What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is also known as rape, acquaintance rape, and date rape.
Sexual assault occurs when someone is coerced to engage in sexual contact.
Specifically, in Canada, if a person is forced to have sexual contact, or if they are unable to consent, the behaviour of the perpetrator is considered sexual assault, and this is a criminal offence. Sexual assault is also a violation of university policies and codes.
The force necessary can be any amount, or it may be the threat of physical force that places the person in fear of injury to themselves or to their family, or in fear of their life or their family members’ lives. The assailant does not necessarily need to use a weapon or injure the person to make them fearful of injury or fear for their life.
The different types of sexual assaults defined by law in the Criminal Code of Canada are the following:
- Sexual assault: It is a crime if someone forces any form of sexual activity on someone else (e.g. kissing, fondling, touching, sexual intercourse) without that person’s consent.
- Sexual assault with a weapon occurs if, during a sexual assault, someone either uses a weapon or threatens to use a weapon (imitation or real); someone threatens to cause bodily harm to a third person (i.e. child, family or friend), someone causes bodily harm to another person; more than one person assaults someone in the same incident.
- Aggravated sexual assault occurs if, while being sexually assaulted, someone is wounded, maimed, disfigured or brutally beaten; or is in danger of losing their life.
- Even when someone is forced to have sexual contact with someone they know, such as an acquaintance, a friend, a date, a spouse or a partner, it is a sexual assault.
What Constitutes Consent?
For the purpose of Brock University’s policies and disciplinary procedures, consent is defined as the act of willingly agreeing to engage in specific sexual behavior. Silence or non-communication must never be interpreted as consent and a person in a state of diminished judgment cannot consent. Consent requires that a person is able to freely choose between two options: yes and no. A person is incapable of giving consent if she/he is asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate. No one who has been threatened or coerced or drugged can consent. A person is usually unable to give consent when she/he is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or has a mental disability. A current or prior sexual or dating relationship does not constitute consent.
A person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter. Pursuing sexual contact in any form whatsoever with an unwilling or unconsenting partner is sexual assault. How exactly we know when the person we’re with is consenting to, or refusing, a sexual advance, can at times be difficult to discern; nevertheless the entire responsibility for correct discernment is upon the person making the sexual advance.
What are Date Rape Drugs?
Alcohol is the most common date rape drug.
Other common date rape drugs include:
- ROHYPNOL, which is also called Roofies, Roachies, La Rocha, The Forget Pill
- Gamma hydroxybutyrate, which is also called G.H.B., Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Liquid Ecstasy
- Ketamine, which is also called Special K
- Any drug that causes sedation or intoxication could be a date rape drug.
Warning signs of being drugged:
- Extreme intoxication after having only a small amount of alcohol or none at all
- Sudden unexplained drowsiness and/or trouble with motor coordination
- Confusion, dizziness, impaired judgment and a lack of inhibitions
PROTECT YOUR DRINK - AVOID BECOMING A VICTIM OF DATE RAPE DRUGS!
- NEVER go out to a bar, party or social event alone. Go with a trustworthy friend.
- BE AWARE of what is happening around you. Be suspicious of persons who insist that you take a drink provided by them.
- DO NOT accept open drinks at parties, particularly from strangers. If you are drinking from a bottle, open it yourself or watch the bartender pour it. At parties, do not accept open-container drinks from anyone.
- NEVER leave your drink unattended. If you ask someone to watch it, make sure that it is someone you trust.
- NEVER leave a bar or club with someone that you have just met; especially if you are feeling intoxicated.
- BE ALERT to the behaviour of friends and ask them to watch out for you. Anyone extremely intoxicated after consuming only a small amount of alcohol may be in danger.
- If you believe that you have ingested the drug, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION immediately.
TIPS FOR CREATING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
- Keep the lines of communication open – you need to be able to talk about things (like sex)
- Respect each other – be caring and considerate of your partner
- Always ask – never assume the answer is “yes” – make sure your partner is OK with what you’re doing
- Limit alcohol intake when dating – keep a clear head to enjoy your time together and avoid miscommunication
- Keep a balanced life – your relationship shouldn’t take over your life – leave time for school, friends and other interests
- Respect boundaries – if your partner isn’t ready for sex, never force the issue
- Respect yourself – don’t tolerate abuse (emotional, physical or sexual) or violence from your partner
- Get to know your partner’s friends and interests – a healthy relationship is about more than just sex
- Practice safe sex – protect your partner from sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy
- Have fun and laugh together – it’ll get you through the hard times!