How do I know if I have been sexually assaulted?

Does age make a difference? Find Out More

Legal Definitions: The following terms are defined in accordance to section 265 of Criminal Code of Canada (Obtained and adapted from the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre; http://orcc.net/violence/definitions.html)

Sexual Assault: If someone has kissed you, fondled you, had vaginal, anal or oral sex with you without your consent, it is sexual assault. No sign of physical injury or abuse is required to charge someone with sexual assault.

Sexual Assault with a Weapon: A person maybe charged with sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm if:

  • a weapon (an imitation or a real weapon) is used during the assault or someone threatens to use a weapon
  • someone threatens to hurt someone else, for instance, the assaulted person’s child or friend
  • someone physically hurts another
  • someone was with another person or other people who sexually assaulted someone

Aggravated sexual assault: a person maybe charged with aggravated sexual assault if, while sexually assaulting someone he/she also:

  • wounded, disabled, disfigured or brutally beat someone;
  • endangered someone’s life

If after reading these legal definitions you are still confused about whether you have experienced sexual assault, it is ok. For each person the context and experience is different. Your experience may not be accurately reflected in the definitions above. This doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t experienced sexual assault or another form of sexual violence such as criminal harassment, human trafficking, or female genital mutilation.

Sex Trade Work and Sexual Violence

It is often questioned whether someone who is prostituted / in a sex trade can be the victim of sexual violence. At the Chatham-Kent Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, we believe that every woman has a right to live a life free of sexual violence.

Prostituted women / Sex Trade workers can and are the victims of sexual violence. As a prostituted woman / sex trade worker, you deserve to be treated like any other victim of a violent crime and you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity in a non-judgemental supportive environment.

Sexual Assault within Intimate Relationships

Many women question if they can be the victims of Sexual Violence if the perpetrator is someone that they are/have been in a intimate relationship with. Just like any other woman, you have the right to make decisions for yourself without threat of violence, manipulation or coercion.

Regardless of any current or previous relationship to the perpetrator, you have the right to say no. If you are forced or coerced into doing something that you are not comfortable with or do not want to do, this is sexual assault.

Consent is not just about saying No

The definition of consent is: The voluntary agreement of the victim to engage in the sexual activity.

There is no consent when:

  • the victim/survivor submits because of threats or force
  • the victim/survivor submits due to the threat of violence or force towards a third party
  • a third party speaks on behalf of the victim/survivor
  • the victim/survivor is incapable of consenting to the activity in question
  • the victim/survivor is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is not able to consent
  • the victim/survivor engages in sexual activity because the accused induces them by abusing a position of trust, power, or authority
  • the victim/survivor expresses in words or conduct a lack of agreement or consent
  • the victim/survivor first consents but withdraws consent and does not wish to continue with the activity
  • children under the age of 14 are deemed incapable of consenting to sexual activity with adults
  • lies and/or deception are used to obtain “sex”

You have the Right to Change your Mind

Even if you have consented to sexual activity, you have the right to change your mind. If you have expressed by words, gestures or conduct that you do not want to continue, any and all sexual activity should stop!

No one has the right to make these choices for you.

Like us on Facebook