Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact within or outside a relationship
It 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 is about power and control, not sexual desire.
Learn more about consent.
Sexual assault affects people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations and racial identities
Anyone can be a perpetrator of violence and anyone can be a survivor or victim.
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, partner or family member. Sexual assault can also occur when someone in a position of power or authority (e.g., teacher or coach) coerces or bribes someone into engaging in sexual activity. Many people do not tell anyone about their assault, or even realize it was an assault, until months or years later. This does not mean that they are lying when they do choose to disclose. There are many myths and social stigmas about sexual assault that often mean people feel that they will not be believed if they tell their story, or feel that it might be their fault in some way.
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, 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.
15 - 25% of female students1,6.1% of male students2, and 24% of transgender, genderqueer and questioning students3 in college and university experience some form of sexual assault.
1 Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide for Ontario’s Colleges and Universities, Ontario Women’s Directorate, 2013
2 Krebs, C.P., Lindquist, C.H., Warner, T.D., Fisher, B.S., & Martin, S.L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice
3 Cantor, D., Fisher, B., et al. (2015). Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. Rockville, Maryland: The Association of American Universities.