threatening or obscene gestures; surveillance; sending unsolicited gifts; “creeping” via social media/cyber-stalking; and uttering threats.
Sexual harassment: Engaging in a course of conduct of a gender-related or sexual nature that is known or might reasonably be known to be unwelcome/unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile, or inappropriate. Depending on its severity, one action may constitute sexual harassment.
This may include, but is not limited to: demeaning gestures, remarks and jokes; slurs, taunting, innuendo based on gender or sexual orientation; unwanted physical contact; leering; inappropriate comments about clothing, physical characteristics or activities; unwanted questions or comments about one's private life, sexual orientation, marital or family status; the display of sexually offensive material; solicitation; unwanted attention; implied or expressed promise of reward or benefit in return for sexual favours; implied or expressed threat or act of reprisal if sexual favours are not given; or sexual assault (Criminal Code offense).
Sexual Exploitation: Occurs when a perpetrator takes non‐consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited.
Survivor: Some who have experienced sexual violence may choose to identify as a survivor. Individuals might be more familiar with the term “victim”. We use the term survivor throughout this policy where relevant because some who have experienced sexual assault believe they have overcome the violent experience and do not wish to identify with the victimization. It is the prerogative of the person who has experienced these circumstances to determine how they wish to identify.
Voyeurism: Observing a person, including by mechanical or electronic means, or making a visual recording of a person who is in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy.
2. Purpose and Intent of the Policy
All members of the Seneca Community have a right to work and study in an environment that is free from any form of sexual violence. This Policy and its related Protocol sets out the way in which we address sexual violence. It ensures that those who are affected by sexual violence are believed and appropriately accommodated and ensures that Seneca has a process of investigation that protects the rights of individuals and holds individuals who have committed an act of sexual violence accountable.
3. Policy Statement
Seneca is committed to being a safe and positive space where members of the Seneca community feel able to work, learn, and express themselves in an environment free from sexual violence. We endeavour to reduce sexual violence in our College community and create a safe space for survivors and those who are affected by sexual violence.
All reported incidents of sexual violence will be investigated and in a manner that ensures due process. It is the intention of Seneca that individuals feel comfortable about making a report in good faith about sexual violence that they have experienced or witnessed.
Seneca recognizes that sexual violence can occur between individuals regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or relationship status as articulated in the Ontario Human Rights Code. We also recognize that individuals who have experienced sexual violence may experience emotional, academic, financial, or other challenges.
Seneca is committed to:
- participating with internal and external stakeholders in the creation of a campus atmosphere in which sexual violence is not tolerated;
- treating individuals who disclose sexual violence with compassion and recognizing them as a decision maker regarding their interests;
- assisting those who have been affected by sexual violence by providing choices, including detailed information and support, which may include a provision of and/or referral to counselling and medical care, information about legal options, and appropriate academic, work and other accommodations;
- ensuring that those who disclose that they have been sexually assaulted have their experiences validated, and that their right to dignity and respect is protected throughout the process of disclosure, investigation and institutional response;
- engaging in appropriate procedures for investigation and adjudication of a complaint that ensures fairness and due process;
- ensuring coordination and communication among the various departments who are most likely to be involved in the response to sexual violence on campus;
- engaging in public education and prevention activities, which would include appropriate training of the Seneca community about responding to the disclosure of sexual violence; and
- providing information that may affect the Seneca Community about sexual violence on campus.
4. Reporting and Responding to Sexual Violence
- Any member of the Seneca community who has been subject to sexual violence is encouraged to immediately report such an incident, as set out in Seneca’s Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Protocol.
- Any member of the Seneca community who has witnessed, or who has knowledge of, an incident of sexual violence perpetrated against another member of the Seneca community is encouraged to immediately report such an incident, as set out in Seneca’s Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Protocol.
- Persons in a position of authority at Seneca, including but not limited to, all those who supervise others, shall take immediate action to respond to or to prevent sexual violence from occurring.
- Where Seneca has become aware of an incident of sexual violence, or a threat of sexual violence, Seneca will take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the Seneca community. Where an incident of sexual violence or a threat of sexual violence poses a risk to the safety of a member or members of the Seneca community, precautions may include the provision or disclosure of relevant information to an employee, to employees, and/or to others at risk.
5. Complaint Process and Investigations
A complaint of sexual assault or any other kind of sexual violence can be filed under this Policy by any member of the Seneca community.
