I need help with sexual assault, violence, and safety
Most people believe that sexual assault and violence only happen with a stranger, in “dangerous” places, or to people who are behaving in “risky” or “careless” ways. In reality, it can happen to anyone, and it’s actually more likely to happen with someone you know in a familiar environment.
What do I do if I’ve been assaulted or threatened?
- Get away from the perpetrator and to a safe place.
- Ask for help. Call a friend or family member, call 911, go to a hospital, or contact a campus or community resource.
- If you’ve been sexually or physically assaulted, do not wash, clean, or change your clothes if possible. Don’t touch or change anything at the scene of the assault.
- If you are considering pursuing a criminal charge, going to a local hospital is a good first option.
What if I don’t want to tell anyone what happened?
You have the right to tell who you want, when you want, about anything that has happened to you. Here are a few important things to consider if you’re unsure:
- Even if you go to the police or a hospital, you—and only you—get to decide if you want to press charges against your attacker.
- Talking to someone and/or pressing charges is difficult, but it can help to prevent sexual assault or violence from happening to someone else.
- There’s no “normal” or “okay” way to feel right now. It’s just as possible to feel numb and unaffected as it is to feel furious, terrified, or hopeless. Even if you think it’s not a big deal, it’s a good idea to tell someone.
- What happened is not your fault--no matter who did it or what circumstances they did it in.
What if I don't know who to tell or what to do?
You may not be sure what your options are or what to do—for example, whether to go to the hostpial or immediate healthcare, reach out for support, or to contact the police. What you do next is up to you, but you may want to consider the following options. You can find contact information on the where to get help page.
- Ask for support from trusted family members or friends.
- Call a help line for anonymous, professional support.
- Go to a local hospital or sexual assault crisis centre.
- Ask for support from people on campus (e.g., residence services, the Community Safety Office, the Assault Counsellor/Educator).
- Go to the police.
What if I’m confused about what happened? What if it wasn’t assault? Am I making a big deal out of nothing?
Sexual assault and other forms of violence can be confusing experiences because we don’t talk about them enough--and when we do, there are all kinds of misinformation and stigmas being passed around.
Read more about sexual assault.