Facts and Myths about Sexual Violence

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Facts about Sexual Violence

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. (World Health Organization, 2016) (1in6 Project, 2016)
  • In 50% of sexual assaults alcohol is involved, making it the most used weapon by the person causing harm. (Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, 2012)
  • The person who caused harm is known to the survivor 80% of the time. (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2009)
  • 83% of disabled women will experience sexual violence in their life time. (DAWN Canada, 2006)
  • Indigenous women are three times more likely to experience sexual violence compared to non-Indigenous women. (General Survey on Victimization, 2014)
  • 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime. (US Transgender Survey, 2015)

Questions and Answers

What is a forensic examination and what does it entail? 

  • A forensic examination is the collection of evidence after a sexual assault. In the media they are often called rape kits. A forensic examination includes collection of clothes, doing a head to toe physical exam and may include taking photos of any injuries. Any and all parts of a forensic examination are optional. It is suggested that survivors not to shower, bathe, douche, use the washroom, change clothes, eat/drink, or clean teeth, until the exam is completed.

If I get medical treatment do I have to do a ‘forensic examination’ or file a police report?

  • No, no one can make you do anything you don’t want to do. It is your choice and only your choice.

If I get a “forensic examination’ done how long can it be held?

  • You can get a ‘forensic examination’ done and not have it processed right away. These kits are held and frozen for six (6) months, and at any time you can choice to process it. These kits can be done up to seven days after an assault, but the sooner one is done after an assault the more forensic evidence that can be collected.

Someone I know was assaulted and I don’t know how to support them, are there any resources that I can use?

  • Yes, Supporting Survivors of Sexual Violence (https://nscs.learnridge.com/) is an online, Nova Scotian based program that helps give people the tools to support survivors.

Rape Myths

If the survivor didn't fight back, they wanted it.

  • No, no one ever wants to be assaulted and it is never the survivor's fault. Not fighting back is just one of the many ways the brain deals with trauma.

Sex workers can’t be assaulted because they are selling sex.

  • No, being a sex worker does not mean that they consent to any or all sexual contact and can be assaulted like anyone else.

Men can’t be assaulted, they always want sex.

  • No, men like all people can be and are assaulted and don’t always want sex.

If they were drunk or wearing revealing clothes they then were asking to be assaulted.

  • No, no one wants to be assaulted and nothing anyone every does welcomes assaulted.

You can’t be assaulted if you’ve had sexual contact with the person before or are in a relationship with them.

  • No, consent for sexual contact once does not mean consent for the future. Consent is ongoing agreement to sexual contact that is given freely and not pressured to be given. Just because you are in a relationship with someone does not mean they have any right over your body. 
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