Seneca will seek to achieve procedural fairness in dealing with all complaints. As such, no sanction and/or disciplinary action will be taken against a person or group without their knowledge where there is an alleged breach of this Policy. Respondents will be given reasonable notice, with full detail of the allegations, and provided with an opportunity to answer to the allegations made against them.
5.1 Right to Withdraw a Complaint
A complainant has the right to withdraw a complaint at any stage of the process. However, Seneca may continue to act on the issue identified in the complaint in order to comply with its obligation under this Policy and/or its legal obligations. Seneca may also continue to act when there is a threat to the safety of the Seneca community.
5.2 Protection from Reprisals, Retaliation or Threats
It is contrary to this Policy for anyone to retaliate, engage in reprisals or threaten to retaliate against a complainant or other individual for:
- having pursued rights under this Policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code;
- having participated or co-operated in an investigation under this Policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code; or
- having been associated with someone who has pursued rights under this Policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Seneca takes reasonable steps to protect persons from reprisals, retaliation, and threats. This may entail, for example, advising individuals in writing of their duty to refrain from committing a reprisal and sanctioning individuals for a breach of this duty. Seneca may also address the potential for reprisals by providing an accommodation appropriate in the circumstances.
5.3 Unsubstantiated or Vexatious Complaints
If a person, in good faith, discloses or files a sexual violence complaint that is not supported by evidence gathered during an investigation, that complaint will be dismissed.
Disclosures or complaints that are found following investigation to be frivolous, vexatious or bad faith complaints, that is, made to purposely annoy, embarrass or harm the respondent, may result in sanctions and/or discipline against the complainant.
Confidentiality is particularly important to those who have disclosed sexual violence. The confidentiality of all persons involved in a report of sexual violence must be strictly observed, and Seneca does its best to respect the confidentiality of all persons, including the complainant, respondent, and witnesses by restricting routine access to information to individuals with a need for such access providing education and training to those who are regularly involved in the administration of reports and complaints.
However, confidentiality cannot be assured in the following circumstances:
- an individual is at imminent risk of self-harm;
- an individual is at imminent risk of harming another; and/or
- there are reasonable grounds to believe that others in the Seneca or wider community may be at risk of harm.
In such circumstances, information would only be shared with necessary services to prevent harm, and the name of the survivor would not be released to the public.
Where Seneca becomes aware of an allegation of sexual violence by a member of the Seneca community against another member of the Seneca community, Seneca may also have an obligation to take steps to ensure that the matter is dealt with in order to comply with Seneca’s legal obligation and/or its policies to investigate such allegations. In such cases, certain Seneca administrators will be informed about the reported incident on a “need to know” and confidential basis, but not necessarily of the identities of the persons involved.
7. Seneca Policies and/or Legal Requirements that are linked to this policy include the following:
Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Protocol
1. If You Have Experienced Sexual Violence
If you have experienced sexual violence, call the police at 911 or Security at 416.491.5050 ext. 88. If you want to speak to someone directly, please go to the local campus Security Office.
It is often difficult to disclose and report incidents of sexual violence. It is entirely up to you if you choose to report the incident; however, we strongly encourage you to do so. A number of other resources are available to you, including:
- Employee Assistance Program 1.800.268.5211 (for employees)
- Counseling and Accessibility Services 416.491.5050 ext. 22916 (for students)
- Good2Talk 1.866.925.5454
Information about additional resources is available in Appendix II.
Anyone who has experienced sexual violence has the right to:
- be treated with dignity and respect,
- be believed,
- be informed about on- and off-campus services and resources,
- decide whether or not to access available services and to choose those services they feel will be most beneficial,
- decide whether to report to campus security and/or local police,
- have an on-campus investigation with the institution’s full cooperation,
- have a safety plan, and
- have reasonable and necessary actions taken to prevent further unwanted contact with the alleged perpetrator(s).
2. If You Would like to File or Initiate a Complaint
Security or Student Conduct can assist you with filing a complaint. If the alleged perpetrator is another member of the College community, you may file a complaint under this Policy.
Individuals who have experienced sexual violence may also wish to press charges under the Criminal Code. Seneca Security can also assist you with contacting the local Police.
3. What to Do if You Witnessed Sexual Violence
If you witness sexual violence, please call Seneca Security at extension 88 and we will assist you by providing all the resources and necessary support. If you want to speak to someone directly, please go to your local Security office.
