What is Sexualized Assault?
Sexualized assault is a physical assault that is sexualized, whereby the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. It is an aggressive act perpetrated primarily by someone who needs to feel powerful and in control by forcing someone to participate in unwanted sexualized activity. Victims are of any age, race, gender identity, socio-economic status, or ability. Victims are assaulted by people they know, or by complete strangers. Women sexually assault other women. Men and women sexually assault men. Pressuring, intimidating, threatening or coercing an intimate partner to engage in sexualized activity is a crime.
I Feel Like It's My Fault
If you have been sexually assaulted, it is not your fault.
Most sexualized assaults are planned. Often, the victim fears for their life or physical well being, and believes that there is no choice but to do what the offender demands. But submission does not equal consent. If you submit, it does not mean that you agreed to or accepted the situation. A victim is never responsible for being sexually assaulted. The responsibility for the assault lies solely with the offender.
Do I Have to Talk About It?
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience that interrupts life at home, work, or school, affecting relationships with intimate partners, friends and family. The reassurance and support from people in your life is critical during this time, but they may react in unexpected ways. People often react in different ways; some blame, others are compassionate. When you feel ready, those who offer their support, including professionals, can walk with you through your recovery. The decision to talk about your experience is a personal choice. You do not owe anyone an explanation
Do I Have to Report It?
Although recovery can be slow and confusing, with understanding and persistence you can accomplish a great deal. You have control over your recovery path. One of the most important decisions you may struggle with is whether or not to report to police. People who know and love you may struggle with your decision. Choosing to report a sexualized crime is your right as a survivor. Whether or not you provide a statement to the RCMP, you deserve support and access to information about the criminal justice system.
Rape Myths & Victim Blaming
Sexual assault is about power and control, not sexual attraction. It is never the victim’s fault, and it is never about what they were wearing.
Victim Blaming ~ a statement that carries a value judgment and implies that the person who is sexually assaulted is somehow responsible for anticipating, causing, or stopping the violence; consider the fact that these same statements applied to victims of most other crimes (mugging for example) would be considered absurd.
Victim blaming conveniently shifts responsibility for the crime onto the victim and away from the offender. We cannot address sexualized assault when we focus our attention on what she was doing, where she was, who she was with, what she was wearing rather than on the offender’s actions and choices. No matter how often women are told to stay sober, stay away from strange men, buddy up, dress conservatively, don’t walk the park at night, women are raped. Even when women say “no”, they are raped. Rape prevention rests in the offender’s actions, not her safety plan.