What is Sexual Assault?
In Canada, sexual assault is the legal term used to refer to any form of unwanted sexual contact. Forced and unwanted kissing, fondling, sexual intercourse, anal intercourse and oral sex are all examples of sexual assault.
Sexual assault is a crime. The Criminal Code of Canada states a sexual assault occurs when:
- a person intentionally "applies force" to another person;
- this is done without the victim's consent or voluntary agreement; and
- sexual activity is involved.
If consent is obtained through intimidation, pressure, coercion, force, or threats of force - this is not voluntary consent and a sexual assault may have occurred. Consent is also not given if:
- it is given by someone else
- the person is unconscious, drunk, stoned, or sleeping
- it is an abuse of power, trust, or authority
- a person says no, or their words or behavior implies they mean no
- a person changes their or his mind
Effects of Sexual Assault
Sexual assaults can result in physical, emotional and psychological harm. Trust, vulnerability and intimacy are seriously impacted when a person is sexually assaulted. Sexual violence can happen in any relationship, when one person has the potential to have power and control over another.
24 Hour Sexual Assault Crisis Line