A number of other resources are available to you, including:
- Counseling and Accessibility Services
- Human Resources/Employee Assistance Program
- Good2Talk 1.866.925.5454
Information about additional resources is available in Appendix II.
If a member of faculty or staff of the College becomes aware of an allegation of sexual violence against another member of the College community, the faculty or staff is required to report the alleged incident to Seneca Security Management immediately.
4. What to Do if Someone Discloses Allegations of Sexual Violence
A person may choose to confide in someone about an act of sexual violence, such as a student, instructor, teaching assistant, coach, or staff from housing, health, counselling or security. An individual who has experienced sexual violence may also disclose to staff or faculty members when seeking support and/or academic accommodation. A supportive response involves:
- listening without judgement and accepting the disclosure as true;
- communicating that sexual violence is never the responsibility of the survivor;
- helping the individual identify and/or access available on- or off-campus services, including emergency medical care and counselling;
- respecting the individual’s right to choose the services they feel are most appropriate and to decide whether to report to the police and/or Seneca Security at extension 88;
- recognizing that disclosing can be traumatic and an individual’s ability to recall the events may be limited;
- respecting the individual’s choices as to what and how much they disclose about their experience; and
- making every effort to respect confidentiality and anonymity.
If disclosure is made to faculty or staff by a student seeking support or academic accommodation, the faculty or staff should refer the student to the Manager, Seneca Security, and work with the Counselling Services to ensure that the student receives all necessary academic and other accommodations.
As indicated above, if faculty or staff of the College becomes aware of an allegation of sexual violence against another member of the College community, the faculty or staff is required to report the alleged incident to Seneca Security Management immediately.
5. Communicating with Individuals who have Experienced Sexual Violence
Sensitive and timely communication with individuals who have experienced sexual violence and their family members (when an individual consents to this communication) is a central part of the College’s first response to sexual violence. To facilitate communication the College will:
- Ensure that designated employees in the Human Resources and Counseling and Accessibility Services, who are knowledgeable about sexual violence, are responsible for advocacy on campus on behalf of employees, students or any other member of the College community who have experienced sexual violence;
- Ensure designated employees respond in a prompt, compassionate, and personalized fashion;
- Ensure that the person who has experienced sexual violence and the respondent are provided with reasonable updates about the status of the College’s investigation of the incident when such investigations are undertaken.
6. Roles and Responsibilities of the College Community
While everyone on campus has a role to play in responding to incidents of sexual violence, some campus members will have specific responsibilities which might include:
- On-campus health supports to provide psychological and emotional support, assist with safety planning and make referrals to other services, including medical services;
- Faculty, staff and administrators to facilitate academic accommodations and other academic needs of those who have experienced sexual violence;
- Residence staff to facilitate safe living arrangements to the best of our abilities;
- Student operated sexual violence services to provide peer supports;
- Human Resources to assist with any incidents relating to employees; and
- Security to assist with investigations and gathering evidence, to implement measures to reduce sexual violence on campus, and to collaborate with local police where appropriate.
7. How Will the College Respond to a Report of Sexual Violence?
Where a complaint of sexual violence has been reported to the College, the College will exercise care to protect and respect the rights of both the complainant and the respondent. The College understands that individuals who have experienced sexual violence may wish to control whether and how their experience will be dealt with by the police and/or the College. In most circumstances, the person will retain this control. However, in certain circumstances, the College may be required to initiate an internal investigation and/or inform the police of the need for a criminal investigation, even without the person’s consent, if the College believes that the safety of other members of the College community is at risk. The confidentiality and anonymity of the person(s) affected will be prioritized in these circumstances.
A report of sexual violence may also be referred to the police, or to other community resources at the complainant’s request, where the persons involved are not members of the College community or in circumstances where the College is unable to initiate an internal investigation under this Policy.
7.1. Where the Respondent is a Student
Sexual violence is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, Personal Safety and Security Threat and the Discrimination and Harassment policies It is considered a serious offence and will be addressed in a manner which is consistent with other serious offences. Please see each policy for more details on each disciplinary process.
7.2 Where the Respondent is an Employee
The perpetration of sexual violence is a violation of an employee’s duty to their employer. It is also a violation of Personal Safety and Security Threat Policy. Such misconduct may also violate Seneca’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy, as well as the relevant collective agreement. Allegations against employees will be addressed in accordance with the Sexual Assault Policy and this protocol, as well as any of the other policies mentioned herein, and, where applicable, the relevant collective agreement. If, following an investigation, a complaint is substantiated, the College will decide on an appropriate response, which may include discipline up to and including the perpetrator’s discharge from employment.
7.3 Where the Respondent is not a Student or Employee
Contractors, suppliers, volunteers or visitors who attend on campus will be subject to complaints if they engage in prohibited conduct. Where a complaint against the respondent is substantiated, the College will take appropriate action.
All contractual relationships entered into by the College will be governed by a standard contract compliance clause stating that contractors must comply with this Policy and the Ontario Human Rights Code, including co-operating in investigations. Breach of the clause may result in penalties, cancellation, or other sanctions.
7.4 Multiple Proceedings
Where criminal and/or civil proceedings are commenced in respect of the allegations of sexual violence, the College shall conduct its own independent investigation into such allegations, and will make its own determination in accordance with its policies and procedures. Where there is an ongoing criminal investigation, the College will cooperate with the local police.
8. Other Resources and Supports Available to You
To talk to someone:
Call a distress line: 416.408.4357 (HELP) TTY: 416.408.0007
For emergency shelters and the closest free meal:
416.392.3777 or toll free 1.866.392.3777
If you experience thoughts of suicide:
Go to your closest hospital emergency department
Call a distress line: 416.408.4357 (HELP), TTY: 416.408.0007
For immediate medical advice:
Call Telehealth: 1.866.797.0000, TTY: 1.866.797.0007
For sexual assault/violence:
Assaulted Women’s Helpline 416.863.0511, 1.866.863.0511, TTY 1.866.863.7868
Yellow Brick House Toll Free: 1.800.263.3247 TTY: 905.751.1712
Barbra Schlifer Clinic Safety Planning 416.323.9149 ext. 234
For mental health:
Gerstein Centre: 416.929.5200 (same number for TTY service)
For walk-in counselling:
Catholic Family Services – Peel / Dufferin Region
Brampton: 905.450.1608 ext. 101
Mississauga: 905.897.1644 ext. 101
Bolton: 905.450.1608 ext. 101
For child protection:
Children’s Aid society of Toronto 416.924.4646
Yellow Brick House 905.727.1944
Barbra Schlifer Clinic Transitional Housing Support 416.323.9149 ext. 234
Outreach Services (counselling, legal):
Yellow Brick House 1.877.222.8438
Catholic Family Services 416.921.1163
Barbra Schlifer Clinic Legal Assistance 416.323.9149 ext. 278
Daily Bread Food Bank: 416.203.0050
AIDS & Sexual Health Info Line: 1.800.668.2437
Post-secondary Student Help line
Good2Talk 1.866.925.5454 or connect through 2-1-1
9. Related Policies, Procedures and Protocols
Use of the term “Rape” in the context of Sexual Violence
This policy refers to the offence of sexual assault to align with the current offence contained in the Criminal Code. The word “rape” is no longer used in criminal statutes in Canada. The term was replaced many years ago to acknowledge that sexual violence is not about sex but is about acts of psychological and physical violence. The term “sexual assault” provides a much broader definition and criminalizes unwanted behaviour such as touching and kissing as well as unwanted oral sex and vaginal and anal intercourse. Although the term no longer has a legal meaning in Canada, the term rape is still commonly used.
Dispelling the Myths and Misconceptions about Sexual Assault
|It wasn’t rape, so it wasn’t sexual violence.||Sexual assault and sexual violence encompasses a broad range of unwanted sexual activity. Any unwanted sexual contact is considered to be sexual violence. A survivor can be severely affected by all forms of sexual violence, including unwanted fondling, rubbing, kissing, or other sexual acts. Many forms of sexual violence involve no physical contact, such as stalking or distributing intimate visual recordings. All of these acts are serious and can be damaging.|
|Sexual assault can’t happen to me or anyone I know.||Sexual assault can and does happen to anyone. People of all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are victims of sexual assault, but the vast majority of sexual assaults happen to women and girls. Young women, Aboriginal women and women with disabilities are at greater risk of experiencing sexual assault.|
|Sexual assault is most often committed by strangers.||Someone known to the victim, including acquaintances, dating partners, and common-law or married partners, commit approximately 75 per cent of sexual assaults.|
|Sexual assault is most likely to happen outside in dark, dangerous places.||The majority of sexual assaults happen in private spaces like a residence or private home.|
|If an individual doesn’t report to the police, it wasn’t sexual assault.||Just because a victim doesn’t report the assault doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Fewer than one in ten victims report the crime to the police.|
|It’s not a big deal to have sex with someone while they are drunk, stoned or passed out.||If a person is unconscious or incapable of consenting due to the use of alcohol or drugs, they cannot legally give consent. Without consent, it is sexual assault.|
|If the person chose to drink or use drugs, then it isn’t considered sexual assault.||This is a prominent misconception about sexual assault. No one can consent while drunk or incapacitated.|
|If the victim didn’t scream or fight back, it probably wasn’t sexual assault. If the victim does not fight back, the sexual assault is their fault.||When an individual is sexually assaulted they may become paralyzed with fear and be unable to fight back. The person may be fearful that if they struggle, the perpetrator will become more violent.|
|If you didn’t say no, it must be your fault.||People who commit sexual assault/abuse are trying to gain power and control over their victim. They want to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for their victim to say no. A person does not need to actually say the word “no” to make it clear that they did not want to participate. The focus in consent is on hearing a “yes”.|
|If a woman isn’t crying or visibly upset, it probably wasn’t a serious sexual assault.||Every woman responds to the trauma of sexual assault differently. She may cry or she may be calm. She may be silent or very angry. Her behaviour is not an indicator of her experience. It is important not to judge a woman by how she responds to the assault.|
|If someone does not have obvious physical injuries, like cuts or bruises, they probably were not sexually assaulted.||Lack of physical injury does not mean that a person wasn’t sexually assaulted. An offender may use threats, weapons, or other coercive actions that do not leave physical marks. The person may have been unconscious or been otherwise incapacitated.|
|If it really happened, the victim would be able to easily recount all the facts in the proper order.||Shock, fear, embarrassment and distress can all impair memory. Many survivors attempt to minimize or forget the details of the assault as a way of coping with trauma. Memory loss is common when alcohol and/or drugs are involved.|
|Individuals lie and make up stories about being sexually assaulted; and most reports of sexual assault turn out to be false.||According to Statistics Canada, fewer than one in 10 sexual assault victims report the crime to the police. Approximately 2% of sexual assault reports are false.
The number of false reports for sexual assault is very low. Sexual assault carries such a stigma that many people prefer not to report.
|Persons with disabilities don’t get sexually assaulted.||Individuals with disabilities are at a high risk of experiencing sexual violence or assault. Those who live with activity limitations are over two times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than those who are able-bodied.|
|A spouse or significant other cannot sexually assault their partner.||Sexual assault can occur in a married or other intimate partner relationship. The truth is, sexual assault occurs ANY TIME there is not consent for sexual activity of any kind. Being in a relationship does not exclude the possibility of, or justify, sexual assault. A person has the right to say “no” at ANY point.|
|People who are sexually assaulted “ask for it” by their provocative behaviour or dress.||This statement couldn’t be more hurtful or wrong. Nobody deserves to be sexually assaulted. Someone has deliberately chosen to be violent toward someone else; to not get consent. Nobody asks to be assaulted. Ever. No mode of dress, no amount of alcohol or drugs ingested, no matter what the relationship is between the survivor and the perpetrator or what the survivor’s occupation is, sexual assault is always wrong.|
|Sexual assault only happens to women||Not true. The majority of sexual assaults are committed against women by men, but people of all genders, from all backgrounds have been/can be assaulted.|
|Sexual abuse of males is rare.||According to Statistics Canada, six per cent of males 15 or over reported that they had experienced sexual victimization. Sexual assault/abuse occurs in every economic, ethic, age and social group.|
|If you got aroused or got an erection or ejaculated you must have enjoyed it.||It is normal for your body to react to physical stimulation. Just because you became physically aroused does not mean that you liked it, or wanted it or consented in any way. If you experienced some physical pleasure, this does not take away the fact that sexual abuse happened or the effects or feelings of abuse.|
Sexual Assault Centres (Ontario)
|Region in Ontario||Sexual Assault Centre||24–hr Crisis Line||Office Phone|
(Sault Ste. Marie)
|Women In Crisis Algoma||1.877.759.1230||705.759.1230|
|Belleville–Quinte||Sexual Assault Centre for Quinte & District||1.877.544.6424||613.967.6300|
|Brant||Sexual Assault Centre of Brant||519.751.3471||519.751.1164|
|Bruce County||Women's House Serving Bruce and Grey: Sexual Assault Services||1.866.578.5566||519.372.1113|
|Chatham–Kent||Chatham–Kent Sexual Assault Crisis Centre||519.354.8688||519.354.8908|
|Cornwall||Sexual Assault Support Services for Women, Cornwall||English: 613.932.1603
|Counselling Centre of East Algoma||1.800.721.0077||705.848.2585|
|Guelph–Wellington||Guelph–Wellington Women in Crisis||519.836.5710
|Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention Services of Halton||905.875.1555||906.825.3622|
|Hamilton||Sexual Assault Centre Hamilton & Area (SACHA)||905.525.4162||905.525.4573|
(Peterborough & Area)
|Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre||705.741.0260||705.748.5901|
|Kenora||Kenora Sexual Assault Centre||807.468.7233
|Kingston||Sexual Assault Centre Kingston||613.544.6424
|Waterloo||Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region||519.741.8633||519.571.0121|
|London–Middlesex||Sexual Assault Centre London||519.438.2272
|Muskoka||Athena’s Sexual Assault Counselling & Advocacy Centre||705.737.2008
|Niagara||Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre||905.682.4584||905.682.7258|
|Nipissing||Amelia Rising Sexual Assault Centre of Nipissing||705.476.3355||705.840.2403|
|Oshawa–Durham||Oshawa–Durham Rape Crisis Centre||905.668.9200||905.444.9672|
|Ottawa SASC||Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa||613.234.2266||613.725.2160|
|Ottawa RCC||Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre||613.562.2333||613.562.2334|
|Peel||Hope 24/7: Sexual Assault Centre of Peel||1.800.810.0180||905.792.0821|
|Renfrew||Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County||1.800.663.3060||613.735.5551|
|Sarnia–Lambton||Sexual Assault Survivors’ Centre Sarnia–Lambton||519.337.3320||519.337.3154|
|Sudbury||Voices for Women Sudbury Sexual Assault Centre||705.523.7100 ext. 2647|
|Thunder Bay||Thunder Bay Sexual Abuse & Sexual Assault Counselling & Crisis Centre||807.344.4502||807.345.0894|
|Timmins||Timmins and Area Women in Crisis||1.877.268.8380||705.268.8381|
|Toronto||Multicultural Women Against Rape/Toronto Rape Crisis Centre||416.597.8808||416.597.1171|
|Windsor–Essex||Sexual Assault Crisis Centre of Essex County||519.253.9667||519.253.3100|
|York||Women’s Support Network of York Region||1.800.263.6734
Pour le support francophone aux femmes victimes d’agression sexuelle:
CALACS (Francophone Sexual Assault Centres) in Ontario
Centre Passerelle pour femmes: CALACS du Nord de l’Ontario
C.P. 849 Timmins (Ontario) P4N 7G7
Centre francophone d'aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel d'Ottawa
40, rue Cobourg
Ottawa (Ontario) K1N 8Z6
Centre Novas : Centre francophone d'aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel de Prescott-Russell
Casselman (ON) K0A 1M0
1.866.772.9922 poste 221
Carrefour des femmes du Sud-Ouest de l'Ontario: CALACS de la région du Sud-Ouest
Casier Postal 774, London (ON ) N6A 4Y8
Centre Victoria pour femmes
Sudbury (ON) P3E 4P2
Centr’Elle, centre des Femmes Francophones du Nord-Ouest de l'Ontario
P.O. Box 26058
Thunder Bay (Ontario) P7B 0B2
Oasis Centre des femmes
465 Yonge Street PO Box 73022 Wood Street PO Toronto ON M4Y 2W5
Colibri - Centre des femmes francophones du comté de Simcoe
80, rue Bradford, bureau 340
Barrie (ON) L4N 6S7
Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton/Niagara - Espace entre Elles
1320 rue Barton Est
Hamilton (Ontario) L8H 2W1
Pour le support francophone aux femmes victimes d'agression sexuelle, se il vous plaît visitez (for French-language support to women victims of sexual assault, please also visit): Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes.
A number of resources contributed to the development of this document, including the sexual assault policies and procedures from several colleges and universities in Ontario, notably, Durham College, University of Guelph and Lakehead University, as well as the METRAC discussion paper on sexual assault policies on campuses. The Ontario Women’s Directorate resource, “Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide for Ontario’s Colleges and Universities” served as a reference and the “Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions About Sexual Assault” chart is based on it. In addition, the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres provided a list of sexual assault centres in Ontario and their hotline numbers.